For an adult child, one of the most difficult things to face is the aging of your own parents. Of course you realize logically that as you age your parents must age as well; however, emotionally your parents will always be the age they were when you were growing up. What is ever harder to face than your parents aging is the realization that your parent is no longer able to care for himself/herself without help. Making the decision to place a parent into a nursing home or other long-term care facility is never an easy decision for an adult child to make. If you find yourself in the position where you must make a decision regarding the care of a parent, some factors you may wish to consider include:
- Level of care needed – it is often difficult to be objective about a parent’s physical and/or mental state. We often refuse to see the degree of deterioration that has occurred/is occurring. Consult with your parent’s regular physician to get a clear picture on your parent’s physical health and mental capacity.
- Long-term prognosis – how long is care likely to be needed? If your parent is suffering from a terminal illness the length of care needed will differ from that needed for a parent whose physical health is fine but is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s, for example.
- Availability of family – assess (realistically) which family members are available to help care for your parent on a regular basis. Family members who have full-time jobs or busy families of their own will not be able to contribute much to the care of your parent. Be objective in your assessment without casting blame. If the level of care needed is minimal at the moment and you have several family members available and willing to help you may be able to avoid long-term care for the foreseeable future.
- Cost of care – most people have no idea how expensive long-term care can be until they are faced with paying for it. The average cost for a year in a long-term care facility in the U.S. is over $75,000 per year. Shop around and get an idea what in-home care will cost as well as what long-term or nursing home care will cost where your parent lives.
- Medicaid planning – did your parent include Medicaid planning in his/her estate plan? If so, Medicaid will likely cover the majority of the costs associated with long-term care. If your parent does not have an existing Medicaid plan it may not be too late to add a Medicaid planning component to his/her estate plan.
If you are concerned about the cost of your parent’s care it is imperative that you discuss Medicaid planning with an estate planning attorney as soon as possible. Contact the experienced Missouri estate planning attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment.