CAREGIVERS LOOKING FOR LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES
(from our experiences, yours may be different)
Many caregivers come to the point where they can no longer do all that is needed to care for their loved one. That happened to our family and here’s what we did. It’s important to note that my wife’s sister and her husband all worked closely together during these multiple events. I’m hopeful it will help you.
Assisted Living (Upscale senior living facilities, the ones we contacted did not take Medicaid)
We contacted and visited assisted living facilities and learned all about them. Most of the ones we contacted had a waiting list. We went ahead and put our loved one’s name on it. You can always decline if or when they contact you with a vacancy.
Health Care Facilities aka Nursing Homes or Long-Term Care
We did the same with long term facilities “nursing homes” or health care facilities. These facilities are usually both rehabilitation centers and long-term care facilities. Those we contacted do take Medicaid.
Get an appointment with a social worker or intake person at those facilities. We learned a lot by visiting those facilities. The people there are very knowledgeable and willing to help. We were also able to prioritize which ones we thought were the best places to consider.
Explore those close to you first! It’s super important to be able to visit as often as possible and to be an advocate for your loved one. Enlist other relatives to help you if possible.
Check out those places you prefer as much as possible and narrow your choices to two or three. Contact them at least once a week to see if they have vacancies. They may tell you the waiting list is long but those waiting lists are very volatile with people getting off for various reasons.
Cost of Long-Term Care Facilities
Find out how much they cost. Assisted living facilities may initially cost less but costs can increase as the amount of care increases. It’s also important to know that Medicaid does not pay for most assisted living facilities. The ones we contacted where all private pay so you either paid out of your loved ones assets or from Long Term Care Insurance if you have it.
Nursing Homes or long-term care facilities do take Medicaid if you qualify for help with the monthly cost. If you are like me, you may not know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. Click here to learn more.
Ways to pay for Assisted Living and Long-Term Care Facilities
If you don’t have long term care insurance or qualify for Medicaid then you will have to pay from your own or your loved one’s assets.
When our parents both went into long term care, they did not qualify for Medicaid, so we had to sell their home, car, other assets and use all the cash value from their life insurance to pay the nursing home bills. Once those assets where exhausted (three years), they qualified for Medicaid which paid the nursing home bills the rest of their lives.
Note: Medicaid may be different in your state since it is a mix of federal and state assistance.
If you are having to pay out of pocket there are several possible sources you can explore. One is a HELOC loan on your home, especially if one spouse is still living in the home, also known as a second mortgage. This source allows you to keep your home but you will have to make monthly payments, but can stretch it out over time and HELOC loans usually have a better interest rate than other loans.
Another source is cash value from life insurance policies you may have. This source is a little more complicated and you need to talk with your insurance agent for details. The times we have borrowed from cash value, we haven’t had to make monthly payment unless we chose that method. If we decided to not pay it back, we did not have to, we just would not get the full amount of your policy when the insured passes.
Veterans Long Term Care
Veterans may have access to a long-term care funds called Aid and Attendance. You may contact the local VA or call an 800 number for help in getting these funds. Most assisted living and long term care facilities will have this information for Veterans.
The 800 number we called was 800 878 2149 a law office that specializes in helping with this benefit. They can tell you if you qualify or not. If you don’t qualify their service are free, if you do qualify and get it then they charged you 800 dollars at that time. If you qualify then you may get up to 2000 dollars or more each month to help with health cost. We did not know about this fund and missed out on it but several of our friends have gotten it. Do not assume you don’t qualify. The people at the 800 number can tell you for sure and they won’t charge you unless you do get it.
We will add more to this post as we have time and learn even more!