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Thursday, June 15, 2006



While the subject is one not many people want to discuss or think about, the options are not much better. We went through these questions the last years of my Mom's life, and it was no fun. It did make Jerry and I painfully aware that choices and decisions have to be made, like it or not. I whole-heartedly agree that everyone needs to take a serious look and make plans.


There are other options before selecting a nursing home, although perhaps not in every community. We were able to find a private care home (there are several in our tiny community) that provide better, more personal care at one-half to two-thirds the cost of a nursing home. Use the same criteria for selecting one as you would a nursing home. My mother went on Hospice care in the private home, and she was given wonderful care by the home's caregivers as well as by the Hospice people. There is also the option of having caregivers come into the home several times a week. I would choose those options over a nursing home every time, unless a doctor insists on nursing home care.

I just went through this with my mother. I had had her purchase a home heath care insurance policy several years ago. When she became ill and needed care the insurance company paid for a caregiver in my mom's home up to the contract dollar amount (in our case ($700.00 per week). That was all the coverage she could afford at the time due to her age, 80. As her condition worsened she required a caregiver 24 hours a day and the expense far exceeded the $700.00 a week. We were able to obtain the services of San Diego Hospice which provided many of the necessary medications and appliances my mother required. We also considered a reverse mortgage to provide additional funds to be sure she had any and all care she required. She passed away before the mortgage was funded. At one time we were paying as much as $3000.00 a week for her caregivers. I strongly s suggest transferring this risk to an insurance company while you are still insurable. My 2 cents worth.

This is a big problem. I have a great aunt in a nursinghome now. She has superceeded the usual three to four years and is now going into her sixth year. She has no children or family left other than me by marriage. She is on medicaid after using up her funds. All she gets to keep a month is $45.00. That is used to pay all her expenses such as clothes, medical, washing of the hair, and treats to eat at the nursinghome. It is very sad. Needless to say, I contribute gifts on a monthly basis to her so that she can enjoy life's little treats. If my husband had lived through his emergency room visit last year, he would have had to go to a nursinghome. It would have eaten up all our assets. If it would bring him back I would gladly give everything up. But he would not have wanted to see everything he worked so hard for in life to go like that. It can be every elderly person's daily nightmare. I can understand why more and more families are becoming caregivers to their folks in their silver years. It is a tough job but a lot easier on the family financially than seeing their parents loose everything. If you think about it, that was the way it use to be until the early fifties and then it shifted to the nursinghomes. We took care of our own.

Watched mother-in-law go through her savings,so, we went into Long Term insurance plan. Right or wrong hopefully it will pick up some of the cost. Good plan with John Hancock.
We were the Blubluff people from Grove. Sold business and retired on 5 acres away from people. Resort life convencied us we wanted to be away from people for awhile. Never tire of reading of your adventure and with a little envy, but think we made the right decision for now.

Thanks to everyone for your stories and suggestions.

I meant to mention the Long Term Healthcare insurance policy as an option. They are very complicated policies with lots of details, and there is quite a disparity in coverages. Be very, very careful and choose wisely if you decide to go this route.

I've been there also with my folks... This question wasn't an issue then, but do you know if there is a cap on the value of the home that the spouse can keep?

Also the comments on private care givers are great thoughts. What is needed is a someone to run that little business. I met a guy who was quite wealthly who was needlessly living in this icky nursing home because his elderly sister was in charge of his care. And her husband called the shots for her. Yes they cared, but not enough to handle the administration of his caregivers even tho this guy could well afford it. But you can bet your booties they were staying in his beach front condo when they visited him in the nursing home. The total of paying for a private room plus a caregiver to be a watch dog over the home could have easily allowed him to live in his own home with private care. Just more thoughts for setting up your own plan.. And if you don't have one, take a minute and look around as to who is going to be making decisions for you. Wow, in my case scarey thought.LOL... Sharon

There is no limit on the value of the home the healthy spouse can keep. However, once the spouse receiving Medicaid passes away, the state is entitled to a lien on the home for Medicaid reimbursement.

Now, the new law DOES impose limits on the equity in a home for a single person to qualify for Medicaid. The single person cannot have over $500,000 in equity in their home and qualify for Medicaid. The law does allow each state to make the cap $750,000 if they choose.

We went through this with my parents who are deceased now. Both did go to a nursing home, something I said I would never do. As a former DHS employee, now retired, I know that the information you have given is something many folks aren't aware of or have simply put off looking into. You have provided a valuable piece of information here. Thank you!

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