At some point, families have to face the grim reality that they cannot care for a parent without help. Where that care is provided, and how skilled that care is, determines the cost. To have an aide come to the house for an eight hour day may cost about $200 if you use an agency; 24/7 care at home costs about $215,000 per year. A low-level of care in an assisted living facility cost averages around $5,500 to $6,000 a month. If your loved one needs skilled nursing care in a facility, expect the cost to start at around $8,500, depending on what kind of care they require. People often try to avoid agencies and facilities to save money, but there are significant issues involved since you then become an employer; you need not only to withhold and pay the employer's share of taxes, but also to carry worker's compensation and liability insurance; you need to pay overtime where required; and you may fall victim to a lawsuit from a caregiver who knows the system, knows you are trying to avoid the system to save money, and sues you.
New Jersey 101.5’s recent article, “Mom or Dad Goes to a Nursing Home: Will You Go Broke?” explains that New Jersey is one of the more expensive areas for long-term care. California is not exactly cheap either, so the article does give us some valuable issues to discuss.
Many people think they’ll have to spend their parents’ entire savings or assets, before becoming eligible for some type of government assistance. However, there are four ways to pay for elder care: your own money, long-term care insurance, Medi-Cal or the VA. You should ask an experienced elder law attorney to try and protect as much of their individual assets as possible. The sooner you begin the planning process, the more options you’ll have as far as the type of care and how long you’re able to pay for it.
An elder law attorney will discuss ways to protect the assets of someone going into long-term care. Strategies usually focus on leveraging the Medi-Cal and VA regulations.
In some situations, an elderly parent requires a significant amount of care, and his or her assets must be used to pay for assisted living or a nursing home. That can make things tense. The children may be anticipating inheritances to help with their own retirements, and they could be resentful when that money's being spent on mom’s care.
It's important for families to know that they can ask for help, when facing a crisis with an aging parent. Meet with an elder lawyer to learn about what options are available to help with the cost of care, and what resources exist in your community to help, as you and your parent adjusts to this phase of life.
As many of you know, my firm has a medical social worker on staff to assist families with the very issues discussed in this article because even when a family can afford the cost of care, the need for care and consequences of caring for a loved one create enormous stress. In my opinion, it is the stress that sometimes kills the caregiver spouse or child before the ill spouse or parent. Do not underestimate the stress -- it will not do your loved one any good if you die first.
Reference: New Jersey 101.5 (August 20, 2018) “Mom or Dad Goes to a Nursing Home: Will You Go Broke?”