Step Two: Assuming you complete step one, next is the Medicaid question: “Who will take care of you, when you can’t take care of you? First, couples are, relatively the same age. Perhaps within five years. This age difference might allow one spouse to take care of the other for a little while, but it does not resolve the issue that the well spouse can only take care of the ill spouse for a short period of time.
I have seen many couple do this fairly well, but it comes at a steep sacrifice – the well spouse will see health deterioration rather quickly. Care giving is a tough, tough business.
In addition, except for dementia, males spouses deteriorate at a quicker rate that the female spouse. That being the case, that generally leaves the 120 pound female spouse trying to lug around the 190 pound male spouse. If the tables are turned, the male spouse may be able to physically care for the female, but that is not always the case. Lets face it. At age 70+, physical labor becomes harder and harder.
Some couples tell me that their kids will take care of them. I have seen this work well for a while, but not too often is this solution something that will last longer that a few years.
So what are the alternatives? There is of course, Long-term Care Insurance, retirement living, assisted living, nursing home care and in-home help for each level of care.
In 2018, average private-pay retirement living costs around $5,000 per month. Assisted living costs around $6,500.00 per month. Nursing home around $8,500. Do the math. How long will your parents be able to afford private pay before the funds run out?
Medicaid is the next part of the answer. Our government has provided us with this safety net for long-term care called Medicaid. The problem, in order to qualify, one cannot exceed $2,000.00 in assets – resources- and can have income no greater than $2,250.00 per month (2018 amounts). So, if you are a person of modest means – lets say $300,000.00 in assets and $2,500.00 per month income, You do not qualify. Of course, there are exceptions and exemptions, but you can see the issue. Elder law attorneys no how to preserve assets yet still get clients to become eligible for Medicaid.
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