Thanksgiving is Coming, How is Your Family Doing?

Thanksgiving comes around every year about this time.  Families get together, hopefully getting along.  Sometimes it is the one time a year everyone sees how the older members of the family are doing since last year.

For some families, it will be a difficult time when they realize that grandma or grandpa are not as sharp as they used to be.   Perhaps it is difficulty in getting around, or driving, or perhaps it is in confusion that seems to be getting worse and frustrating the person no end.

Well, the family is all together, so let’s discuss what to do.  Perhaps nobody is willing to start the discussion, ignoring the elephant in the room.  Or perhaps someone attempts to make suggestions and is quickly shot down.

Talking about losing independence is never easy.  Help may be offered and declined since “I can do it myself”!  In any case, some family members can see that a problem is evident and wonder what to do about it.

A big part of searching for solutions is learning what options are available.  All sorts of support services exist, to help people in their homes, day care several times a week, or even an assisted living facility.  Many of these have pools or hot tubs, and most now offer happy hour one afternoon a week to help with socialization.  However, who will bring up the topic and risk the wrath of the loved one you all care about?

All of the options can be expensive.  The good news is that only about 15% to 20% of LTC is done in nursing homes now.  Home care and assisted living facilities cost half or less than a traditional nursing home.  However, $1500 to $4500 per month will strain most budgets or put a large dent in the family funds rather quickly.  Perhaps it might be prudent to learn what financing arrangements for LTC services are available.

Medicare does not pay for LTC.  Medicaid will, but only once the person has spent-down to impoverishment and cashed in any life insurance.  There are other, better options available.  LTC insurance, if purchased while still healthy is the least expensive way to address this, but even after the need arises, there are other strategies.  In a worst case, there is still the option to move some money to family without Medicaid penalties.  You simply need to consult an expert in this area and learn what options can work for you.

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