Josephine came into the office in a state of panic. The week before, her husband, Al, who had been suffering from dementia for the past several years, had suffered a stroke and was currently in the hospital. The social worker at the hospital had told Josephine that Al would not be able to come home with her, and would need skilled care. Josephine hadn’t been in a skilled nursing facility in many years, and was concerned that her husband wouldn’t get appropriate care. She was also very frightened by the prospect of running out money paying for the care that her husband needed. She had heard that the care would cost her $8,000 per month and they only had social security and a small pension that totaled $1,900 per month between them both. They had been able to save $100,000 over the years, plus they had the family home which was paid off, and a car. Josephine didn’t need to be a mathematician to understand that at $8,000 per month, the money wasn’t even going to last two years.
Once in the office, the goal was to help Josephine understand that it was going to OK. We explained to Josephine the goal of life care planning was to help families exactly like her to navigate through the long term care process. We started to explain how Medicare would pay for a brief period of time as her husband received rehab services, but then he would either be a private pay resident (the $8,000 per month) or qualify for Medicaid. Over the next hour, we explained that based on her low income and relatively low assets, we could immediately qualify Al for Medicaid benefits, and that once we were finished, she actually would not be responsible for any monthly payment to the skilled facility. But before we could apply for Medicaid benefits, it was necessary to make sure that he would be getting care in a facility that had a Medicaid bed available. Our Elder Care Coordinator, a registered nurse, set up times in the next few days to tour 3 facilities, with Josephine, to help her make a decision where Al would go upon leaving the hospital. At the end of our meeting, Josephine began to cry, because she said that she could finally get a good night’s sleep knowing that everything would be alright.
Shortly thereafter, we began the process of applying for Medicaid benefits, which was approved (while this process takes a few months, it all went back to the first day that Al went into the skilled facility). Al lived in the skilled facility for the next two years, ultimately progressing into the dementia ward at the facility. Our Elder Care Coordinator periodically visited with Al and Josephine, attending care plan meetings at the facility to address minor issues with care. After Al’s death, Josephine came into the office to discuss updates to her estate plan. At the meeting, she said that she couldn’t thank us enough, and that there simply was no price to put on the advice and support that she had received over the past two years. She told us that she couldn’t imagine trying to do it alone, and that by seeking out advice, she had saved thousands of dollars- but more so, she felt that she was able to have a plan, and get peace of mind that she could ensure the well-being of her husband.
Learn more about how the Weeks Group can help you plan for Long-Term Elder Care.