Tag Archives: Long-Term Care

How to Get Answers NOW | Chicago Elder Law Attorney

Medicaid certainly is an intimidating process; and many of you want to get answers immediately. If this sounds like you, the following link is a special offer that will give you some relief for the time being.

http://www.learnmedicaid.com/ferraro/get-answers-now/index.html

The above link will help you understand the first steps that you will need to take in order to reduce the cost of care for your loved one while protecting your family and your home.

Better yet, call our office to see if we can determine that we can help you with a free 15 minute telephone consultation because your concern lies in one the areas of our law practice

Best of luck.

-Anthony B. Ferraro

A Quick Piece of Advice | Chicago Elder Law Attorney

Paying for nursing home care may be one of the toughest things many of us will have to do. It is no secret that today’s nursing home costs are sky high and they are only going to continue rising. Most of us automatically assume that we will have to spend our entire life savings on our nursing home care. Considering the prices of nursing homes, it certainly seems that this is the truth. However, there are ways around doing so.

The first thing that you absolutely must do is contact an Elder Law attorney, like myself, before you venture into the process of selecting and paying for a nursing home. Today, many people aren’t incredibly educated in areas such as Medicare, Medicaid, and VA Benefits. Therefore, they don’t know about the ways in which those programs will be able to help them save money as they begin their long-term care journey. Luckily, we do.

Always remember, talk to us first. It’s as simple as that.

-Anthony B. Ferraro

Choosing the Right Nursing Home | Chicagoland Elder Care Attorney

Choosing a nursing home for a loved one may be one of the most daunting things we have to do in life.  But, when a loved one is in a condition that requires them to be in a nursing home, as a caregiver or agent under power of attorney, it is your job to choose the place that is best for them.  You want them to get the proper medical attention while still feeling like they’re at home.  Your worst case scenario would be for them to feel neglected or to be treated poorly.

There are ways to ensure that this does not happen.

For starters, when beginning the nursing home selection process I recommend that you visit https://abferrarolaw.com/senior-resource-kits/alzheimers-resource-kit/.  There you will find the guide, “How to Choose the Right Nursing Home and Ensure Your Loved One Gets Great Care,” which includes:

1)      A Nursing Home Evaluation Form, which gives you a lot of insight pertaining to issues that people tend to overlook when choosing a nursing home;

2)      3 steps to make the nursing home transition a smooth one; and

3)      1 huge secret on how to connect with nursing home staffers so that your loved one gets the best treatment.

After narrowing down the nursing home selections, the next best thing to do is to contact someone on the nursing home staff, such as the social worker, to voice your concerns and engage in further questioning on your nursing home of choice.  After contacting staff, they may offer to give you a tour of their facility to give you an even more in depth insight on what may soon be your loved one’s new home.

All in all, throughout the whole process, make sure to involve your loved one. Make sure that they know that the journey they are about to embark on is not a scary one, but an exciting one.

-Anthony B. Ferraro

The Cost of Alzheimer’s Care is Rising | Chicago Estate Planning & Eldercare Attorney-CPA Anthony B. Ferraro

Yes, the cost to care for Alzheimer’s patients is rising and the rapid cost increases show no sign of stopping.  And unfortunately, that is not the only figure rising; the percentage of seniors with Alzheimer’s is also steadily increasing.  Statistics show that between 2010 and 2050, the number of people with Alzheimer’s is expected to jump from 5.5 million to 14 million.

So, how do we pay for adequate Alzheimer’s care?

In reality, many people do not understand the difference between Medicare and Medicaid.  Medicare simply does not pay for long-term care.  Medicare actually only cares about your loved one if they are going to get better, i.e. if they suffer from a stroke or a heart attack, and can recover with rehab.  And as we know, Alzheimer’s disease does not fall into that category; so if your loved one has Alzheimer’s, your loved one will have to rely on Medicaid if they do not have enough money to pay privately for care.

Medicaid expenses for people with Alzheimer’s are very high due to the uninsured cost of long-term care.  Approximately half of Medicare beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s disease also qualify for Medicaid, because they exhausted their own financial resources to pay for all of their long-term care.  And when someone is relying on Medicaid, often times they can only keep $2,000 in savings and $30 per month. At least that’s what the federal and state governments want you to believe. There are numerous exceptions to this general rule however. And, there are certainly ways to protect you and your loved ones’ well being  assets so that you can work around this.

Stay tuned for more.

-Anthony B. Ferraro

7 Secrets to Surviving The Medicaid Spend-Down | Chicago Estate & Trust & Elder Law Attorney-CPA, Anthony B. Ferraro

The key to figuring out how to save money by turning to Medicaid is understanding what exactly Medicaid benefits entail and how they may relate to you. These 7 secrets to surviving the Medicaid spend-down will help you be in a better position to protect your hard-earned savings.

1) Many couples end up spending too much money on the first spouse’s long-term care costs because they do not know the rules.  An Elder Law attorney can show you the rules and make the healthy spouse’s life better.

2) People give their assets to their children using the wrong method.  If you choose to go this route, you must do this right, or it could have terrible consequences.

3) Save money by transforming your assets.  Medicaid categorizes your assets as either available or exempt, and an Elder Law attorney can help you convert your available assets into exempt assets so that you keep them.

4) Medicaid application timing is crucial.  If your timing is off, you could lose thousands of dollars, and create a Medicaid penalty because you applied too early or too late.

5) Avoid going broke due to giving your assets away in the wrong way.  There is a Medicaid ineligibility penalty for seniors who give away their assets in the wrong way to children, churches, or charities within 5 years of applying to Medicaid.

6) Annuities are not always “Medicaid-proof”.  Don’t assume just because an annuity is touted as “Medicaid-proof” that it actually is.  Instead consult an elder law attorney, to ensure it actually is.

Learn all about VA benefits – A wartime veteran and a spouse could potentially receive $2,000 or more for in-home or assisted living medical care.

Stay tuned for further elaboration on the 7 Secrets to Surviving the Medicaid Spend-Down.

-Anthony B. Ferraro

It’s Time to Update Your Estate Plan | Chicagoland Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney-CPA Anthony B. Ferraro

Today, the world is quickly changing; medical care can be both impersonal and expensive.  But one area that has not changed with the times is traditional estate planning.  Traditional estate plans are designed to focus on just a couple of things and when creating them, most people tend to take the easy route.  Often times, people are in good health and think, “There’s nothing wrong with us now; we want our estate plan to be very simple.”  In those cases, their estate plans only really focus on who will get what when they die.

The truth is, most of us are not going to die while we’re in good health.  As we venture into old age, many of us will, unfortunately, develop long-term illnesses and need specific care.  According to AARP, 70% of individuals aged 65 and older will spend part of their life living in a long term care facility.  The cost of long term care and Medicaid planning are probably not things that are included in the will or living trust you already have.  So shouldn’t we consider this when updating our estate plans?

While the traditional estate plan details concerning who gets what when you die are important, it is equally, if not more important, to consider what could happen to you before you die..

-Anthony B. Ferraro

Coping with Alzheimer’s | Chicago Estate Planning & Eldercare Attorney-CPA Anthony B. Ferraro

Alzheimer’s has been termed “The Long Goodbye” due to its devastating effects that last for many years.  When our loved ones have Alzheimer’s, it doesn’t only affects them, it affects us.

However, there is still hope: hope in learning how to cope with Alzheimer’s.  As of today, there is no official cure for the disease, but by taking the simple steps many Alzheimer’s caregivers are using to cope, we can regain some peace of mind.

By visiting the website below, you will gain access to the Indispensable Alzheimer’s Resource Kit.  This is a helpful tool that will assist you in providing stress-free care for both you and your loved one, as well as ways to pay for Alzheimer’s care without going broke.

abferrarolaw.com/senior-resource-kits/alzheimers-resource-kit/

I also encourage you to visit www.AlzheimersHope.com, which is an internet community that will give you the opportunity to connect with Alzheimer’s caregivers from around the world.

You are not alone in your journey through Alzheimer’s, and the above websites will assure you that there are many others experiencing the same thing as you.

If you have any other questions about Alzheimer’s or any other legal-related issues, please call my office at (847) 292-1220.

-Anthony B. Ferraro

Attorney-CPA

How can we encourage a more collaborative spirit, rather than “them vs. us,” when it comes to my mother’s nursing home staff? ? | Chicago Long-Term Care Planning Attorney Anthony B. Ferraro

First of all, for family members: When you first admit a loved one to a nursing home, you should get to know the staff. Let them know that you care about their well being (in addition to your loved one’s) and that you would like an open relationship so you all can discuss issues concerning your mother’s care.

Inform them about pertinent information concerning her and her life — what she likes, dislikes, any habits she might have, typical moods, and what seems to work when approach her in different situations. The more her caregivers know, the better they can care for her.

Compliment staff members when you learn about them doing something you like. Be involved at the facility as much as possible. Attend social events and family council meetings if you can.

One good example of relationships being built very well involves a man who took a picture of his wife and the staff on her unit. He had an 8-by-10-inch shot of it made and wrote the name of each caregiver underneath it. When placed on his wife’s closet door, it served as an aid to helping her recognize the people taking care of her.

It also made the staff members feel very included. It made them feel important and let them know that the family really cared about them. This gesture built a lot of good will and enhanced his wife’s care.

To the staff: Don’t be intimidated by residents and/or their families. You are the frontline worker, an honorable position. Without you, there would be no care for their loved one. That is a compliment of the highest order.

Show interest not only in the resident, but also his or her family. Introduce yourself and tell them a little bit about your background, your interests, how long you have been a caregiver and why you are in that line of work.

When family members enter the unit, greet them cheerfully and give them information about their loved one, whether the news is good, bad or indifferent. What many caregivers don’t think to do is call a resident’s family if something good happens during the day. These are blessings that can be few and far between for family members, and they’ll go a long way.

Unfortunately, there can be stigmas about nursing homes and their caregivers. For the most part, these workers are intent on doing a good job and truly care about what they do and who is in their charge. Everyone needs to work together to overcome negative stereotypes so residents will have positive experiences in their new home.

Since my father just wandered from his nursing home, could it be that he’s placed inappropriately? | Chicago, Illinois Elder Law Attorney Anthony B. Ferraro

This depends on a number of factors. If he is considered a high-risk case for wandering and the provider is admittedly not suited to deal with it, then, yes, he may be incorrectly placed. But if this was a first or “one-time” incident and staff members say they can handle it from here on out, try to keep your father where he is. It’s good for him to remain in familiar surroundings. (If you think the facility simply is not living up to its care obligations or has been derelict in its duties, then looking for a different facility would be advised.)

Having a person with Alzheimer’s disease move can often be traumatic. What makes this predicament particularly difficult is you can’t typically determine if your father is going to wander until the first time it happens. A facility can be caught off-guard by this but then can recover by ramping up supervision to responsibly take care of him. The facility might, in fact, have a very good resident monitoring system available or in place but did not think to tell you about it because your father wasn’t yet deemed a wandering risk.

You can do a little research to help determine the next step. Speak with the facility’s activity director to learn whether your father takes part in activities. If he doesn’t or doesn’t take part much, ask the director to get him more involved in either group of individual activities. This will help keep his body active and his mind stimulated, diverting some of the energy that would be used for wandering. Exercise is a good way to spend excess energy

You also can look into engaging private duty or sitting services. Consult facility staff about having someone come in to spend one-on-one time with your father. This would still not guarantee against wandering (due to the nature of the disease) but it would be another proactive measure against it.

Have all caregivers track whether your father tries to leave the facility, and if staff members are able to prevent or counteract it. If they can’t prevent it, you might need to explore other options.

Also consider: Does your father seem anxious or extremely agitated? His doctor might be able to do something about this with an appropriate intervention. There is also the chance that your father may remain agitated enough to wander no matter where he is. Be sure to keep his doctor up to date on the situation.

For more information, go to our Alzheimer’s Resource Kit by clicking here.

How will we know when it’s appropriate to move my dad from adult day care to a nursing home, or an assisted living facility? . | Chicago Long-Term Care Planning Attorney Anthony B. Ferraro

The answer is simple: When you no longer can care for him at home.

Adult day care is just a day service, so it occupies only part of the time. Care at home is still needed for nights and weekends. There are some adult care centers that offer evening and weekend services, but often it is not enough. Some people “package” services from a home care agency with the time spent at adult day care. In addition, a home care agency can assist with evening and weekend care to reduce the strain on you, and keep your father at home longer.

But as you can see, that takes quite a bit of coordination, and still a fair amount of resources, to do properly. Everyone’s situation is different and everyone has a different threshold, so you have to figure out what is appropriate for you and your loved one.

It is time to consider a nursing home or assisted living facility if you are feeling overwhelmed and the quality of life at home has fallen. You need to remember that it isn’t fair to either of you if your time with your father is so strained it diminishes your quality of life. If he were to go to an eldercare facility, your time together would likely be decreased, but then your time together could be that much more focused on doing things you like together, and in a lower stress environment.

Some assisted living facilities have staff members who are trained and equipped to work with Alzheimer’s residents. But many do not. You must research any long-term care operator’s limitations before making a decision. Some will accept Alzheimer’s residents until they become incontinent or require some other type of skilled care. In that case, you must consider what an extra move might mean to your father’s well being and sense of orientation.

This is a decision that you, as primary caregiver, must make. Everyone has different limitations and goals. When you know you have reached your limit, make the most appropriate, effective decision for everyone involved.  Realize you have done your best and that that is good enough. Let go of any guilt, for it can only destroy you.  For more information about Alzheimer`s, click here for our Resource Kit.