What would lead your dad to live in a nursing home? Lots of chronic health conditions can progress to a point where skilled nursing care in a nursing home is essential. Alzheimer’s is one of the most prevalent ones.
If rage and anger become a common symptom, which is typical in the later stages, it can be difficult to properly care for your dad on your own. He doesn’t sleep much, he slaps, punches, kicks, and bites you. There are even cases where a person with Alzheimer’s has pulled a knife or other weapon on the family caregiver.
You will become an unfamiliar stranger, and those moments will cause distress and fear. That’s when your dad is likely to lash out. Medications administered every few hours often became necessary to control the anger for your dad’s safety. Nursing homes offer that specialized care.
Nursing Homes Are Expensive
Here’s the thing. Nursing home care is expensive. According to Genworth, the average monthly rate in the U.S. ranges from $7,900 (semi-private) to $9,000 (private) per month in 2021. Some states are well over the average. For example, families can pay more than $12,000 a month in California and over $13,000 in Massachusetts and New York.
What happens when his money runs out and you can’t pay for nursing home care? If your dad has long-term care insurance, it may help. Veterans Aid and Attendance also helps. But, not everyone has insurance or qualifies for Aid and Attendance.
Your dad may need to apply for benefits through the government’s Medicaid program. The application process involves a careful look at your dad’s assets. This can be tricky. It’s best to protect your dad’s assets by talking to a Medi-Cal attorney.
Work With an Elder Law Attorney for Expert Advice
It’s time to get together an application, and it’s not an easy process. You have to account for every asset, including savings and checking accounts, stocks, pensions, etc. Your dad’s house and car are not included in this, but it’s advantageous to work with a Medi-Cal attorney to understand what a look-back period is and what you can do if your dad’s application to Medi-Cal is denied.
Most importantly, you also need to talk to an estate planning attorney to see if you could ever be responsible for your dad’s medical debt. Some states have laws in place that place the burden of unpaid medical debt for an elderly parent on the adult children.
Filial responsibility laws may impact you if they’re in place. The good news is that California does have filial laws, but they also have laws protecting you if your dad qualified for aid.
An elder law attorney that specializes in Medicaid is the best way to understand the rules on how much money your dad can have in the bank without being disqualified. Schedule an appointment with a Medi-Cal attorney today.