With the Aging of America the number of people spending substantial amounts of time in nursing homes, assisted living facilities or in their home with paid home health care assistance is at an all time high and will only increase.
Nursing home costs are now averaging 12,000 per month. Many families make no advanced preparation for this and these costs are driving many families into poverty.
Every aging American should take the following three steps:
First, make sure you have the proper will, financial power of attorney and living will and your children know where to find them. My advice is don’t cut corners, hire an elder law attorney. Only a few lawyers are true elder law attorneys. They should be a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. There are only 4,000 members in the United States. If he is not a member, look elsewhere.
Second, make sure your children are thoroughly familiar with all of your assets, liabilities and medical experts.
Finally, discuss your wishes should you become disabled. Do you want to stay at home with in home care takers, or take up residence in an assisted living facility or nursing home if appropriate. Consider hiring a geriatric care manager who can assess your needs and coordinate your long term care. Make sure you understand the different levels of care you may need, and which alternatives will fulfill that need. Also, consider whether you can afford these alternatives. Consider entering into an asset protection plan designed by a well qualified elder law attorney, so that your assets can be preserved and government programs can be tapped to pay some or all of these expenses.
Knowledge is power. Advanced planning can literally save you tens of thousands of dollars. So don/t let the approaching storm catch you by surprise.
Editors Note: Michael A. Manna, Esq. is a Ridgewood elder law attorney, a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and can assist you in avoiding the booby traps that can devour a lifetime of savings. There is no charge for the initial consultation. He can be reached at 201-447-2800.