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Bird & Fugal - Attorneys at Law

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2 Minutes Read

Long term care

Fresh out of law school I clerked for Judge Eckhart A Thompson during the last years before he retired. He often introduced or finished telling a hard experience he or someone he knew was having by saying, "Growing old ain't for sissys!" It might have been a simple lament over lost teeth and poor replacements or horrific cancer treatments or dozens of other ailments. For many, the golden years are laden with lead. Declining mental and physical function is often accompanied by social isolation and depression. That combined with the breathtaking cost of care is hard. Maybe the end of life needs to be hard enough that a person is willing to let it go, but most people get around to it eventually.


But until the end comes, there are many pressing needs that cost a lot of money. My dear Eloise sometimes jokes that the only thing our kids will inherit is a mortgage. But it doesn't have to be that way. Planning for and paying for long-term care is important. Genworth, a prominent and credible long-term care insurance company, has been reporting information for many years in its Cost of Care Survey. https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html. According to the survey, in the Provo area, the median cost of a private room in a nursing home is $7604/month, assisted living facility is $3200/month, and home health aide is $4624/month. During their lifetime, 7 out of 10 people will require long-term care. The average stay in a nursing home is 3 years. So about $300,000 per person is needed. A married couple could reasonably expect to pay $600,000.


Medicaid pays for about 52% of nursing home care because most people don't have enough money to pay for all the long-term care they need. What a blessing to have Medicaid!


Because of the increasing demand for senior services, a variety of provisions have arisen. Instead of only the bleak odiferous hallways lined with chairs occupied by slumping seniors with slurred speech commonly found in nursing homes of the past, we now have well-provisioned and staffed nursing homes that provide excellent care in a pleasant environment. For those who don't require skilled nursing, assisted living facilities and independent living facilities offer many amenities, opportunities for socialization, stimulating activities, transportation, and well-planned and tasty meals. Home health aides and homemaker services can extend the time a person is able to stay at home. In the different facilities I have visited and the home care persons I have met, I have found capable and caring people who make a sincere effort to help those under their care. I am so grateful there are so many who do so much to care for our aging population.


Medicaid is a needs-based program with specific requirements to qualify. Careful planning can help a person qualify for Medicaid quickly in ways that do not exhaust the resources they had hoped to pass on. I would love to help you with that planning.

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