When managing the care of a disabled person, there are times when waiting to ask for help has negative consequences. I see this in my practice with families trying to manage the care of a loved one who has dementia or has become a fall risk. The natural tendency for family caregivers is to become increasingly involved in providing the care that is needed. They soldier on in the face of objective evidence that they are exhausted and then their personal lives are negatively affected. They do this out of love, devotion, sometimes guilt, and the fear of spending money for help from others.
One risk to the family is that the caregiver becomes sick or even dies from the complications of caregiving. This is very real. The other risk is that the disabled loved one has a sudden medical event that results in the need for 24/7 care or skilled nursing care. The cost of care at these levels is $15,000 or more. Very few families can afford this cost, especially if the disabled person out lives their life expectancy.
These outcomes, when they happen, are viewed as unacceptable. It is entirely foreseeable that the need for substantial care for a dementia patient will happen and will exceed what the family can provide and afford.
Putting in place a long-range financial plan to preserve assets to cover expensive care in the event that the disabled person out lives their life expectancy is essential and possible. One of the most effective ways to guard against such disasters is to involve paid caregivers early in the process. Home care can start slowly and increase as the need for care grows. Delaware Medicaid will pay for home health aides. It will pay for expensive care in a facility on a sustained basis. Once a person is approved for Long-Term Care Medicaid, they remain covered if their level of care changes. Family caregivers who get a break are happier, healthier, and live longer.
The time to start the application process is when the need for care first arises. This is when the patient has the most assets. Applying for Long-Term Care Medicaid when the need for care first arises affords the applicant the opportunity to protect 50% of a single person’s assets and essentially 100% of a married couple’s assets. Don’t wait to apply for Long-Term Care Medicaid until your loved one is out of money. Protect their assets. Do this now.