Planning for a health crisis is one thing.
Many forward-thinking adults anticipate the possibility of someday needing long-term care. Many create legal documents and plans with the help of professionals such as attorneys and agencies that help people plan for crises before they happen.
If your mother, father or both of your parents have discussed this topic freely over the years and kept you informed about there wishes and about where important paperwork is kept, your family is ahead of the game.
You may need assistance while you manage the many decisions that lie ahead, but if you are confident that you know what to do, the amount of stress and disruption overall may be minimized.
You may draw on family teamwork while also turning to trusted professionals to help your ailing father or mother prepare to transition from a hospital or rehabilitation center to a nursing facility, whether temporarily of indefinitely.
Responding to a sudden health crisis is another thing.
Without much advance preparation or information, a sudden crisis may feel chaotic and frightening. Perhaps your elderly parent never divulged where they kept important papers. Perhaps procrastination kept them from completing a comprehensive estate plan before a debilitating injury or illness.
Suddenly, you face many areas of concern all at once, such as:
- Providing personal visits to your distressed parent and taking care of practical matters
- Communicating with medical professionals, insurers and others involved in caring for your loved one
- Making decisions about medical treatment and continuing care after a hospitalization
- Evaluating long-term care facilities and understanding admissions processes
- Identifying financial resources to cover necessary costs
- Devising strategies for managing physical aspects of a move
Throughout this process of watching out for your elderly parent’s interests and care, questions about Medicaid may come up if their condition means that they will need long-term care.
Will Medicaid be a necessary source of financial support?
About 20 percent of Americans need Medicaid assistance sooner or later, and a time of decline after a health crisis is a likely time for this need to emerge. If so, when and how will Medicaid eligibility come about? Will your elderly parent need to sell their home and spend the proceeds before Medicaid eligibility kicks in? Considering these possibilities and ways to protect property is an aspect of estate planning that should not be ignored, even by people who have lived comfortably all their lives.