I am not sure how or why money, especially your parent’s money, became such a taboo topic.
“It was well understood in my home that you did not ask any questions about money. If you did you would quickly be told that it was none of your business. And since I was taught to respect my elders I did not ask. Oh, how I wish I would have!” ~Carol
Carol’s Parents Were Very Proud.
They were also frugal. And privacy was important to them. Carol and her brother had no idea what their parent’s financial situation was. When Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease Carol and her brother tried to broach the topic again but Dad refused to have the conversation. They backed off, not wanting to upset either parent.
Dementia Creeps In
As with some Parkinson’s patients, dementia was part of the process. It soon became clear that Carol and Jim’s Mom could not take care of their Dad alone. Their Dad was a large man. He was 6’4 and weighed about 240 lbs. He began having a series of falls. And he would get angry and then confused when this happened.
Marie, Carol, and Jim’s Mom was a small woman. She was 5’3” tall and just a wee bit over 100 lbs. There was no way she could lift her husband James when he fell.
Several of the neighbors helped. But Marie hated to be an imposition and James was embarrassed. A few times she even had to call the fire department to help in the middle of the night.
Protecting Their Adult Children
And they kept this information from Carol and Jim. Marie didn’t want to worry the children. Carol lived 4 hours away. Jim lived closer but he was busy with his work and his own family. He stopped by every week or two. But this was not enough to get a clear picture of what was going on.
Then Marie had a heart attack. She was rushed to the hospital and had to have surgery. Jim and Carol had their eyes preyed wide open. Staying with Dad they wondered how their Mom was able to take care of dad this past couple of years.
The social worker at the hospital wanted to help. But the problem was without knowing about their parent’s financial situation it would be hard. Mom would stay in the hospital for a week or so and then would be transferred to a rehabilitation facility to heal and get her strength back. 20 to 30 days would most likely be all that Medicare would pay for. After that, the family would be responsible to pay for their care.
The fact is Marie could not continue to try to care for her husband alone. And Jim and Carol both worked and had families to care for also. And it was also clear that Dad needed around the clock care.
There Were a Lot of Care Options.
From home care to assisted living to care homes and nursing homes. And for 24-hour care, the costs ranged from $3500 to over $12,000 per month. And without knowing what their parent’s financial situation was, Carol and Jim had their hand’s tied.
It was pretty clear that Dad could not make the financial decisions. With Marie out of the house, he became agitated and more confused than ever. Though Mom would heal with time and only need minimal assistance, Dad was a different story. James needed someone to assist him 24 hours a day.
Help From an Attorney
Luckily Marie was able to recover. She and her children sat down with an Elder Law Attorney to make sure all of the necessary paperwork was in place. Furthermore, their attorney was knowledgeable of the local eldercare community. As such, she was able to refer them to the right professionals who could help. And the good news was, they had a long-term care policy and James qualified for VA Aid and Attendance benefits. The attorney would be able to help them get these benefits.
This is Not an Uncommon Story.
And while this story turned out to have a silver lining, not all families are that lucky. Some may need help to apply for Medicaid benefits. The truth may be that mom and Dad do not have any savings or a long-term care policy to help. These families also need to help of an Elder Law Attorney. Applying for Medicaid is quite a process. Most families need assistance to make sure everything is done correctly. With a couple, it is important that there is still some income for the spouse to live on.
Free Elder Law Workshops- No Charge and No Obligation
Though the details may change somewhat from family to family, many find themselves in this predicament. Attend one of the workshops that we offer at no charge. Discover what you need to know to plan for the future. Do it for yourself and for those you love. See Our Workshop Schedule