Justin, My mother just turned 75. She’s healthy for her age, but I’m starting to see things that concern me. I want to help her, but I’m still raising two boys of my own, and I’m feeling overwhelmed. Can you point me in the right direction? – Judy
Judy, Two weeks ago I told you that there are three things everyone in the Sandwich Generation must know to avoid major setbacks down the road. First, I advised that your mother (and you) set up power of attorney documents. Second, I advised that your mother (and you) take steps to protect your estates.
The third thing that should top your list is this: your mother needs to prepare for long-term care, for her sake and yours. Over half of those who reach the age of 65 will need long-term care in their lifetime, and those services are expensive. The estimated lifetime cost of care for someone diagnosed with dementia, for example, is in excess of $340,000. An estimated 65% of those with long-term care needs are forced to rely exclusively on friends and family members to provide that care, in many cases because of financial considerations.
Armed with this knowledge, some families pursue long-term care insurance (because Medicare and other private health insurance plans don’t cover this). Some take steps to ensure they can qualify for state and federal benefits, like Medicaid or VA benefits, when long-term care needs arise.
I’m not sure if your mother would qualify for long-term care insurance at this point, but one thing is certain, the longer she waits to apply the less likely her chances will get. I don’t know enough about her situation to say whether Medicaid or VA benefits are likely to be options for her, but I can tell you there’s a three-year look back on VA benefit planning and a five-year look back on Medicaid planning. All these options have one thing in common—you have to plan ahead!
The attorneys in my firm would love to help you sort through these options. Call today for a no-charge strategy session, and check out our website to learn more.