By Jacqueline Marcell, Author, "Elder Rage"
November 16, 2004
I was so happy that monetary help would finally be on the way, until I found out that the financial assistance would only pay to put my parents in a nursing home, not even in assisted living, and with very little help to keep them in their own home.
Since their levels of care were so different (my mother needed everything done for her), there weren't any facilities that would allow them to be together. They'd be across the street from each other in different wings of the home. After fifty-five years of marriage, my parents were adamant about wanting to stay together in their own home, in their own bed, where they could continue to cuddle and kiss--as they so frequently did. And, since my father was so "difficult" with a terrible temper and quite a long record of manipulative disruptive behaviors, the homes didn't want to deal with him anyway.
It was challenging, but I committed to keeping my parents together in their own home and attending Adult Day Health Care five days a week. Then, with the help of two marvelous caregivers, after five more years of loving each other--they passed, just a few months apart. Even though caring for every aspect of my parents' last years was the hardest thing I have ever done--I am proud to say I gave them the best end-of-life I possibly could.
Had I only known to insist that we buy Long-Term Care Insurance for them prior to their illnesses, their years of in-home care could have been paid for, and I could have saved myself so much heartache, not to mention a small fortune. I encourage you to learn from my mistake and look into LTC insurance long before you need it-for your loved ones as well as yourself. Like fire insurance, hopefully, you'll never have to use it.
Also, call your local Area Agency on Aging, or Department of Aging, and ask if there are any financial programs, waivers or grants available in your area that you can apply for.
Three Ways to Pay for Long-Term Care
1. Pay for in-home caregivers and assisted living/nursing homes out of pocket. This is expensive and can often deplete a family's life savings.
2. Meet a very specific poverty level and qualify for government assistance through the Medicaid program. Unfortunately, options are limited, only paying for nursing homes that accept Medicaid.
3. Buy a Comprehensive Long-Term Care Insurance policy. This protects your family's assets from the rising costs of caring for someone who needs full time care. An employer might even pay the tax-deductible premiums. Consider buying it at a younger age, when it is more affordable and accessible. It must be bought before a major chronic illness strikes. This policy pays for care in the patient's home, assisted living, board & care, and in nursing/dementia care facilities. Medicare and regular health insurance does not pay for long-term care. The average cost for a person who needs long-term care is $40-$70,000 annually, depending on where you live, plus the cost to the family caregiver who may have to leave their job.
Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent
Note: Jacqueline Marcell is an author, publisher, radio host, national speaker, and advocate for eldercare awareness and reform. She is the devoted daughter in her best-selling book, "Elder Rage, or Take My Father... Please! How to Survive Caring For Aging Parents", a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, being considered for a feature film. Jacqueline is also a recent breast cancer survivor, advocating for women to get mammograms and for caregivers to closely monitor their own health. She also hosts an Internet radio program "Coping with Caregiving" heard worldwide on www.wsradio.com/copingwithcaregiving.
For more information about Jacqueline Marcell's book "Elder Rage" visit www.ElderRage.com.
Distributed to SitNews for publication by Jacqueline Marcell.
For permission to republish all/part of this article,
contact Jacqueline Marcell at j.Marcell@cox.net