Elder law attorneys focus on the eventualities that seniors may face, and many of the challenges stem from Alzheimer’s disease. Everyone has heard of it, but a lot of people are not aware of its widespread nature and the overall impact it has on society.
Alzheimer’s Association Statistics
The Alzheimer’s Association website is probably the best place to visit if you want to educate yourself about this horrible disease. According to their site, over 6 million Americans have contracted the disease, and the forward-looking projections are a source of concern.
Over the next 30 years, they expect the figure to swell to 13 million. They also predict that the costs associated with Alzheimer’s will increase from $355 billion right now to $1.1 trillion in 2050.
You may be surprised to hear that Alzheimer’s is actually the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It takes more people than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined, and Alzheimer’s deaths went up by 145 percent over the first 20 years of this century.
Elder Financial Abuse
As we all know, Alzheimer’s disease causes cognitive impairment, and this can make people with the disease more vulnerable to financial predators. There are scam artists that target seniors because they see vulnerability there, buy this only a small part of the problem.
However, as sad as it is, most perpetrators of elder financial abuse are family members and other people that the victims know personally. They take advantage of their access and the windows of opportunity that are presented to them.
Experts have estimated that losses are in the billions of dollars annually, and it is hard for them to be precise, because the vast majority of cases go unreported. This is a widespread problem that you should be well aware of when you are looking ahead toward the future.
There are things you can do from a legal perspective to mitigate your exposure to elder financial abuse, and we can explain them if you work with our firm develop a plan for aging.
Family members will usually provide assistance to loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease for a while, but eventually, the needs can exceed their capabilities. Under these circumstances, full-time residence in a nursing home with memory care capabilities will be required.
Medicare will pay for inpatient hospital care for Alzheimer’s patients, but it does not cover long-term custodial care. This can have devastating impact on a family’s financial situation, because nursing homes are extremely expensive.
You can expect to pay about $160,000 for a year in a nursing home in the Hartford area, and some Alzheimer’s patients require care for multiple years.
Medicaid is another government health insurance program that will pay for long-term care. Because it is a need-based program, there is a $1600 asset limit in Connecticut.
Some assets do not count, including your home, one vehicle, wedding and engagement rings, heirloom jewelry, and your basic belongings that are not particularly valuable.
Even though your home is not a countable asset, there is another consideration. If you qualify for Medicaid as a homeowner, they could put a lien on your home during federal and state government mandated estate recovery efforts.
You can protect the home and other countable assets if you establish and fund a Medicaid trust. This would be an irrevocable trust, and you would not have access to the principal after you create the trust. However, you could receive distributions of the trust’s earnings.
As long as you fund the trust at least five years before you apply for Medicaid, the assets would not count. Because of this five-year look back period, advance planning is key.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
We can help if you would like to work with a Hartford, Connecticut elder law attorney to develop a nursing home asset protection plan. When you take the right steps at the right times, you can live in comfort and go forward with the knowledge that your legacy is protected.
You can schedule a consultation appointment right now if you call us at 860-548-1000, and you use our contact form if you would rather send us a message.