Far too many people do not seriously think about the adjustments that they will have to make when they become senior citizens. At first, you may be able to manage all of your own daily activities, but things can change over the years.
Once you are 67, your life expectancy is 87 years if you are woman, and it is 85 years for a man. Clearly, mobility can start to become more and more difficult as you reach advanced ages.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 52 percent of American seniors will need paid living assistance eventually. This is a fact of life, and you should prepare for it accordingly.
Aging in Place
You can make aging in place modifications to your home to accommodate your physical limitations. This can include the utilization of smart home technology, keyless entry systems, door levers instead of doorknobs, grab bars, handrails, outdoor ramps, and motion sensor lighting.
There are also multiple different types of modifications that can benefit people that use wheelchairs to get around. One of the good things about the aging in place concept is the flexibility because you can add on to existing modifications as your needs change.
The Cost Factor
Some people are fortunate enough to be able to get the assistance that they need from family members and friends. There are those that move in with adult children, and the modifications are made in the home of the child caregiver.
This is great when it works out for everyone, but in some cases, it is simply not possible. Even if you have been receiving unpaid care, at some point, professional assistance may be needed.
Genworth Financial is a company that sells insurance to senior citizens, so they monitor long-term care costs on an annual basis. According to their research, the median annual charge for an in-home caregiver in the Hartford area was $66,924 in 2021.
Just over half of people that need paid long-term care receive the assistance for more than a year, so the numbers can get rather large.
You may assume that Medicare will cover in-home care or a stay in a nursing home since it is a health care insurance program for senior citizens. Many would say that it is not fair, but in fact, Medicare will not pay for custodial care in a nursing home or in your own home.
Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver
If you can gain Medicaid eligibility, you can qualify for the Home and Community Based Services Waiver, which will pay for in-home care. Full-blown Medicaid will cover a stay in a nursing home.
You cannot qualify if you have more than $1600 in your name, but your home is not a countable asset with an equity limit of $955,000 this year. Even though your home is not counted, you have to be aware of the Medicaid estate recovery mandate.
The program is required to seek reimbursement from your estate after you pass away if you were a beneficiary, so they can place a lien on your home.
Fortunately, there is a solution in the form of an irrevocable, income only Medicaid trust. You fund the trust with your home, income-producing assets, and other countable resources.
This should be done well before you need paid long-term care, because there is a five-year look back period. The assets in the trust will not count if you apply for Medicaid, but you have to fund the trust at least 60 months before you submit your application.
Take Action Today!
Today is the day for action if you are going through life without a plan for aging. You can schedule a consultation at our Westport or Glastonbury, CT elder law office if you call us at 860-548-1000, and you use our contact form if you would rather send us a message.