Elder Care Attorney In Plymouth, MI

Long term care becomes necessary due to age, accident, health, and/or disability. In fact, almost 2/3 of those turning 65 will require some sort of long term care as they age. As a result, proper planning with an experienced elder care attorney is extremely important for seniors and their families. Adequate planning ensures quality care and preserves assets.

The elder law attorneys at Sean J Nichols, PLLC are dedicated to helping elders and their families plan a comfortable, and affordable future. If you need assistance with matters related to elder law/elder care in Michigan, contact our Law Firm today.

What Is Long Term Care Planning?

Long term care includes a range of services. Some people may require long term medical care at some point in their lives, while others may need assistance with daily living tasks. These activities of daily living (ADL) include, but are not limited to:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Incontinence care
  • Eating
  • Toilet needs
  • Mobility issues

In addition to ADL many people may require help at some point in their lives with the following:

  • Shopping
  • Meal preparation
  • Housework
  • Using the telephone
  • Managing money
  • Taking medication
  • Driving

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Young brunette woman standing up and caring for her elderly grandmother who's sitting down

Who Provides Long Term Care?

Long term care may be provided in a variety of ways. If minimal care is necessary, a loving family member may volunteer to help for free. Of course, this is the best case scenario. We know everyone wants to stay in their home and retain independence as long as possible. Sometimes with the help of family and friends along with fairly good health an elderly person may avoid the high costs associated with assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

Unfortunately, declining health and more demanding care force families to make tough decisions. Basically, when a loved one needs more care than a family can provide in a home setting there are two options: assisted living or a nursing home.

Assisting living centers provide meals, security, manage medications, and assist with bathing, dressing, and transportation. Also, recreational activities are available along with opportunities to socialize with others. Generally speaking, assisted living centers serve more independent people, although there are some assisted living facilities for memory care (Alzheimer’s) individuals. Those are locked facilities to prevent folks from wandering off.

Nursing homes provide more advanced care than assisted living centers. A nursing home may handle more complex health care conditions. A nursing home also may provide physical, speech, and occupational therapy. A nursing home must be licensed in the State of Michigan…an assisted living center is not licensed by the State.

Who Pays For Assisted Living & Nursing Home Care?

An assisted living center. In regards to nursing home care, the situation is more complicated. So, it’s vital to meet with an elder care attorney before placing someone in any facility. An elder care attorney will help protect assets and explain Medicare/Medicaid rules. Public programs do cover some costs in certain situations. It’s important to understand what’s covered before entering a long term care facility.

Medicare

  • Does not pay for assisted living long term care
  • After a 3 day hospital stay, will pay for up to 100 days in a skilled services or rehabilitation in a nursing home setting(certain rules apply)
  • Will pay for skilled in-home services

Medicaid

  • Will pay for nursing home care depending on income
  • Will pay for nursing home after one “qualifies” by spending down assets

Medicaid rules are complex and should be discussed with an elder care attorney BEFORE placing a loved one in a nursing home…especially, if your precious relative has any assets.

Michigan Estate Recovery

The Estate Recovery Law in Michigan was passed in 2007 by the State. The Federal government approved it in 2011, with a retroactive date to July 1, 2010. Basically, this law allows the State of Michigan to grab elders’ homes after they die if they were collecting Medicaid benefits. In other words, instead of your home going to your heirs, the State will go to Probate Court and demand the monies from the sale of the home go to pay back the State for the Medicaid benefits received.

This Medicaid Estate Recovery is complicated and dangerous, especially for widows, widowers, and/or single people with homes and/or property. An elder care attorney will help set up a trust or Lady Bird deed to protect your assets. The timing and construction of these documents must be handled by an experienced elder attorney.

More On Long Term Care Planning

Most people fail to plan for their long-term care.  More often than not the reason given for this is that people don’t start to think about growing old and what is going to happen to them simply because it is so far off.  What is important to them is the present: remaining healthy, independent, and not out living their income. Although they may not be worried about the future, it is important for us as family members to help stress the importance of them creating a long-term care plan for the inevitable.

When it comes to considering our inability to care for ourselves, natural human nature is to shut down thoughts that it will ever happen to us.  Although long-term care is not of a high concern to many because it isn’t happening right now. However, it is crucial that we take the necessary steps to plan ahead for events beyond our control.  No one can be sure that they will not fall victim of the effects of aging such as accidents, illnesses, & disability all which could involve the need to have prepared a long-term care plan. We plan for many risks such as fire, car accidents, theft, and more, so why wouldn’t we plan and prepare written documentation for our long-term care, set up a power of attorney, and establish an estate plans?

For aging individuals, one of the most earth-shattering events that can take place is the need for long-term care.  Typically, the need for long term care comes along with the removal of a person’s ability to care for themselves. When needing long-term care, elderly people most often lose their independence, experience a loss of their health, and use up financial assets.   The need for long term care is really the most overwhelming late in life event that can occur. There is very little wonder why so many of us are reluctant to plan for this event.

It is important for individuals to start planning early for retirement as long-term care can be costly.  Not only should we be putting money towards retirement and savings for Medicare and other expenses, we need to start putting money towards long-term care insurance.  Planning for the risk and need for long-term care is less expensive than the results of having a financial need that you cannot fulfill leaving the burden to fall on your family.

It’s true that as a society we work to avoid planning for the unpleasant inevitable, death.  It is easier to avoid the topic and go on about enjoying life then to face the fact head on that eventually we will pass on and our families will continue to live without us.  However, if we plan ahead for what will happen to your property when you are no longer around it will save a great deal of time and money for those who you are leaving behind. With a detailed estate plan in place you will ensure that your assets are dispersed accordingly.