By Jane McNamara, Elder Law Attorney
As a pre-teen in the early 1970’s, I remember my mother crying about my grandmother’s health issues. My grandmother had many falls in her later years, resulting in broken hips, repeated admissions to the hospital, rehabilitation and therapies in facilities, discharges back home, only to repeat the process within a short period of time. It was very clear that my grandmother was unable to live by herself safely. I saw the decline, but was too young to help. My mother had to handle these issues, as well as her own family and job. It was not an easy task then, and it isn’t an easy task now for me dealing with my dear mother who now has dementia.
My mother promised my grandmother that she would “never be in an old-folks home”. My mother lost many nights of sleep due to that promise that was simply impossible to keep.
Now, as an Elder Law Attorney, I routinely see adult children struggling with this same promise. Many times, it is simply impossible (as well as impractical) to keep that promise to their parent. Families often pay in excess of $8,000.00 per month to have a non-medical caregiver stay with the elderly parent in the home to try and keep that promise. However, broken hips, diabetes, dementia, and other illnesses require full time medical care, that can only be provided in a care facility. These “old-folks homes” are not what they were years ago. They are regulated, must meet certain standards, and often have caring staff. Yes, there are good ones and bad ones. Yes, they are expensive. But, using our unique and generous California asset protection laws for Medi-Cal, and/or obtaining VA benefits or other long term care resources, getting the right care at affordable rates can make a world of difference. The bottom line: do what is best for the elder, know what care options are available, know what benefits are possible to help with the costs, and understand promises are sometimes impossible to keep.
The McNamara Law Firm may be reached at (661) 287-3260.