If something unexpectedly BAD happens to a parent or loved one, you should act immediately. Time is of the essence. Here are the BIG 3 considerations:

 Step #1. Take care of your parent. Is he or she O.K.? Is he getting proper care? Do you know that something is wrong, but she thinks everything is just fine? Will she let you help? Does he need to go to the hospital for evaluation? Don’t be in denial. Don’t assume “it will get better.” Take action NOW. Start by seeking immediate medical assistance. Then, review our Crisis Planning report (available through this site – see below) for information on the next steps to obtain the best possible care, in the least restrictive environment, without going broke.

 Step #2. Take care of their finances. Long Term Care is expensive. If you have already checked, you know this. A stay in a skilled nursing home can cost $4,000 – $6,000 per month. An Assisted Living facility may cost near this. Cost of care at home can vary widely, depending on the number of “helpers” you bring in and the number of hours per day that they are needed.

Depending on the situation, your parent may qualify for financial assistance with home care or even qualify for Medicaid to assist with Long Term Care in a nursing home. It is important to consult with an Elder Law attorney as soon as possible after a determination of your parent’s incapacity, to help him or her qualify for the financial assistance that they need.

 Step #3. Preserve what you can to supplement care and honor your parents’ wishes. It is important to act quickly to help a parent qualify for any governmental benefits that he may be entitled to receive. Medicare will only pay for a maximum of 100 days (sometimes fewer) for a Long Term Care stay. Medicaid will only pay after certain stringent requirements are met, and will not pay for everything a patient may need. It is vital to protect as many assets as possible so there is money to pay for what is not covered. It is also important to your parent to protect any “legacy assets” pursuant to his or her Last Will and Testament.

A more detailed discussion of this topic is included in our Crisis Planning Report. A companion book and audio CD are also available. For your free copies, visit our Crisis Planning area of practice on this site or call us at 501-843-9014.

The information provided on this blog is intended as general information only for a broad audience. It is not intended as legal advice and should not be acted upon as such. If any reader has questions or concerns about any matter mentioned herein, he/she should contact an Elder Law Attorney or other appropriate professional. If any reader has questions or suggestions about a future topic area that he/she would like to see discussed, please contact the author at doug@arkelderlaw.com.