Five Long Term Care Myths


long term care, nursing home careMost of us would rather have a tooth pulled then talk with our parents about long term care.  Many of us are operating with misinformation about long term care and how your family might pay for it.

What is Long Term Care?

Long term care is helping people with daily tasks.  It's not medical care.  It is help with bathing, dressing, cooking and more.  All the things a person needs to live life from day to day.

Long Term Care Myth #1: The government will pay

The government does not pay for long term care except for individuals who meet low income, low asset guidelines under the Medicaid program.  Medicare parts A and B are health insurance covering doctor visits, lab tests and hospitalization.  Medicare covers limited home care or a short nursing home stay for rehabilitation after a hospital stay.

Long Term Care Myth #2: My insurance will pay

Standard health insurance and Medicare supplement plans do not pay for long term care.  Long term care insurance pays for long term care once you meet the policy requirements.

Long Term Care Myth #3: My kids will take care of me

This one is not a myth. Families do provide most long term care.  The better question is do you want your child to help you with toileting and bathing?  What will happen to your son's finances when he quits his job to care for you? What happens if you need around the clock care?

Long Term Care Myth #4: I can't qualify for government aid until I spend all my money

A reputable attorney who specializes in long term care planning for Medicaid or a Medicaid specialist can help your parent explore options for preserving his estate.  Medicaid regulations for long term care are stringent and can be confusing.  Working with an expert can prevent costly mistakes.

Long Term Care Myth #5: All Medicaid funded nursing homes are terrible

The quality of nursing home care has more to do with training, management and family participation than how the majority of residents' long term care is funded.  Reserve funds so your parent can move to a nursing home that accepts Medicaid as a privately paying patient.  This will allow you to get the best nursing home care Medicaid provides in your local area.

What would you add to my list of long term care myths?

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--Janice Wallace


3 Responses

  1. RE: #4, it is becoming more difficult to protect assets for Medicaid funding long-term care. The "look back" period is often so long that people need to think far in advance (as in numerous years) to legally protect assets. But is that such a bad thing? Long-term care isn't free. Someone has to pay. Is it fair to burden tax payers with the bill if the person has a pile of assets?
  2. My big mistake was promising my mother I would help her stay in her home. She wanted to die in her house, and she did. But we should have sat down and talked about what would happen when she was incontinent, unable to prepare meals, etc. We should have had that talk. When my father's brain tumour rendered him unable to manage his <a href="" rel="nofollow">ADLs</a>, and I had a full-time job, it was time for LTC. <a href="" rel="nofollow">Adult children have no rights</a> and as long as my mother remained vaguely sentient, she was able to live at home and refuse all help.
  3. Myth #6: All LTC Administrators and Managers are out to take advantage of the elderly. We provide a service no one wants; in a regulatory environment that is only exceeded by Nuclear Power; mostly funded by tax dollars and therefore having an Accounts Receivable subject to legislative whims; bashed by the media and politicians using us to promote their careers. The people who work in LTC know they could make more money at less stressful jobs. But they stay because they have large hearts and they love making the lives of our elders just a little better each day. After 20 years as an NHA, I have seen that the vast majority of LTC employees (99.99%) do not get up in the morning trying to determine how they will inflict harm on our elders that day. Are there days when we are not as effective as we could or should be? Sure. Are there days when we wonder why we should get up and go through gauntlet one more time? Sure. But the honest dedicated servant attitude of the LTV workers usually overcomes the doubts and we come in, put a smile on our face and get down to business. This is not a pretty or glamous job. But it needs to be done. And those who would broadbrush paint our field of health care to meet their political needs or to try to confirm their own bias need to spend a month working as a CNA, having to field complaints and deal with regulators.

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