Are you the adult child of senior parents? Have they ever spoken with you about long-term care planning? Have they ever talked about what to do if one or both of them needed a nursing home in the future? Talking about the possibility that your parents may require a nursing home in the future or wondering how they would afford it may be a difficult conversation to have, but it is important. Having critical conversations about long-term care with your parents, now, can help them in getting a plan in place to meet their wishes and protect their finances. Reassure your parents that they do not have to go it alone when it comes to nursing home planning. Let your parents know that you can assist them in their long-term care planning and remove some of the stress from the situation, when the time for a nursing home comes. Let us take a look at some important questions to ask your parents.

Do they want to be placed in a nursing home or stay at home? Some people want to remain in their home but other people may see a nursing home as a more practical option. Your parents may prefer to utilize an in-home caregiver prior to being in a nursing home. In this case, you need to discuss where you would locate a caregiver and how the caregiver would be compensated.

In long-term care planning there needs to be a plan as to how to pay for a nursing home. Medicare may cover a short stay in a nursing home, but beyond that, your parents will need to cover the cost. Do they have an estate plan in place? Long-term care costs are very high and could take all the assets your parents have worked hard to have and pass on to their loved ones. Long-term care insurance or cashing out life insurance may be additional options. Another option, though, is Medicaid planning. This planning can be done to preserve your parents’ assets and make them eligible for Medicaid to cover costs.

In helping your parents to do their long-term care planning, who will handle their financial matters? Consider that while you are planning for your parents to enter a nursing home, unfortunately, an accident occurs that leaves them both suddenly incapacitated. In this instance, they may need someone to step in and handle their finances. If they have each executed a durable power of attorney, which is an important legal instrument to have, it will allow the designated agent to make important decisions, as well as manage affairs per the authority granted in the power of attorney.

Again, in case of incapacity, have your parents made decisions in regard to the medical care they want and/or do not want to receive? Your parents should execute a living will and health care surrogate, which will help assure your parents’ dignity is preserved and their treatment decisions honored.

Following these discussions with your parents, a very important task for you to help your parents with is to locate a qualified Florida elder law attorney with an expertise in Medicaid planning. He can assist your parents with the necessary long-term care planning. Assisting them with locating an attorney and gathering the necessary documents can be a tremendous help to them.

At David H. Jacoby Elder Law Advocate, P. A., we are focused on providing thorough, ethical, and timely solutions for our clients and their loved ones. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with us.