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A Two Generation Family Long Term Care Crisis – Part 1

Mom and Dad are still living in their home which they own.  They both need round the clock nursing home level care and have home health aides living with them.  This has been going on for a number of years and they have spent down all their assets on care and maintaining the home.  Now the children are spending their own money, in some cases as much as $10,000 per month or more, with no end in sight.  They want to sell the home but in todayâs economy and real estate market that isnât as easy as it once was.  Their current predicament is taxing on the family, both financially and emotionally.  Last week I talked about a reverse mortgage as a possible solution.  Is there any other way out?


            Actually, there is.  There is a way to move both parents into a nursing home, get them on Medicaid and reimburse the children for monies they paid for their parentsâ care.  Medicaid rules are very complex and the timing of each step in the process is critical but it can be done.  Hereâs how it works.


The first step is to get one of the parents into a nursing home.  Letâs say it is Dad.  If he is in the hospital already (often the case when we get the call)  then he should be transferred from there to the nursing home.  We then apply for Medicaid.  The house is an exempt asset (ie. not a countable asset for Medicaid eligibility purposes)  since Mom is still living there.  Once we get Dad approved for Medicaid there is what is called a âdivision of assetsâ.  Whatever is Momâs is now hers, to be spent on her care but not on Dadâs.  This is the key.  In next weekâs blog Iâll discuss the next step, getting Mom on Medicaid.