In the early stages of Parkinson’s, families may often be able to care for a loved one at home. As Parkinson’s progresses, however, it can become more debilitating with increasing tremors and decreasing mobility, often requiring the use of a walker or wheelchair and unfortunately, sometimes leaving a person bedridden. With the loss of mobility, risk of falls and inability to perform activities of daily living, many families make the decision to place their loved one in a nursing home to provide them with around the clock care. How can you pay for a nursing home if your loved one has Parkinson’s?
There may be several different ways nursing home care can be funded. First of all, your loved one may possess long-term care insurance, which they purchased or was provided through employment. Although discussing the possibility of nursing home placement may feel awkward, it can be prudent to have such a discussion as soon as possible, so if such coverage exists, you can obtain copies of the policies for when the time comes. Similarly, if your loved one is a veteran, he or she may be entitled to veteran’s benefits, which may be another topic to raise early on with ample time to gather information on the benefit.
It can also be a smart strategy to take your loved one to meet with an estate planning and elder law attorney, who can assess your loved one’s financial situation and conduct long-term care planning, as soon as possible after the Parkinson’s diagnosis. One planning option may be the structuring of your loved one’s assets to make them eligible for Medicaid to cover the cost of a nursing home. This may include the person with Parkinson’s creating a trust for his or her assets. As financial situations vary, an attorney may also be able to provide additional options after reviewing your loved one’s financial picture.
In the face of accepting a diagnosis of Parkinson’s, it may feel like the wrong time to discuss a nursing home. The earlier the topic is broached, however, the more planning options may be available. Having a plan in the face of an uncertain future may provide comfort for your loved one. You can enjoy the independent time your love one has left, knowing when the time is right for a nursing home, you are prepared. For more information on establishing a long-term care plan for your loved one with Parkinson’s, please reach out to our office to schedule a meeting time.