BEWARE if Asked to Hand Over Your Wealth
If your loved one is asked to commit everything to “Age in Place,” DON’T !!! “Don’t ever, ever liquidate and commit their entire estate (i.e., their stocks, bonds, properties, jewelry, car, etc.) to any senior care facility,” says John E. Kasarda, Administrator of Little Brook Nursing and Convalescent Home in Califon, NJ. Although it may seem enticing to “Age in Place,” that is, to continue living your life through a progression of residences on the same site, one never knows what fate has in store. What if your loved one becomes unhappy or is not receiving the quality care they require and wants or needs to move? What if their facility has to close down due to a catastrophe like a Hurricane Sandy event? Being tied down to one facility could become more of a hindrance than a convenience. So, if the senior care facility’s management is asking that your loved one commit their entire wealth, be very leery and don’t sign any documents until you’ve discussed this with your family and attorney. Not only will you and your loved one commit yourselves to this situation, but because the finances are encumbered so too will your loved one’s lifestyle options be restricted.
BEWARE of Increasing/Unreasonable Fees
Beware of rapidly increasing fees for servicing needs, as these fees may escalate and exceed that of a Licensed Skilled Nursing Home. Some senior care facilities offer “higher levels of care” for an extra cost which may exceed the levels of care they are certified to provide. Furthermore, some senior care facilities may ask the resident to pay privately for a one-on-one “aide” or a “companion” as their health care needs increase; too often once the resident’s monies run out, residents are told that the facility can no longer meet their needs. If you’re paying $6,000 plus monthly or your funds are committed, then just compare the benefits versus the cost. And if you feel that you are not receiving the care you need or value you expect, then consider moving to a Licensed Skilled Nursing Home before your funds are depleted and you’re asked to move out.
BEWARE if Asked to Move Out Suddenly
Furthermore, even though your loved one may be in a senior care facility already, the facility may ask you to move your loved one back home or to another place when their monies run out because the facility is not Medicaid approved or it “doesn’t have a Medicaid bedroom available at that time.” What do you do then? “This happens all too often,” says Mr. Kasarda. “The best thing to do is to move your loved one to a Licensed Skilled Nursing Home that provides certified care as soon as the need for specialized care arises or when they reach the point where they have 6 to 12 months of funds left since that is often the amount of time needed to get Medicaid approval to transfer into a Licensed Skilled Nursing Home. That way your loved one is settled and fully cared for.”
While increasing fees may appear to be associated with your loved one’s increasing needs, they may not be receiving certified effective, safe and comprehensive care for those additional fees. Mr. Kasarda suggests “that one determine whether a Licensed Skilled Nursing Home is a better option at least six months to a year before all their monies run out.”
Senior care facilities serve the needs of able seniors to a limit. BUT, when a senior’s needs increase and the fees start rapidly escalating be sure to get the best, certified care for the cost, and get it sooner than later. “A senior’s golden years should be about living in peace, happiness, dignity, comfort, safety and good health. Your loved one deserves care that is both excellent and comprehensive!”, says Mr. Kasarda.
Editor: Dr. JP Hampilos, Senior Care Focus, LBHI; Interview excerpts of John E. Kasarda, Administrator, Little Brook Nursing and Convalescent Home
Senior Care Focus, Issue No. 15.3, Winter 2014