Whenever I sit down with clients to plan ahead for Medicaid eligibility we spend a lot of time walking through the worst-case scenario of permanent nursing home placement, thereby triggering approximately $12,000 per month in nursing home fees (Connecticut is the 2nd most expensive state in the U.S. when it comes to nursing home care). But it's also important to at least consider the possibility that the client will never actually need to be placed in a nursing home.
There is no "crystal ball" to use and nothing can be guaranteed but there are factors to consider when trying to determine the odds that you will need permanent nursing home placement at some point in the future.
Is there a history of dementia and/or Alzheimer's Disease in family? It seems like these are the types of conditions that most often trigger the need for long-term, permanent nursing home placement and they are very hereditary. Other issues like diabetes, a heart condition, a bad hip etc. can usually be handled adequately at home.
Do children, grandchildren and other family members live nearby or are they beyond driving distance from your home? The larger the local support network (usually a family-based network) the less likely that you will need to be permanently institutionalized.
How extensive are your liquid assets? Even if you don't have long term care insurance in place, the more you have in investments, bank accounts, retirement accounts, etc., there is a greater possibility that you will be able to provide yourself with home health care and/or companionship to keep you in the community.
I always advocate for planning for the worst (in this context, permanent nursing home placement) and hoping for the best. However, you need to realize that future nursing home placement is not a "given", and if the chances of requiring institutionalization are remote based on your own set of personal circumstances then you should factor that into your planning.
DISCLAIMER: This blog does not offer legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog.
President Obama signed legislation in January 2011 which called for a national plan to address Alzheimer's Disease. On May 15th the "National Alzheimer's Plan" was unveiled and it hones in on five main goals, perhaps the most ambitious of them: prevent and treat Alzheimer's by 2025.
It's a relief for me, my clients and their families to see this initiative really get off the ground. Alzheimer's is truly one of the worst diseases out there and it's clearly time for a strong, comprehensive effort to address this national health crisis. Now comes the tough part; making sure that the plan realizes forward progress on a long-term basis.
All the details of the plan, including all of the planning that led up its finalization is here.