Costs of Senior Care Beyond Dollars

The top issue Caregiverlist discusses with seniors and their families is the cost of senior care.  What does Medicare cover? What income level is required to qualify for Medicaid? We provide information on Medicare and Medicaid, along with specific contact information in your state.  The ways to pay are:

  • Medicare will pay for up to 100 days in a nursing home after a major medical event
  • Medicaid will pay for care in a nursing home ongoing if you have nearly 0 assets
  • Veterans may qualify for the Aid & Attendance benefit
  • Reverse Mortgage
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Private pay with your own money

However, there is another cost involved beyond dollars.  This is the emotional and physical toll caregiving takes on spouses, children and loved ones.  For those involved in the hands-on aspect of caregiving, the days can be exhausting.  There is also the ongoing concern about quality of care and financial ability to pay for care services.

Perhaps there could be a middle grown for the government programs which provide senior care.  Why is it that Medicaid will pay for your full time care in a nursing home ongoing but you can only qualify for Medicaid after you have spent all of your assets?  Ongoing nursing home care is costly (daily rates vary depending on area of the country but the average daily cost is around $300 per day).  Wouldn't it be more cost-effective if the government provided a part-time caregiving benefit which could perhaps eliminate the need to spend down assets and qualify for Medicaid?

As the healthcare debate continues, this is another aspect of the high costs of care to consider.

Nursing home owners do operate profitable operations - very profitable in many cases.  I happened to meet an accountant in Chicago at a charity event and his firm's main customer is a family who owns the majority of nursing homes in the state of Illinois.  He told me they are very wealthy and pass the nursing homes on to their children, who sometimes are more concerned about the profits than the care and then when enough violations occur, the family just switches the ownership name to another person and continues on.  Operating a nursing home that has 100% Medicaid filled beds could be compared to owning a hotel where you know every room will be rented every single night.  However, nursing homes are known to understaff nursing aides and this is an ongoing issue for the senior care industry.

The more I read about the issues with healthcare reform, the more it becomes apparent that it is the people making the profits who don't want to see change.  By taking the first step to make some changes, we can build upon the improvements, just as a privately owned business does and just as we all do with any area of our lives where we want to see an improvement.

Comments (1) -

  • Debbie Burak

    9/19/2009 6:13:14 PM | Reply

    Beyond dollars also includes missing dollars.  The $23,000 potentially available to a veteran or surving spouse through the VA's Improved Pension that includes Basic, Housebound and Aid and Attendance.

    This little known VA Pension has been an entitlement for 58 years sitting idle.  The veteran does not have to been injured during his service as this is a Pension and not disability. Currently there are over 2 million widows alone missing out simply because they don't know about it.

    As the daughter of a WWII veteran I discovered the pension at the passing of my dad.  I applied on behalf of my mom as his widow and she was awarded the Pension.  Had we known during the 9 years they were both in assisted care they would have received over $160,000 to offseet the costs of their care.

    I launched veteranaid.org 4 years ago with the hope of making a difference for another son or daughter while honoring the sacrifice of service.

    The site is the most respected resource on the subject of Aid and Attendance. I hope this information will make a difference for someone you love.

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