Pay Your Kids to Care For You?

This is one of the most common questions we get.  Can I REALLY hire my own adult children to be my caregiver?  The simple answer is YES!  Before we get into the how, let’s look at the why.  Caregiving is not for the faint of heart, yet there are more than 14 million people in the world providing caregiving services at no cost.  Many actually live with the one they care for, and most are family.  For several reasons, this is becoming more and more common.  People have lost their jobs due to the economy, some have made the decision to take themselves out of the marketplace in order to be the caregiver their loved one so desperately needs, and there are more people in need of care every year.  And these numbers will only increase with the aging baby boomer population.  So, what are your options, you ask?  Well, here are the most common funding sources used today, not including savings:

  • Long-Term Care insurance – sadly, less than 14% of the entire population has this type of coverage.  When they finally decide they could use it, they cannot qualify due to health and/or premium rates being too high.
  • In-Home Supportive Services – In California, we have this through Medi-Cal.  In other states, there are similar programs at the state and county level under Medicaid.  Typically, they provide funding to assist with the cost of caregivers in the home.
  • Nursing Facility Waiver – Again, this is a California program, under the In-Home Operations Division of Medi-Cal.  This can provide up to 12 hours of care per day.
  • VA benefits – There is a very good tax-free benefit, called Aid & Attendance, that seems to have escaped most veterans, as the VA does a poor job of letting vets know what’s out there.  The VA even put out a memo back in 2009 stating that they were aware of this problem, and were putting efforts in motion to get the word out.  In all of my seminars and consultations with vets, I have yet to have even one tell me they were informed by the VA of any potential benefits.

Some of the biggest mistakes we see being made are folks not taking advantage of the many resources available to them.  Examples include support groups, respite care opportunities, caregiver training and support, and keeping to themselves.  Caregiving is physically and mentally stressful, and we all need some type of respite in order to be refreshed and rested.  Remember, the best lumberjacks stop every once and awhile to resharpen the blades.  Most caregivers become so overwhelmed with the task, that they become closed in, almost hermits, and as a result, cannot or do not take the time to research their options.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Get the facts now, and prepare for this day.  It is coming for the majority of us, and nobody wants to be a burden to their loved ones.  Watch for our upcoming TV program, titled “Plan Now or Be a Burden Later”.  Truth4SeniorsTV is found at www.centralvalleytalk.com every Wednesday at 2pm PST.  Truth4Seniors Radio can be heard every Saturday at 2pm PST at KGED1680AM, or you can watch the show on-demand at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/truth4seniors.

In closing, my experience has been that those being cared for are eternally grateful to those caring for them, and wish they could do something to show their complete appreciation.  Maybe paying them is one way?

Gregory A. Steen is the CEO & Founder of Steen & Company, a full-service estate planning firm.  Steen is also the host of the popular Truth4Seniors TV and Truth4Seniors radio programs, as well as the author of several industry pamphlets and white papers.  He was recently interviewed on Let’s Talk Business, a nationwide financial radio program.  To hear that interview, you can go to www.protectyourlifesavings.com/free-cd, and order his newest FREE CD entitled,“What the Nursing Home Won’t Tell You – How to Get the Best Care Without Losing Your Life Savings”.

What the Nursing Home Won’t Tell You!

You may be thinking, “What kind of title is that?”  Well, before I get into that, let me say that I am grateful for all that came our way in 2013 and looking with great anticipation for the upcoming year.  Truth4Seniors has seen the following milestones since this time last year:

  • New Truth4Seniors TV show – Airs live on www.centralvalleytalk.com, every Wednesday at 2pm.  In addition, every show will soon be available on our Truth4Seniors YouTube account.
  • New Truth4Seniors Radio program – Airs live on KGED 1680AM every Saturday at 2pm.  This show can also be viewed on demand at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/truth4seniors.  
  • New partners!  Home Instead Senior Care, Right at Home, Assisted Transition and a couple others to be announced as soon as the ink dries! 
  • WorkshopsEvery workshop we have offered will soon be available on-demand on this site!  This is in direct response to many of you who stated that you aren’t able to attend our workshops, as you are too busy being a caregiver.  Watch for this in the next couple of weeks!
  • Our newest CD, “What the Nursing Home Won’t Tell You – How to Get the Best Care Without Losing Your Life Savings” is available at no cost for a limited time.  You can order it online by going to http://protectyourlifesavings.com/free-cd.

What They Can’t Tell You

This newest CD has created quite a bit of excitement among our listeners, as well as some of our friends in the skilled nursing field, as you can imagine.  So perhaps a little explanation would serve us well.  You see, this CD isn’t so much about whether or not you will get the truth from a nursing facility, in as much as it is also about what they CAN’T tell you, because most people wait until they are in a crisis to seek any help.  At this point, many think they are too late, but even at that point you still need to know your rights, and understand your options.  The majority of skilled nursing administrators and staff that we know personally are very committed to giving the highest level of care to your loved one. Now, that being said, there are a few, as in every profession, that seem to have their own best interests at heart.  That’s called bottom-line thinking, and it stinks!  Unfortunately, the majority of facilities are owned by large corporations, and that’s business as usual.  They have to make a profit, as does this author, in order to continue to be of any help to anyone. So let me be clear:  I am not against a profit.  What I am against is people being given inadequate guidance, and/or the facility staff withholding information from the patient’s family.  In other words, no decision is a good one when you have limited information. Lastly, too many patients are being discharged too early.  They are sent away to lesser levels of care, and this too is simply not acceptable.

Many articles have addressed the shortage of long-term care beds.  Others have covered the issues surrounding the level of care provided, and why you need to observe and pay very close attention to how your loved one is being cared for.  My purpose here is simply to open your eyes and equip you with the truth.

 Don’t get caught making critical decisions in a moment of crisis!

Abraham Lincoln said it best, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”  Planning ahead makes sense in so many areas, and developing a plan of care is no different.   It’s too emotional and the exact opposite way most make important life decisions.  Know your rights and be ready when a crisis comes.  Said another way, be a responder, not a reactor.

Don’t Go Broke Paying the Nursing Home!

Last week I was found through Facebook by a friend I’ve known since sixth grade, and boy did we have a great time getting caught up.  Even though we are the same age, its always the other guy getting old, right?  The next day, I was put in touch with another very close friend that I lost contact with after graduating high school, and the tables were turned, and she let me know that the years were passing me by.  Well, it got me to thinking about several things, one of which was how blessed I am to have lived to the ripe old age of fifty-one, and to have so many of my childhood friends still close.  Over the weekend, my wife and I were at another high school friend’s home, and after some discussion, we determined that we are the only ones that have stayed married all this time!  Growing older can take its toll, and when it does, how prepared are we?  All of the sudden, you have a health scare, or worse, a medical condition, and you realize that you could have done better, or wish you would have planned in a way that would have afforded you more options.  Today, many people are experiencing chronic health issues and finding themselves in a nursing home, either for skilled therapy, or for long-term care.  The cost is prohibitive for the majority of folks, averaging $7,592 per month in California last year.  Unfortunately, some are paying the private pay rate, or what I call the “retail rate”, and have not been informed of their options to reduce and/or eliminate it altogether.  Earlier this morning, I took a call from a prospective client that will have to begin paying over $7,000 per month for her father-in-law in three weeks, and after reviewing his estate, came to the conclusion that her mother-in-law will not pay a dime, if they retain our services!  Guess what?  The nursing facility wasn’t going to tell them this, because they want them to spend every last dime before they inform them of this option!  The truth is, under current law, they are not required to spend every last dime, or any more dimes for that matter, and there is a program they have paid into, as have all other California employees, that will pay the entire monthly cost of that facility.  Mom can keep her savings to ensure her standard of living remains the same, and they will be protected from losing their home as well.  Know the facts, and let anyone and everyone you know who has a loved one in a skilled nursing facility, that there may be more to the story for them.  Our website is www.truth4seniors.com, and there you will find all of the answers to the most commonly asked questions.  Know your rights, and DON’T GO BROKE PAYING THE NURSING HOME!   And when you get that call from an old friend, drop everything and take it, because someday they just may not be able to.