As elder law attorneys serving clients in Kentucky and North Carolina, we help people prepare for the challenges that they may face toward the end of their lives. One potential situation that is at or near the top of the list is the matter of coping with Alzheimer’s disease. We have all heard of this scourge on our nation’s elderly, but its ubiquitous nature is surprising to many people when they look into the facts.
If you want to learn as much as you can about this disease, you would do well to explore the Alzheimer’s Association website. They have a wealth of information on the site, and you can actually connect with local chapters if you want to provide help or receive support. According to research that they cite, one out of every eight senior citizens has contracted Alzheimer’s disease. This equates to about 13 percent of all people that are at least 65 years of age.
That figure is eye-catching enough, but it becomes more and more likely that you will be impacted by Alzheimer’s disease as the years pass. According to the United States Census Bureau, the segment of the population that was between 85 and 94 years of age was the fastest-growing group between 2000 and 2010. The Alzheimer’s Association tells us that upwards of 40 percent of people that are at least 85 years old are Alzheimer’s sufferers.
The majority of individuals that live until they are in their mid-late-60s will in fact celebrate their 85th birthdays, so all prudent people would do well to consider the potential impact of Alzheimer’s disease.
The human toll can be extreme on the victims and their families when Alzheimer’s strikes, and this is what is most important. As we have touched upon, there are resources that you can tap into through the Alzheimer’s Association and local elder support groups. However, in addition to this part of the equation, there are also very significant financial ramifications.
Many people that are experiencing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease will require nursing home care. We have offices in the state of North Carolina, and we also assist clients in Kentucky. There are annual studies conducted by Genworth Financial, which is a company that offers financial products that are relevant to senior citizens. They do a good job of keeping track of the state of long-term care costs year-by-year.
According to their 2017 study, in North Carolina, the median charge for a private room in a nursing home was $91,250. In Kentucky, the figure was just over $88,000. In each state, the costs are expected to go up by between 3 percent and 4 percent per year over the next five years. As a result, if you need nursing home care in five, 10, or 20 years, the figures could be much higher than they are today.
Usually, when a senior citizen is facing any type of health care situation, Medicare will be there to pay most of the costs. It would make sense to assume that the program will pay for nursing home care that is needed because of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, this type of care is looked upon as custodial care, and the program will not cover it at all. This compounds a very difficult situation.
Fortunately, there is a widely embraced solution that can fill the gap if you take the right steps at the right times. Medicaid is another government health insurance program, and it will pay for nursing home care. Though there are income and asset limits, the Medicaid rules will allow many individuals to keep assets in the family and still get assistance paying for the care they need.
However, it takes careful, informed planning to qualify for Medicaid while preserving assets because there is a five-year look back period and most significant gifts made less than 60 months before you apply for Medicaid to pay for nursing home care are subject to penalties.
We Are Here to Help!
Many people in nursing homes have Alzheimer’s disease, but there are other health care issues that can trigger the need for the type of care that only a nursing home can provide. If you would like to discuss nursing home asset protection strategies with a licensed elder law attorney, we would be glad to help. You can set up a consultation right now if you give us a call at 704-944-3245 in North Carolina (Charlotte, NC and Huntersville, NC), and our Kentucky office can be reached at 606-324-5516 (Ashland, KY) or 859-372-6655 (Florence, KY).