Tuesday, June 25, 2013

'Spending Down' to Medicaid: Three Easy Tips

Medicaid financial qualifications differ from state to state.  Some states have an income limit; some have an asset limit; and others, like Washington State, have both. If your aging parent needs care, or will in the near future, and funds are low, your first step is to do an online search on "Medicaid qualifications (your state)."

Once you have your state-specific numbers, you can begin to help your parent spend money on Medicaid-allowable expenses. The process is called a "spend down."  Here are some ideas (I'm assuming you have financial power of attorney.)

1.  Spend for your parent's future needs.  If  your parent could use a new television, an easy chair, or some new clothes, now is the time to go shopping.  Once he or she is on Medicaid,  the money will be gone. If it's hard to anticipate future clothing needs today, you can purchase gift cards for use later.  Within reason, you can buy gift cards in small amounts to use for relatives' birthday gifts, going out to dinner, etc.

2.  Plan for your parent's passing.  Most states allow people to purchase burial plots. Many states permit people to buy prepaid funeral plans or funeral trusts.  Check with your local funeral provider to see what type of plan is allowable and how much money your parent can spend and still comply with Medicaid rules in your state.

3. Purchase a small life insurance policy in your parent's name.  Most states allow policies of about $1500 to be paid for out of the spend down funds.

These ideas are starters.  Good luck!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Spring Cleaning for an Eldercare Blog? Now Information is Easy to Find

Yay! With just hours left until summer, I finished my spring cleaning.  Not on my closets or cupboards or floors, but on my eldercare blog.  I've added new categories or labels which should help you locate the information you need to grapple with issues relating to your aging parent.

Here are new categories that reflect my research over the last three plus years.

1.  Adult Family Homes--This label discusses one of the fastest growing senior care options, especially helpful if your aging parent is very frail.

2.  Affordable Housing--This label explains the types of low-income senior housing, how to apply and why these options are workable for seniors with limited means.

3.  Assisted Living--Another  popular option, that has pluses for many elders, but minuses for others.

4.  Caregiver Helps--Many of you are caregivers for your parent, either part-time or full-time.  Or you have one parent caring for a spouse.  Either way, you need support and encouragement. These posts offer that.

5.  Dementia--This label discusses various issues related to dementia, such as how to communicate with someone who has dementia, how to find care for them, etc.

6.  Eldercare Referral Agencies--This is a rapidly growing service which offers free help to families looking for care for their loved ones.  There are posts on questions to ask if you interview a referral agency, on explaining the new rules in Washington State governing such agencies, etc.

7.  Medicare/Medicare--Posts explain the difference between the two.

Let me know if these categories make it easier to access the help you need.

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