You should anticipate the physical challenges that you may face when you start to reach an advanced age. The vast majority of seniors will need help with their daily needs, and this is an inconvenient fact of life.
If you make preparations in advance, there will be no surprises, and you will be able to manage the transition effectively.
Aging in Place
A lot of people that move into assisted living communities do so because of the way the living spaces are constructed. There are features that make life easier for people that have mobility challenges.
At the same time, a lot of people would prefer to remain in their homes because of the warmth and familiarity. You can also maintain relationships with neighbors that you have gotten close with over the years.
Aging in place is a building concept that has become quite refined. There are many different types of upgrades that can be made to adapt your living space to suit your needs.
These would include smart home technology, motion sensor lighting, handrails, grab bars, slip resistant flooring, door levers, motion sensor faucets, and on and on.
The initial changes can be a start, and as time goes on, you can adapt the space to match your needs. Aging in place modifications can be made in your own home, and sometimes adult children will make changes in their homes to accommodate parents that need living assistance.
In-Home Care Costs
Family members, neighbors, and friends can provide the help that is needed in some cases, but everyone is not so lucky. Plus, even if you have been receiving help from people that you know, at some point, professional assistance may be needed.
In 2020, the median charge for an in-home health aide in the Los Angeles area was $5529 a month or $66,352 a year. This represents a 5.45 percent increase over the 2019 costs, so you may be looking at a considerably higher number if you need in-home care in 20 years.
Medicare does not cover in-home custodial care, and it will not pay for a stay in a nursing home, so this is not the answer.
Medi-Cal Home and Community Based Services Waiver
Medi-Cal will cover custodial care if you can gain eligibility, but there is a $2000 asset limit. There is also a Medi-Cal Home and Community Based Services Waiver program that will address in-home care costs.
You could potentially give assets to family members to qualify for the Medi-Cal waiver, but there is a 30 month look back period. The divestitures must be completed at least 30 months before you apply for Medi-Cal.
Many seniors rely on income that is generated by assets that they have invested, so they are not in a position to give away the source of the income while they are still living independently.
If you are in this position, you could convey assets into an irrevocable Medi-Cal trust. The principal would not count if you do not violate the look back rule, but you would be able to accept distributions of the principal while you are living at home.
Speaking of home, a home is not a countable asset. However, there is a Medi-Cal estate recovery mandate, so the program can place a lien on your property after your death. With this in mind, you could convey your home into the trust as well, and it would be protected.
Take Action Today!
If you take the right steps in advance, you can live comfortably secure in the knowledge that you have a plan to address living assistance. The best way to proceed will vary, so we can gain an understanding of your situation and make the appropriate recommendations.
You can set up an appointment at our Los Angeles estate planning office if you call us at 310-337-7696, and you can fill out our contact form if you would prefer to send us a message.