As elder law attorneys, we address challenges that affect senior citizens. Alzheimer’s disease is one of them, and it can have an impact on a few different levels.
Key Facts and Figures
The Alzheimer’s Association is a great resource if you want to learn more about this terrible disease. According to the site, over 6 million Americans are living with the disease right now, and this number is expected to double by 2050.
One third of seniors will pass away with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. Breast cancer and prostate cancer get a lot of attention, but you may be surprised to hear that Alzheimer’s kills more people than these two diseases combined.
To give you an idea of how rapidly the disease is surging, Alzheimer’s deaths increased by 145 percent over the first 20 years of the 21st-century. Over the same period, deaths caused by heart disease actually decreased by 7.3 percent.
Impact on Family Members
People that are experiencing Alzheimer’s disease are the ultimate victims, and it is also tough on their families. It is emotionally heartbreaking, and caring for a person with Alzheimer’s can be time intensive and physically demanding.
Over 11 million people in the United States are providing unpaid care for dementia patients right now, and the number will continue to rise.
Elder Financial Abuse
The impact of cognitive impairment can be gradual, and this contributes to the widespread problem of elder financial abuse. Though the exact figure is hard to pin down because most cases go unreported, losses are in the billions of dollars every year.
When you think about someone taking advantage of a vulnerable elder financially, scam artists and identity thieves may come to mind, and this is part of it. However, in most cases, the victims know the perpetrators personally.
Family members and other people that provide care often take advantage of their windows of opportunity. There are legal steps you can take to protect yourself, and if you have a loved one that is getting older, you can guide them toward an attorney that can help them take precautions.
Clearly, many people with Alzheimer’s disease ultimately require nursing home care. In Los Angeles, the median charge for a year in a nursing home in 2020 was $126,838 according to Genworth Financial.
Medicare does not pay for the custodial care that these facilities provide, so that’s not the solution. Medi-Cal will cover long-term care if you can gain eligibility, but this is easier said than done, because is a need-based program.
The asset limit is just $2000, but there are some assets that don’t count, including your home. However, if you qualify for Medicaid and you pass away while you are still in direct possession of your home, they can place a lien on the property after your passing during the recovery phase.
You can develop a financial profile that will lead to eligibility if you establish and fund an irrevocable Medi-Cal trust. The principal would not be accessible to you, but you would be able to receive distributions of the trust’s earnings until and unless you apply for Medi-Cal.
Access Our Estate Planning Worksheet
We have developed an estate planning worksheet that you can go through to gain a more thorough understanding of this important process. It is being offered free of charge, and you can get your copy if you head over to our worksheet access page.
Schedule a Consultation Right Now!
There is no time like the present if you have been thinking about working with a Los Angeles estate planning attorney to put a plan in place. You can schedule a consultation appointment if you call us at 310-337-7696, and you can use our contact page if you would rather send us a message.