CNBC.com recently featured an interesting article about the increasing number of seniors who face financial difficulties associated with staying at home when they have care needs. About 30 percent of Americans over the age of 65 had a mortgage as of 2011, up from 22% ten years earlier. And one-quarter of households with one or more residents age 85 or older spend at least half of their income on housing.
This creates significant problems for seniors who suffer changes in their health, whether physical, like a stroke or heart attack, or cognitive, including Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. These health changes often lead to a need for care and assistance with activities of daily living – such as transferring, feeding, bathing, dressing, and toileting. Services like meal preparation, medicine reminders, shopping, laundry, and other assistance and supervision can add up quickly.
The costs of in-home care can be very high. In one study, the median cost of in-home care for seniors in Michigan was found to be $43,472 in 2014, and can even be as high as $14,000 per month. This is on top of the costs of maintaining the home, including utilities, property taxes, upkeep, and a mortgage payment if there is one.
The CNBC article suggests a few options to help, including planning ahead to create a nest egg saved for this type of need, waiting to start receiving social security benefits until age 70, or taking out a reverse mortgage – which is a much better option than in past years due to new federal safeguards for reverse mortgages.
Michigan Elder Planning Options
In Michigan, with the help of an experienced elder law attorney, there are additional options as well. First, for those who qualify, Michigan offers certain home-based initiatives that allow for seniors with limited assets to pay for in-home care services using Medicaid benefits, instead of moving into a nursing home. These benefits can be difficult to obtain – unless you work with an elder law attorney experienced in this area who can help your loved one achieve qualification for the benefits.
Also, if your loved one or his or her spouse was a member of the military on active duty during wartime, then there are Veteran’s benefits available to help meet the care costs, even for in-home services, under certain circumstances. Again, qualification can be tricky and often requires proper planning, but a knowledgeable elder law attorney can help.
In Southeast Michigan, the attorneys of Barron, Rosenberg, Mayoras & Mayoras, P.C., include elder law attorneys who are leaders in the field of helping families of seniors qualify for government benefits to pay for care, including care provided at home or in a nursing home. We believe that caring for a loved one shouldn’t cost the savings of a lifetime.
If you or a loved one is facing the prospect of caring for an elderly loved one and you are worried about the high costs of in-home care, or how to pay for a nursing home, please contact our office in Troy, Michigan for a complimentary consultation. We will go over your options with you and let you know what benefits your loved one may qualify for.
Reach BRMM’s elder law attorneys at 248-641-7070, or through our contact form.