Michigan Works to Help Elders Stay at Home

The State of Michigan is fortunate to have an active elder care community that provides options for seniors who want to stay at home and remain independent, instead of entering a nursing care facility. An alliance of government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private service providers offer wide-ranging assistance for seniors who are interested in at-home care. But for seniors and their families, finding and accessing the necessary help can be a daunting process. The elder law attorneys at BRMM help families navigate through the options.

Michigan Choice Waiver Program For At-Home Care

Medicaid is a federally-established and state-administered program that provides assistance to eligible adults who meet income and asset criteria. Accessing benefits in the complex program often is daunting to seniors and their families, especially since myths about Medicaid planning abound.

Medicaid is probably best known as a resource to help pay nursing home costs for eligible seniors. But Michigan Medicaid also has a program that provides assistance to help aging adults live independently or in a community setting, while receiving a nursing facility level of care at home.

The name of the program is the Michigan Choice Waiver Program, formerly known as Home and Community Based Services for the Elderly and Disabled, which has operated since 1992. The program is sometimes referred to simply as “the waiver.”

Through Michigan Choice, eligible adults can receive Medicaid-covered nursing home services in their own home or in another community residential setting. Examples of services provided by the program include:

  • Adult day care

  • Assistance with home-based responsibilities, such as cleaning

  • Meals delivered at home

  • Nursing and community health worker services

  • Medical equipment and supplies

  • Community transportation

  • Accessibility adaptations

  • Training in independent living skills

These services are only examples of the support that the program may provide. Services are determined on a case-by-case basis for eligible seniors.

Importance of Medicaid Planning

For aging seniors and their families, planning for short-term and long-term health and personal care needs is extremely important. In some situations, seniors who think they may not be eligible for Medicaid benefits through the waiver program or for nursing home costs may be able to achieve eligibility by taking advantage of options that are available under Medicaid rules. The best way to determine whether you or your family member may be able to qualify is to discuss your circumstances with our BRMM Medicaid planning attorneys.

The best time to plan for your future care is while you are still healthy and do not need support services. When you plan in advance, more options may be available than if you wait until you need at-home care. But regardless of the timing, Medicaid planning can help seniors achieve eligibility in many circumstances.

Seniors and their families often think they must give up everything to receive Medicaid benefits. That simply is not the case. With careful planning and assistance from a knowledgeable professional, you may be able to qualify and still preserve your assets. The system and rules are extremely complex. Advice from a Medicaid planning attorney is essential. Attempting to qualify on your own can have serious negative consequences.

Even seniors who may not qualify for Medicaid benefits should focus on long-term care planning as part of planning for their future. Our elder law attorneys at BRMM address all the prospective needs of senior clients as part of the estate planning process.

Role of Estate Planning

When seniors plan for their future needs, estate planning is an important part of the process. Your estate planning goals and needs change as you age. Even if you already have an estate plan, you should review the plan with an experienced estate planning lawyer to ensure it addresses your current situation and future needs. If you don’t have an estate plan in place, it’s critical to create one. Your estate plan does more than distribute your property after death. It also includes documents to protect you during your life.

The durable powers of attorney that are an essential part of every estate plan ensure implementation of your wishes for personal and medical care and management of your finances in the event you become incapacitated temporarily or permanently. Without these crucial documents, your loved ones may need to ask a judge to appoint a guardian and conservator to make decisions on your behalf. By putting durable powers of attorney in place, you avoid the cost and delays of court proceedings and make certain you designate the individuals to make decisions for you.

Making an estate planning requires assistance from a knowledgeable attorney. You should never fill out forms or use an online service to create estate planning documents. The do-it-yourself or DIY approach creates substantial risks for you and your family.

Talk with our BRMM Elder Law Attorneys About At-Home Care

Medicaid planning and long-term care planning are important parts of the assistance our BRMM elder law attorneys provide to seniors and their families. We’ve been providing legal services to clients for more than 40 years. Our compassion, credentials, and commitment set us apart. Call us at 248-641-7070 to talk with us about matters relating to long-term care or other areas of concern. We serve clients in Troy, Oakland County, and surrounding areas, as well as out-of-state clients.

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