It’s a sad reality that many elderly people end up in situations they would not have chosen for themselves because they did not plan ahead for the inevitable. It’s not easy to confront the possibility of your own physical and mental decline, but unless you do, you could wind up in a situation that makes you very unhappy for the last few years of your life. When asked how they would like to live out their final years, very few people would say that they hope to be in a nursing home. Instead, they will often say that they want to stay in their own home with as much independence as possible. The good news is, this goal is attainable for many people if they make their wishes known and put some plans in place—the sooner, the better!
How to Plan for the Future
The most important thing you can do is discuss your wishes about remaining in your own home with your family members and with your estate planning attorney. Make it clear that this is your goal, then take steps to ensure that it is possible. Your home will need to be manageable for you as you are less able to take care of the yard, do small maintenance chores, and climb stairs, so renovating or downsizing your home before you are in a crisis situation is a good idea. Your estate planning attorney can help you with Advance Directives, Powers of Attorney, and Trusts that might make it easier for you to pay for the care you will need.
Support for In-Home Care
While it might be possible to stay in your own home right up until the bitter end, you will likely not be able to do so without help. Planning for the kind of help you need and figuring out how you are going to pay for it are two important steps to take as early in the process as possible. As you get older, you might find that you need help with the following in order to stay in your home:
- Activities of daily living. These include essential activities such as preparing food, bathing, dressing, taking medication, and getting light exercise. Hiring a personal care provider to come in at key points in the day could be enough help to allow an elderly person to stay in their home. As long as the senior is able to get around the house, the extra help with these important tasks could make the difference between staying home and moving to assisted living.
- Housework. A clutter-free home, fresh laundry, and clean dishes can help an elderly person navigate their day much more safely, but it can become difficult for them to do the cleaning themselves. Having a housekeeper come in on a regular basis can be a tremendous help.
- Transportation. One of the first things to go for many older people is the ability to drive safely. Failing eyesight, less-focused brains, and painful arthritis make driving inadvisable as we age. However, many communities offer free transportation to medical appointments and senior activities, or for-hire transportation can also be arranged.
- Shopping for essentials. Delivery services might be a good option for someone who is computer savvy enough to place an online order; otherwise, taking the senior to the store could be one of the duties of a personal care attendant.
Many of these tasks could be done by someone the senior knows, but it’s not always a good idea to rely solely on a friend or family member. Daily care is a big responsibility, and it’s often best to pay for the services you need.
How Do You Pay for In-Home Help?
There are options for low-income seniors to get in-home support services, such as Medicaid, Veterans benefits, and free community resources. While Medicare will cover the cost of medically necessary home health care only on a limited basis, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, that might include coverage for in-home care. Both Texas and Arkansas offer Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), which covers in-home care, adult daycare, and some transportation. If you are on Medicaid, this program would be free, but others can pay a small monthly premium. If your Estate Planning attorney is familiar with Elder Law issues, you can turn to them for assistance in finding financial resources for in-home care.
Are You Looking for an Elder Law Attorney in Texarkana, TX?
If you are looking for advice about staying in your own home as you age, you need to speak with an experienced Elder Law attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Texarkana office directly at 903.223.5653. We also have offices in Tyler, Paris, Longview as well as Magnolia, AR!