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How to afford nursing home care

A part of estate planning is considering the cost of long-term medical care, such as for a nursing home or in-home assistance. It is unwise to bank on family and friends being able to take care of you when the time comes. Even if loved ones express willingness now, circumstances can change that make them no longer able to become your caregivers.

However, you likely have concerns about the high price of assisted living. You cannot afford the expensive facilities, but you fear to go to a less expensive one and receiving substandard care because of issues with understaffing. What do you do to make quality care more affordable?

Consider all your options first

The good news is that there are more options than you think, both for the type of care you can receive and for the methods of paying for it. Possible financial resources include:

  • MassHealth (Medicaid in Massachusetts)
  • Medicare
  • VA benefits
  • Irrevocable trusts
  • Loans
  • Life insurance policies

Medicaid may be the most beneficial option if you can qualify for it. Do not think your financial state automatically makes you ineligible; you can make certain financial moves to meet the qualification requirements. However, it is best to do this with professional help to avoid making mistakes that will disqualify you from applying for and receiving Medicaid. For example, how you transfer and spend assets affect your eligibility.

Once the time comes to choose a nursing home, search for discounted rooms due to less-convenient locations, smaller sizes or fewer amenities. Discover the places that allow you to select and pay for only the services and hours of care that you need. Look at smaller establishments, too. They may not have all the bells and whistles, but they can be just as adequate as chain residences. Talk to your doctor to ensure that you know what level of care and types of services you need for your specific health situation.

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