Protecting Your Assets From Nursing Home Costs

protect assets of the elderlyIf you become too ill or frail to live at home or in an assisted living residence, you may need to move to a long-term care facility that provides 24-hour assistance, monitoring, and nursing care. But long-term care facilities, also known as nursing homes, are extremely expensive. The average cost of a long-term care facility in New York is well over $100,000 per year, and is expected to increase four times by 2030.

What Does This Mean For You?

If you are the average baby boomer with a healthy retirement nest egg of between $200,000 and $1 million, you may not be overly concerned at first. But, what if it becomes necessary for you to stay in a nursing home, with an average cost of $7,000-$8,000 per month? It won’t take very long for your entire life’s savings to wind down to nothing.

The worst part about this arrangement is not only that it will impact your quality of life, but the quality of life for your family as well. You have probably worked throughout your whole life to be able to take care of yourself and your family, and to be able to leave something for them when you pass. If you end up in a nursing home, however, you might go through all of your loved ones’ inheritance extremely quickly.

However, with early preparation and planning in advance, you can create – for your benefit and the benefit of your children – an estate plan that will enable you to protect your assets from the high cost of nursing home care. This may include purchasing long-term care insurance to provide protection against the cost of nursing home care, or creating an irrevocable trust to preserve some of your assets in anticipation of having to spend some in order qualify for Medicaid.

What if You Won’t Need Long-Term Care?

Early preparation can enable you to protect your entire life’s savings. But, why should you prepare for an uncertain eventuality? After all, you may never need to stay in a nursing home. While this may be true, the consequence of not protecting your assets from nursing home costs, and ending up in a nursing home anyway, can be so severe that you may not want to take that chance.

Think about it this way: You can either spend a little bit of time and money with a qualified estate planning attorney to help you prepare in advance and save your entire life’s savings, or lose all of it while paying for nursing home care when it is needed. Which would you rather have as your legacy?

Need Help Protecting Your Assets From Nursing Home Costs?

If protecting your assets from the high cost of nursing home care is something that is of interest to you, consult with the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin P.C. today. Call us at 516-605-0625 or contact us online to schedule an appointment, and we will be glad to discuss your estate options. If you already have a loved one in a nursing home and he or she is not getting the quality care that’s deserved, don’t hesitate to speak up on his or her behalf. Contact us today.

Why a Nonprofit Nursing Home May Be the Best Option for Your Loved One

Nurse with an elderly patientChoosing a nursing home facility for an elderly loved one is a difficult decision for a family to make. There are so many factors at play: quality of care, distance from home, and a pleasant environment, among others. Many options may be available, but be careful. Some nursing homes are more concerned about making a profit than about providing the right level of care for residents.

The Rise of For-Profit Nursing Homes

These days, most nursing home facilities in the U.S. are for profit. In fact, 78% of nursing home revenues went to for-profit institutions in 2010 (up from 72% in 2008). These nursing homes may be more willing to cut crucial corners in order to bring in more revenue, even when doing so puts residents in harm’s way, and skirts around what the law permits.

Between 2010 and 2012, federal prosecutors brought 120 cases against nursing homes. Many of these homes are run by enormous companies that operate thousands of nursing homes nationwide. Some are even facing lawsuits associated with preventable deaths of residents. These cases involve a situation in which residents often went without food, bathing, or proper medical treatment. Neglect is not a problem that is unique to for-profit nursing homes, but it is more common within them.

How For-Profit Facilities Cut Corners

The most important factor that influences a nursing home’s quality of care is the staff. It’s not surprising that when a facility hires skilled, well-trained personnel–and hires enough of them–residents are well cared for. Conversely, it is unsafe to have a low ratio of caretakers to residents, as many residents suffer from serious health and cognitive conditions that require close supervision.

A 2011 report published by the Government Accountability Office found that for-profit institutions were severely lagging in this area. For-profit nursing homes had fewer registered nurses present per resident per day, and had the highest number of deficiencies causing harm or jeopardy to residents. For-profit institutions are also likely to spend less money on activities for residents, as well as nursing supplies, and even food. This all leads to a lower quality of life and more health risks for residents. Not-for-profit institutions, however, are not driven by the bottom line. These facilities generally hire more staff, and are able to commit more resources to keeping residents healthy and happy.

Making a Decision

Choosing a nursing home for your loved one is a deeply personal decision, and one that is different for every family. However, when researching nursing homes, it is worth weighing the true goals of the facility–is it the well-being of residents, or is it profit? It is well worth your time to look into non-profit nursing homes, as they often provide a higher standard of care.
If you already have a loved one in a nursing home, don’t hesitate to speak up on their behalf if it appears he or she is not getting the quality care they deserve. And, if you suspect mistreatment or abuse, contact us at the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C.

Resident-on-Resident Nursing Home Abuse More Common Than You Think

Nursing Home resident in the hospitalWhen we think of nursing home abuse, we tend to think of nurses and caretakers mistreating our elders. This is an important problem, but there’s another aspect of nursing home abuse that can fly under the radar. Sometimes, nursing home residents themselves are guilty of abusing other residents. If you have a loved one in a nursing care facility, be aware of the very real risk of mistreatment by other residents.

Types of Abuse by Residents

In a group setting like a nursing home, it’s easy for small, but nevertheless troubling, behaviors to escalate if they go unchecked. Every month, one in five nursing home residents experiences some type of aggression from another resident. Some of these offenses are merely aggravating. Residents might yell, insult, or curse at another resident. If this behavior is habitual, it can take a serious toll on the mental health of the targets.

Moreover, poor behavior may not stop there. Frequently, residents enter other people’s rooms without permission, looking through other’s possessions. Sometimes, residents go as far as hitting, biting, scratching, or sexually assaulting other residents. This is, of course, unacceptable. Nursing home employees have a difficult job, but more must be done to protect residents from abuse.

What Causes Resident-on-Resident Abuse

In most incidents, it’s hard to point to a single cause of aggression. Many nursing home residents are cognitively impaired, and engage in actions that may be associated with some form of dementia. If resident-on-resident abuse is rampant in a particular nursing home, it may potentially be linked to the overall conditions in the facility. Abuse is more likely in facilities in which the following factors are present:

  • Conditions are crowded, with less private space for each resident. This can lead to frustration and tension, which can in turn lead to residents acting out. It also means that residents may have more frequent unwanted interactions.
  • Inadequate staff for supervision. Stretched thin, personnel can find it difficult to find time to resolve conflicts, and to respond quickly to explosive situations.
  • There is not a good system in place for conflict resolution. With many people living in the same close quarters day-to-day, it is not surprising that tensions can develop between residents. Without a mediation structure, those tensions can fester and potentially become explosive. Staff members may become desensitized to conflict, ignoring the warning signs for abuse.
  • Staff members aren’t communicating with residents in a sensitive manner. Particularly for relatively young residents who are suffering from cognitive impairments such as dementia, pent-up frustration is an enormous problem. If they aren’t given the chance to talk about it, and provided with proper outlets, it could lead to such a resident engaging in abusive acts against other residents.

What to Do If a Loved One is Being Abused in a Nursing Home

There is nothing more painful than seeing a family member suffer. If you believe a loved one is the victim of abuse at the hands of another nursing home resident, don’t wait. Contact us at the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. An experienced elder law attorney, Andrew Lamkin can help your family resolve the situation and pursue justice and full compensation for your loved one.

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