Since many families pay for home care from their savings, they are in a state of continuously diminishing resources. Many assistance programs determine eligibility based on an individual’s resources. Therefore, the assistance available to an individual is constantly changing. In other words, the longer a person requires (or is projected to require) home care, the more assistance that becomes available to them.
For this reason, it is advantageous to develop a long-term financial plan when considering home care. Doing so has the dual benefit of ensuring a comfortable and consistent aging process for your loved one while at the same time preserving your family’s assets and resources.
The creation of a financial plan for home care is a complicated process and must accommodate various health scenarios. Fortunately, there are resources available to help families with financial planning for home care.
- Public Benefits Counselors – Local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) and Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) have benefits counselors on staff that can help with financial planning. While they typically do not charge for their assistance, they may be under-staffed and unable to provide adequate long-term planning. They tend to be highly knowledgeable about local programs but have less financial planning experience.
- Geriatric Care Managers / Life Care Managers – Care managers help families create and put in place long-term care plans. And as a part of that, some will help with financial planning. Since care managers are typically paid for out-of-pocket, one can expect a higher level of attention than one might receive from a public benefits counselor. Families tend to contact care managers only after the need for care has become apparent. Therefore, they are not in the best position to do long term planning. Often, care managers come from nursing or public health backgrounds and do not have extensive financial experience.
- Eldercare Resource Planners – ERPs are specialists in developing financial plans for home care. They differ from care managers in that they typically come from a financial background instead of healthcare background. They are paid out-of-pocket but can often pay for themselves in the financial assistance resources they discover for their clients. They are significantly less expensive than Elder Law Attorneys but cannot perform some of the legal procedures that only attorneys can do.
- Elder Law Attorneys – The most expensive and most thorough option are elder law attorneys. This type of attorney and their staff can provide a one-stop shop for home care financial planning. But their hourly rate may prove cost-prohibitive for some families. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorney database is a good resource to find a local Elder Law Attorney.