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A Medicaid professional consultant helping an elderly woman to protect her assets and money from the nursing home spend down.

Florida Medicaid & Long-Term Care Planning

Speaking to family members about Medicaid planning

Florida Medicaid planning conversations with parents
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Florida Medicaid and Long-Term Care Planning...A Difficult Subject for Everyone Involved

For whatever the reason, speaking with our parents or loved ones about end of life health issues such as Florida Medicaid Planning and Long-Term Care Expenses is an unpleasant event. Perhaps if I was a clergy member or health care practitioner, things might be different. I remember the time I pushed a long term care insurance consumer brochure across the table towards my mom and dad one night and asked if now is the time to do some Florida Medicaid planning. It had been building up so long and I really wanted to have the conversation. After all my mom seemed so comfortable putting her living trust and final estate plans together-why not her health care issues and the potential of a long term illness or health crisis? Why was it so difficult to talk with my own parents about something that may likely happen? After all the odds that a woman would end up taking care of her husband is very likely. Most women are wonderful caretakers by nature. One would think that they would be encouraging their older husband to have the "Florida Medicaid planning conversation" while they can.
Sure we all will pass away and for some of us it will be quickly and others may endure a prolonged illness. My father once told me that there was no need to do Florida Medicaid planning because he would never go to a nursing home, he responded jokingly, he would shoot himself first. My response was "Dad what if you get dementia and forget how to load the gun?" "I never thought about that," he replied. People have an illness and wake up in a facility they never imagined ever living in. It starts with one of the 6 ADLs or activities of daily living that we take for granted. Feeding, bathing, transferring, and medication -you know the rest. All of a sudden the family members begin to gather and make plans to cover the next shift. I was blessed as I am one of 10 kids and 29 grandchildren. Some of them are students with various work schedules to cover the odd hours in between. Most families do not have the numbers or support group like mine. Often times it is embarrassing or just not comfortable for mom and dad to open up and ask for help. You really get to know family in these crunch times. Recently a friend told me in confidence that his siblings had informed him that caring for mom and dad was his duty and do not ask them for any money or time. That reminds me of the time an elder woman told me that if she was hurt or in need of nursing home care that her son, the professional, would take care of her. My response was, "Ms. Jones, you just fell and broke your hip, don't you think it is time to call your son and tell him to come here to help you?" To my surprise her comment was, "he can't come home now since he is still working today", "MS. Jones I thought you said your son was going to take care of you when YOU needed care!" Of course you can't pound this home and make it any clearer than she made it for me. All children want to care for their parents for the end of their life. Parents do not ever want to be a burden to their children.
Most everyone I meet wants to be independent to the end.
Both sides have a noble plan, yet it still is often the most difficult task to make the plan work. I know most financial planners and agents put the subject of Florida Medicaid planning out there, but often get a cold shoulder from their clients. Can there be a better way to tackle this task? Why is long term care so difficult to deal with when everyone knows what might happen?
by Dave Henderson (Medicaid Consultant: Sarasota, FL)
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