Typically, most senior citizens have their estate planning in place. That likely includes a will, healthcare proxies, financial powers of attorney and insurance policies – among others. The family is more confident with the long term planning for Mom and Dad and life falls into a predictable pattern. But what happens after estate planning, especially as seniors become elderly? What are Mom’s days like and is there anything she’s doing – or not doing – that could affect her physical health? This week, we look a bit beyond the estate plan and offer a few strategies for staving off loneliness, depression and other health considerations that can help them age in place comfortably.
It’s no secret that with the elderly, isolation is a big threat. A healthy social life leads to a healthy emotional state. In fact, numerous studies have shown that socially isolated seniors have a shorter life expectancy. Worse, isolation among aging seniors is common and experts believe it will continue to increase as we begin to live longer. Seniors who live at home rather than senior communities are a staggering 43 percent more likely to become socially isolated.
Most states now have Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers. These waivers provide assistance for qualified individuals who wish to avoid nursing homes and remain living at home. For example, many of the waivers pay for home modifications to increase an individual’s ability to live independently. Each state has different waivers with different eligibility requirements and benefits and you can see a complete list of Medicaid Waivers that help with home modifications here.
Money Follows the Person
Another program, Money Follows the Person, can also be advantageous for families concerned about their aging loved ones. This program is designed to move elderly Medicaid participants out of nursing homes and into the homes of their families or the community. Note that this particular program does not provide individuals with financial grants to aid in their transition. Instead, it provides states with grants so they can develop Money Follows the Person programs.
These programs use Medicaid resources that are already in place, including the HCBS waivers noted above. They assist individuals in managing their care outside of a nursing home via federal funds, which are also put toward the development of new services designed to help individuals with the transition such as housing coordination, case management and even tele-health services.
Note: Ohio is one of the states that participates.
Efforts to Age in Place With Fewer Worries
Remember that a sense of purpose, hobbies or even volunteering within the community are all important elements for preventing social isolation. Attending church, becoming part of a book club and even volunteering at their local voting precincts during election season are all ways many of our aging loved ones stave off isolation and depression.
To learn more about qualifying for Medicaid, as well as qualifying for any of the available solutions that are part of the Medicaid program, contact The Zimmer Law Firm today.