Part of long term care planning may involve the decision that a loved one can no longer adequately be taken care of at home and needs to be placed in a nursing home.  This is one of the hardest decisions to make since no one really wants to go to a nursing home, and no one wants to have to make that decision.  It is better, if possible, to plan ahead to try to avoid this decision as long as possible. 

Meeting with an elder law attorney can be very helpful to understand the costs of long term care and to make a plan to use the family’s income and assets more efficiently to help the loved one stay at home as long as possible.  Certain types of plans, such as the preparation and funding of irrevocable trusts, may help the loved one, if he or she is an honorably discharged veteran who served during a time of war, be able to qualify more quickly for Veterans Benefits.  Other plans may convert assets into income streams to help pay for care at home such as a child buying the family home and making the mortgage payments directly to the parents, who serve as the “bank”.  A plan may involve looking at Medicaid or Medical Assistance through the Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) Waiver program to help pay for some of the needed home care.   While a loved one may hope that he or she never has to enter a nursing home, hope is not a plan.  It is better to be informed and to make a plan while there is still time.