Are you caring for your aging mother? Have you talked about her plans for the future, especially if she were to need critical nursing care? During the month of May both National Elder Law Month and National Older American Month are celebrated. Both of these observances are crucial for you and your aging mother because of the support that both you and she can receive. With National Elder Law Month, Florida elder law attorneys will be out in their communities educating seniors about laws impacting them and the legal documents they need. National Older Americans Month reminds Americans that the family, friends and communities of seniors need to be supportive and protective. This is an important time of year to ensure our aging Florida seniors have the support they need.

Now in regard to your aging mother, it is important to know that you both can reach out to a qualified Florida elder law attorney who can help your aging mother. Your attorney knows the cost structure of nursing home care and can help your mother protect her lifetime of savings from being completely used up by the cost of care, either in a nursing home or at home.

We would like to share and discuss three ways to prevent your mother and other aging Florida seniors from losing their life savings to a nursing home.

1. Start Planning Now. By planning now, Florida seniors can preserve their life savings while planning for the future well in advance of when those plans need to be put into action. Start by meeting with a qualified Florida elder law attorney to begin long-term care planning.

2. Be Up-To-Date On the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid. Were you and your aging mother planning for Medicare to cover the cost of a nursing home? Unfortunately, Medicare usually only covers 100 days of nursing home care. If your mother, as a Florida senior, qualifies for Medicaid, then the Medicaid program in Florida will take over when Medicare benefits are no longer enough. Be aware that Medicaid will cover nursing home costs for qualified Florida seniors for as long as they need it. However, there is a caveat. Medicaid rules will require Florida seniors to spend down most of their life savings prior to qualifying for the program. Also, Medicaid will look back over the past 5 years and see what was held in assets, and what the income and expenses were during this time period. A qualified Florida elder law attorney can assist you and your mother with all this planning.

3. It Is Critical That Planning Should Always Be 5 Years Ahead. As stated above in number two, Florida Medicaid has a look back period of 5 years. A qualified Florida elder law attorney can help you and your aging mother plan around this 5-year “lookback” rule to protect your mother’s life savings. Your attorney may decide the best way to do this is to be sure that your mother’s assets are transferred out of her estate prior to the 60 months before she may need nursing home care. Since the need for this care may be on the horizon, it may be best to start planning early. Your attorney can work with you to determine the best approach for you and your aging mother.

Planning for the care of your mother in the future is critical to ensure that her goals for nursing home care are met. We know this article may raise more questions that it answers. We do telephone, computer, and face-to-face appointments. Our face-to-face appointments are held outside in the open air (frequently selected by clients for document signing) and inside our office conference room. We follow all CDC guidelines. Our office procedures adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols and are designed and enhanced by medical review and air quality engineering.