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A family member (my wife) has advance-level Alzheimer's disease. We have tried two care homes, but she becomes aggressive/combative when we leave her there. She needs to be hospitalized. She is still 63 and cannot qualify for Medicare. I am retired and my small pension is the only family financial resource.
What financial assistance/resource can be available to us for her care (hospitalization)?

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The following is not to be considered legal or financial advice. It is offered only for educational purposes from sources available to the general public.

First, you might want to consider applying for your wife's Social Security retirement benefit. She will lose 20% of her maximum benefit but it appears this may appreciably help with family finances. Social Security Disability may not be helpful because there is a two year wait after benefit approval to receive Medicare. By that time she will already be 65 and otherwise eligible (presumably).

Second, if you or she are not a veteran, the only public benefit for long-term care will be Medicaid (Medi-Cal in your state). If your financial circumstances are such that she qualifies financially you do not necessarily need an attorney to apply. You do, however, want to make sure that your estate planning documents, e.g., Wills, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Surrogacy, etc. are up to date...you want to make sure you have the power to make decisions for her when she is unable to so for herself and that she is not the beneficiary of any resources that may disqualify her from Medi-Cal if she were receiving benefits and you were to predecease her. You do not necessarily need an expensive elder law attorney to prepare or amend these documents – I’m sure there are plenty of local attorneys that provide such estate planning services at very reasonable fees (though I would never discourage you or anyone from consulting an elder law attorney).

The other advantage to applying early for her Social Security retirement benefit is that if she is placed in a nursing home environment under Medi-Cal you will receive a portion of her Social Security benefit under "Spousal Impoverishment" rules. (In CA the Community Spouse - the spouse not receiving Medi-Cal – may, in 2015, retain a minimum of $1.966.25 of the couple's combined income).

In addition to nursing home coverage, Medi-Cal provides home and community based services that may help with home care and assisted living expenses.

The best place to begin your search for all programs that may be of assistance is your local Area Agency on Aging. Every county in the U.S. has one and they act as "clearing house" for all programs, state and federal, that may be available to your wife. They will be of tremendous help. Do an internet search for the agency in your county.
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The only elder care lawyer in our area was the king of rip-off. He wanted $1000 just to assess the situation and he wouldn't agree to give me any specific information unless I agreed to pay him for future visits! I hate all of this.
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Have you applied for Medicaid on her behalf? Are you working with an experienced neurologist who can prescribe medications to counteract her aggressive behaviors?
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If you have not already done so, please consult with an Elder Law attorney. They can help you with qualifying for Medicaid, getting the appropriate paperwork in order and more. I have not found them to be expensive - in fact, the one we used refused to charge us to complete the Medicaid paperwork and just showed us how to do it ourselves. There are some medications which can help with aggressive behavior. Many/most people with dementia will exhibit some of those behaviors from time to time and good care facilities can often handle those.
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Contact one in another town. It could be well worth the drive. Your local council on aging, Alzheimer's Association, nursing facilities, etc. could likely provide contact information for someone other than the attorney you mentioned.
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You can try Alzheimer's Adult Day Services Program (AADSP) for low income
people. I use for my husband, it cost about $30.00 a day, depends of your income,
it could be less.
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Oh how terrible for you-I'm so sorry you are going through that. Your only option is having a competent doctor get her on the right combination of psychiatric drugs to control her aggressive behavior; otherwise, she will continue to be rejected by facilities. If you got her in a nursing home, you most likely already have her on Medicaid. If not you need to get her on that.
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Yes, you must see and elder lawyer immediately.
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Yes, she can apply for Medicare. Talk to your doctor and call Social Security Office.
My husband got his disability insurance and Medicare when he was 62 years old
- 3 year ago. Good luck!
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Getting to a competent elder law attorney should be your first priority. Get recommendations. Also contact your county's office for aging.
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