I am scared to death she'll have to go somewhere awful. What do I do?

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You can research NH in your area that take medicaide which the NH has to apply for-all NH take medicaide otherwise they usually would not get paid for the 450 dollars or more a day they charge-it is best to find one near where you live.
Helpful Answer (1)

Are you certain that the facility she is going to now does not accept Medicaid? Some do, but only for residents that have been private pay for a certain length of time?

How long will your mother's money last at the board and care place? That is the length of time you have to apply for Medicaid and find another facility. Don't panic, but start researching your options. Besides running out of money, another reason to need to leave is a change for worse in her health. So it pays to be prepared and to be familiar with what is available in the surrounding area. But if her money is going to last, say, five years, then only a high-level look makes sense right now. Do the nitty-gritty detailed evaluations closer to need. Things can change in five years.

It sounds like you are worried about the quality of care that will be available using Medicaid. Quality care is a big issue and one you'll have to deal with if/when Mom needs to move. I don't think that you should assume that all places that accept Medicaid are automatically worse than places that accept only private pay. I think that there are still some awful places out there, and it will be your goal to avoid them. But there are also very suitable choices.

Your mother is in the good company of many of us (I'd guess most) who worked hard, paid our taxes, maybe established a pension, assumed social security would be there for us, but who won't have enough funds to support us through our long old age. Our longer life spans impact this in two ways: It takes more money -- a lot more money -- to support ourselves for 30 years past retirement than it took past generations to do for 10 or 15 years. And living longer means there are many medical problems we may face, all of them very expensive. Your mother may run out of money before she runs out of years, and so will many of her peers. There is an increasing need for quality care for the elderly. We have to hope our public policies will support that.
Helpful Answer (3)

I can only echo what Jeanne said.
If they live long enough, they will run out of $$ unless they are generational high net worth individuals. And those types likely aren't on this site. LOL.

It is great that you are starting to look into options now. My suggestion is to do a very realistic evaluation of where your mom's finances are - figure out what her assets and income are, what she has in insurance both life & health, how her health care gets paid (if just Medicare & which prescription payment program she is on), if she has a secondary insurer and how that premium gets paid. If she had a home, car or other assets - what the costs are to realistically maintain it and what it could be sold for it need be.

Then have a realistic talk with the board & care home, to see what they anticipate as costs that are above her basic room & board. Most places put a gloss on costs & often there r surprises that have to be paid & you signed off to be responsible.

What I've found is that while they are at home, their health care costs tend to be containable or not much of an issue to co-pay as they determine whether they go to the MD or dentist or do a refill. They have their whole SS check to pay for whatever. BUT once they are in a facility, that is done by others and the costs rise exponentially. They and their family are faced with huge copay costs that no one imagined or factored into the decision on which facility. For example, say your mom did her own nails...maybe she trimmed them herself or got them done twice a year by the pedi lady at the beauty shop. Cost $ 50 annual. Now that she is in a facility, this gets done every month or other month by a podiatrist or other health care personnel - the cost is partially paid by Medicare but not all - she or you are faced with paying that part which could run hundreds of $ a year - and your mom & you have no choice to opt out of doing this. So what cost her $ 50 a year is now $ 300 a yr. Now when she was at home there was no therapy, but now that she is in a facility she has OT or PT twice a week that has a co-pay of $ 20 a session/ $ 160 a month that now needs to be paid by somebody. If there are chronic issues with expensive medications, the pharmacy co-pay costs can be huge.

Unless you have the $, then you will at some point need to look at Medicaid to pay for her facility and health expenses. There are some horror stories out there and some very good facilities that take Medicaid. You should go and visit several, some will accept "Medicaid pending" and others do not and you will have to pay for the period of time before she gets accepted into Medicaid.

Look to find one w/a "tiered" approach to care, so she will not have to move when her condition gets worse or she goes onto hospice if she chooses that route.

My mom's is on Medicaid and the health care staffing is very good at her NH - it is just a NH with a rehab unit and does NO assisted living. The medical director is a gerontologist on staff with the medical school and so there is a teaching component with the NH. So there are 3rd & 4th yr med students and residents doing their clinical @ the NH. This is fine with me. They also have a gerontology nurse practitioner who is at the NH every other day who seems to mainly be about monitoring the residents the MD has on a watch list. The NH visually is nothing special, very plain no frills but it is a NH and not a spa. The therapy room is pretty great with extra lighting and very organized with equipment. You just have to go and see a few and really look about. Ask to see what the staffing ratio's are, look at your states NH ratings to see what's what.

You can always move her from one facility to another if need be too. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (2)

Visit as many in your area as you can and you will learn quickly which are the better one and it depends what her needs are=a nice dining room or activities like gardening or movies will not matter if she is bedridden.
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