No One Wants to Check In to a Nursing Home

Our firm has been handling Elder Law cases, and obtaining Medicaid benefits for seniors for years. The one thing that we hear most consistently is that no one wants to go to a nursing home. Perhaps it is because the doors seems to swing one way only. Perhaps it is because they have some early life vision of nursing homes as some old burnt out motel with an overweight fellow in white scrubs napping in the front office while buzzers go off all around. Whatever the reason, most people who do not want to go to nursing homes have never actually been in one.

There are plenty of people with agendas to sell something who perpetuate the myth that nursing home are aweful places to wind up. They usually want to sell some more dignified, less restrictive, form of residential care. What they do not tell you is that in most instances there is no public funding source, no government entitlement program that will pay for that less restrictive form of care. What they also do not tell you is that nursing home personel love the people they call, “walkie talkies.” These are the people who go to the service, get on the bus, show up for game night, work in the garden, and sing in the choir. They are the people who know that needing care to survive does not have to equate to doing nothing other than surviving.

To be sure there are many good points to elder care provided in non-instutional settings. But, the one thing that should not be forgotten is that your family, the people you expected to be left better off upon your passing, are actually the people who are paying the bill. This payment is either direct out of their pocket, or indirect by foregoing what you would, could, or might have left them. Medicaid benefits for Disabled and Elderly citizens provide comprehenisve care for those in need. With average nursing home bills in the 4000 to 7000 range per month, it is difficult to imagine a situation where the average family can afford these expenses. Anyone facing a transition from living at home to living anywhere else due to advanced age or disability should find out about their Medicaid Benefits as soon as possible.

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