“Like millions of boomers, I chose not to marry or have children. But I don’t think that we unmarried boomers fully realize that there’s a lot more to worry about now than just long term care for our geriatric parents.”
We find that clients rely upon us for more than traditional legal advice. We help clients and families put together the “aging puzzle” with its many ill-fitting pieces. . . In fact, the legal advice we provide may be the least complicated piece of the client’s aging puzzle.
“No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years. No longer will young families see their own incomes, and their own hopes, eaten away simply because they are carrying out their deep moral obligations to their parents, and to their uncles and their aunts. And no longer will this nation refuse the hand of justice to those who have given a lifetime of service and wisdom and labor to the progress of this progressive country.”Providing for seniors marked a major shift in our societal view of who should carry the cost of providing medical care for senior citizens. The world was different in 1965. I was 15 years old and I remember most of the aged poor of our community went to the county home for the aged and infirm. Most men died before the age of 65, and women before the age of 70. There were few long-term care facilities, because few were needed. Today we have millions of people with long-term care needs. Medicare was built on a 1965 acute care model, designed to provide healthcare for the individual who has a probability of recovering from his or her disease. Medicare is not designed to pay for long-term care. Medicare was designed to ‘care’ about acute medical care; heart disease, gall stones or cancer. Medicare does not ‘care’ about diagnoses such as Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, or long-term mobility problems. If you need long-term care, then you have lost the “diagnosis lottery”. You are lucky if you are given a diagnosis that has a Medicare reimbursement code. However, if you need care in an assisted living facility or a nursing home, your care is not acute but long-term, and Medicare stops ‘caring’ about you. As soon as Medicare stops ‘caring’, you are on your own! You will need to have a substantial long-term care insurance plan, a deep pocket-book, or become impoverished. If you are impoverished as defined by the Medicaid program, then you will meet Medicare’s ugly sister, Medicaid. And that is a whole other story.