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Houston Elder Law Blog

Does Nursing Home Living Mean Living In Poverty?

A new bill introduced by a Texas House member demonstrates just how real the threat of living in poverty in a nursing home is. 

Currently, nursing home residents on Medicaid are entitled to a personal living allowance of merely $60 a month. This is money that a resident has to spend on anything from toiletries to snacks to gifts for grandchildren. Obviously, $60 does not go very far these days. According to an article from Dallas News, the bill asks for an increase. It would be the first increase in over a decade. Unfortunately, it would only be an increase to $75.

Is Alzheimer's Prevention A Possibility?

Despite Alzheimer's being a serious problem, up until now much of the medical efforts have been toward treating the condition. Unfortunately, while some medications may address some of the symptoms of the disease, none have proven effective in slowing its progression. Now, according to an article from Newsweek, some researchers have shifted their focus from treating the disease to preventing it.

How Much Do Texas Nursing Homes Cost?

There is one detail that is absolutely necessary for proper nursing home planning, and that is the actual cost of staying in a nursing home. Unfortunately, this is both a high cost and a frequently underestimated cost. Thankfully, there is data available that comes in handy when planning for a future in a nursing home.

How to choose a nursing home for your parent with Alzheimer's

We know all too well that Alzheimer's is a disease that progresses to the point that the person suffering from it will no longer be able to live their life independently. They will need special care around the clock. Because patients lose their memory and cognitive ability at different rates, their care needs may change slowly or quickly. And because it can be hard to predict at what point they will need a certain type of care, choosing a nursing home that is capable of handling all stages of the disease is crucial to the wellbeing of your parent who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Choosing a good place for your mother or father can also help put your own worries at ease. It can be heartbreaking enough knowing there will be a point when your parent may not be able to recognize you, so you want them to always feel like they are in good hands, regardless of whether the people who are caring for them are recognizable or not.

Will Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Expenses?

Many people in need of nursing home care simply do not apply for Medicaid because they think they are ineligible. They think that Medicaid is only for poor people and they do not understand that Medicaid may actually provide them with coverage.

Many more people apply for Medicaid to cover nursing home care and get denied on their first attempt. Instead of trying again and appealing the denial, they simply give up and take it for granted that they are not eligible. In reality, they may be able to appeal successfully.

5 Warning Signs Of Alzheimer's

There is a misconception that Alzheimer's is untreatable. While a cure has not yet been developed, there are medications and other treatment strategies that may help a person stay independent for a while longer and relieve some of the symptoms of the disease. The sooner you recognize the warning signs, the sooner you can get treatment and take steps to protect yourself or your loved one.

Here are some of the signs to watch for:

Estate proceedings can be more complex without a will

When people die without a will in Houston or Harris County, then heirs typically have to go through the probate process before an estate can be settled. The absence of a will can make the entire process more difficult and lengthy.

One way that the probate process in Harris County is more difficult without a will than with one is that work has to be done to locate all possible heirs. Even after heirs have been identified and listed, the court assumes that there is a possibility that unknown heirs might exist. It will appoint an attorney to represent those heirs, but the person applying for probate must request that an attorney ad litem be appointed for this purpose.

What are veteran burial benefits?

If you are a veteran, you might have rights to burial benefits. Those benefits can help reduce the cost of funeral and burial arrangements for your family, and you'll want to know about them so you can include them in any estate or funeral planning you do.

The benefits do depend in part on your type and length of service, but many veterans qualify for covered burial in one of the national cemeteries. There are 134 such cemeteries across the nation. In addition to the opening and closing of the grave following a funeral and graveside service, the benefits include a marker, a flag for burial and perpetual care for the gravesite. Your family also receives a memorial certificate.

What you don't know about Medicaid can hurt your loved one

Medicaid is health insurance for someone who simply can't afford it any other way, right? While Medicaid does provide health care coverage for individuals who meet certain financial guidelines, this definition is an oversimplification and a misunderstanding of Medicaid in many cases. Understanding Medicaid, and your loved one's options regarding Medicaid, can make a big difference in how you look at end-of-life care in Texas.

When you are involved in estate and care planning, one of the questions you should ask is "How am I going to afford life in later years?" Even if you've saved for years for retirement and have what you would consider a stable nest egg, your finances might not last as long as you think they will if health costs go up or you are hit with an unplanned illness. Thinking now about options such as Medicaid can help you have a plan in place to take care of yourself without overly burdening those you love.

When family care givers live far away

One way many families provide enjoyable end-of-life years for loved ones is by providing in-family care giving. This means that when someone reaches an age and physical capability level where they are no longer able to take care of themselves, family members might move that person into their home. They might also live near the person, so they can check in on him or her on a regular basis.

But what happens if you, the family care giver, live a good distance from your loved one? If he or she is not ready to enter a nursing home or assisted living facility, but does require some help with daily living activities, what can you do?

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