Nursing Home Care Often Unavoidable 

By Wesley E. Wright and Molly Dear Abshire, as published in the Houston Chronicle Senior Living Section on July 16, 2014

When the wife of country music legend Glen Campbell followed advice from her husband's doctors to admit him into a long-term care facility, Campbell's eldest daughter publicly criticized the move saying she wanted her father to remain home and claimed that her father wanted to leave the facility.

The 78-year-old Campbell is suffering from Alzheimer's disease and his wife of 30 years, Kim Woolen, defended her decision to move him to a nursing home specializing in Alzheimer's care.  "It is crushingly sad to see him afflicted with Alzheimer's," Woolen told the Associated Press, "but indulging those feelings does not help him."

Caring for a person with dementia takes a tremendous mental and physical toll on the caregiver.  Various symptoms of the disease include memory loss, mood swings, agitation and aggression, personality changes, hallucinations and frequent falling.  Constant supervision is required to prevent disastrous consequences of these symptoms.   Numerous other illnesses in older adults require just as much care and supervision as those afflicted by dementia.

An exhausted caregiver may not realize how tired she is, possibly leading to an injurious accident.  When the level of care a person needs surpasses what may be provided at home, it's time to consider a long-term care environment.

Communication between family members about this issue is important, though it's not always possible.   It is not always necessary for the primary caregiver to obtain the consent of other family members before admitting a loved one to a nursing facility.  When challenging family dynamics exist, seeking advice from an experienced elder law attorney may help.

Not only are elder law attorneys knowledgeable about how to handle differing family attitudes, they can advise families of available sources of long-term care funding, when to apply for public benefits, as well as how to choose the best nursing facility for a loved one.  Although advanced planning is best, when a family member needs emergency admittance into a nursing home an experienced Medicaid planning attorney can assist with applying for Medicaid coverage, even if he or she has been previously denied.

At an average of $5,000 per month in Texas, it may seem impossible to pay for the costs of long-term care and still preserve any assets, such as the home.  This should not delay or prevent you from seeking medically necessary institutional care for your loved one.  There are many legal methods to help you protect assets and income when seeking Medicaid eligibility.

If you are a caregiver contemplating whether to move your loved one from home, into long-term care and are facing resistance from a relative, or if you're uncertain of how to cover the costs, it's best to get expert advice from a reputable elder lawyer about your options.  At this stressful time, experience matters.