Modifying Your House for Elder Care
Caring for parents in their own home or a child’s home is a choice many families contemplate. With the various programs available for Connecticut residents and for veterans, outside help is available if needed and if proper planning is done to qualify for those programs.
One aspect that immediately confronts most people is the physical layout and characteristics of the house. Is there an extra bedroom for a 24 hour caretaker? Is the bathroom door wide enough for a wheelchair? Are there handholds? Is the bathroom on the first floor? Is the tub accessible by someone who has bad legs and poor balance? Is the washer/dryer in the basement and therefore a risk for falls? Are old rugs bunching up that could cause a trip? That is a fast way to end up in a nursing home.
A social worker or geriatric care manager can help assess these needs and suggest solutions. It may be as simple as putting a wheelchair ramp onto the house. Or it may be a bigger project such as adding a room. There are even companies that can add modular rooms. Such pre-manufactured modules can be attached to, and aesthetically blended into the décor of most homes, and when coupled with homecare, can provide a relatively low cost alternative to nursing homes or other institutions. For one such option, visit a website, www.palsbuilt.com, which stands for practical assisted living structures.
If negotiating stairs is a problem, a stair glide might be the solution. Making the home safe and livable for a parent with disabilities can also dovetail with the need to spend down assets to qualify for veteran’s aid and attendance (a couple can get up to $1,949 per month) and Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders (up to $5,680 per month). For example, if parents have $100,000 of assets, and need to spend down half to qualify for Medicaid at home, and if they need a bathroom on the first floor, the cost to do that is a legitimate expense for the spend down. So are repairs, such as a new roof, or furnace, or new windows or siding. The main idea is to take care of needed repairs, as part of necessary spend down, so that there won’t be a need for repairs in the future.
Careful planning for safety and eligibility for homecare can make all the difference in successfully staying at home, or being forced to an institution. Get competent advice from an elder law attorney on how to wind your way through the maze of rules and regulations regarding homecare. It’s the best way to give back some of that love and caring your parents gave to you.