Paying for Senior Living: Legal Considerations


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For those planning on making the move to an assisted living community, how to pay for the necessary care is often their biggest concern. Fortunately, it pays to understand the legal resources available to seniors who require assisted living and long-term care.

Ruth Cantillon, Director of Sales and Marketing at Osprey Lodge in Tavares, FL, says, “Many of those trying to pay for senior living are unaware of the systems in place to help seniors afford the lifestyle of care they need to stay well. At Osprey Lodge, we do our best to connect seniors to these valuable resources.”

There are many legal options to consider when planning for senior living, including government programs such as Medicaid and elder law services. If you or a loved one require assisted living or long-term care, the right resources can make your move much more affordable.

Government Assistance for Senior Living

While Medicare and health insurance can be extremely helpful when paying for a variety of medical services, they do not typically cover long-term care. However, the government can still offer assistance through federal and state-funded programs.

Medicaid provides coverage on several services that Medicare does not, such as assisted living. Eligibility for Medicaid varies slightly from state to state, but for seniors, they must meet the financial and functional health requirements (mainly needing assistance with daily living activities). Medicaid is typically for those with very low incomes and few assets. Although, if you don’t meet the financial requirements, you may still be eligible for Medicaid as someone who is “medically needy,” a person whose income meets the required level after medical expenses are subtracted.

Another program in place for senior assistance is the VA Aid and Attendance pension. This gives qualifying veterans and their spouses financial assistance to pay for long-term care services, from in-home care to assisted living and skilled nursing care. To qualify, veterans must have served at least 90 days of active duty during a period of war and must require professional assistance with activities of daily living. You can read more about Aid and Attendance in our recent article.

Legal & Financial Plans to Protect Your Assets

In addition to government assistance programs, you can help make assisted living more affordable by planning ahead. Several options exist to help seniors utilize their assets to pay for assisted living:

  • Long-Term Care Insurance – Purchasing long-term care insurance may be the best way to make sure care services are paid for when you need it. Unlike regular health insurance, these policies cover the costs of care in an independent living, assisted living or skilled nursing community as well as home care. Long-term care insurance should be bought when you are younger and relatively healthy. Those in poor health or already receiving long-term care may not qualify for this kind of insurance.
  • Annuities – You can also pay for senior living by entering into an annuity contract with your insurance company, which takes a lump sum or premium you pay and distributes guaranteed monthly income payments over time. Unlike long-term care insurance, you can purchase an annuity regardless of your health. There are different kinds of annuities, and payments depend on several factors, such as the initial premium and your age.
  • Trusts – A trust is a legal, written agreement that designates someone to manage your property and gives instructions for what to do with it after your death. However, there is a specific trust that allows you to use your assets during your lifetime to pay for care. A charitable remainder trust allows you to use your assets to pay for long-term care while donating (tax-free) to a charity of your choice. After your death, the remainder of the trust goes directly to your chosen charity.

These are just a few of the legal and financial options available to seniors today. When planning for senior living, it’s important to talk to a financial advisor about the best ways to utilize your assets in your personal situation. In the meantime, online resources such as NIHSeniorHealth.gov and LongTermCare.gov can help you narrow down the options that might be best for you.

Connecting Seniors to the Knowledge They Need

“At Osprey Lodge, we’re proud to be a trusted resource of information for seniors and their families,” shares Cantillon. “We strive to help seniors make the best decisions for their individual needs. If that involves connecting them to other resources, we have a wide network of community partners who specialize in elder law services, financial planning and other senior living issues.

“Our community offers a full schedule of educational events for seniors and family caregivers on a variety of topics. Our events are always free and provide valuable information and connections to experts in the area. Keep in touch to learn about the special community events we offer!”

Come Flourish at Osprey Lodge!

Located on the banks of Lake Frances, Osprey Lodge offers Assisted Living and Memory Care services within the rustic warmth of a Colorado lodge in the rolling hills of central Florida. We provide an environment of socialization and volunteerism, as well as dependable health care services that promote independence, self-direction, social connections and daily purpose.

The Lodge lifestyle is a unique approach to senior living. While aging does come with challenges, our culture of connections creates an environment for residents to find daily purpose and joy. Here, residents don’t lose their independence. Instead, they receive countless avenues for which to connect with others through social activities or volunteer opportunities. We believe that everyone has something to contribute to their community, and we consider it our mission to help residents find what they can give – their skills, talents, company and enthusiasm.

Residents in our Assisted Living community and Memory Care program experience personalized, comprehensive healthcare services from dedicated, experienced professionals and staff. Each resident works with us to create their own Personal Care Plan, designed specifically for them to enjoy optimal independence while receiving the quality care they require.

We invite you to learn more about the fulfilling lifestyle and serves available at Osprey Lodge. Contact us today!