“My Mom Has Parkinson’s, How Do VA Benefits Work?”

“My Mom Has Parkinson’s, How Do VA Benefits Work?”

VA BenefitsMy seatmate flying up to Seattle shared that his mom can no longer prepare her own meals. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about one year ago. She is currently living in Washington State and can no longer drive. The local family needs to bring her meals to sustain her.

Is it fair to rely on your family to keep you at home?

The mom refused to move to California to live with one of her sons. He specifically bought a home with a “mother-in-law apartment” for her. But she did not want to leave her home or local friends.

Another adult child comes monthly to take her to doctor appointments. My seatmate, her son, visits her about every six months because he lives 1000 miles away.

The family is getting together from all over the country to celebrate her milestone birthday. They are going to discuss future care options, because she is not safe living alone.

I suggested he read my new book to help him with his dilemma.   He learned that the assisted living community under consideration is about $5,000 a month. He didn’t know that transitioning to skilled nursing care at some point could cost the family around $90,000 a year on a national basis. The family figured all the children could chip in to support mom to live in a higher level of care. So they want to check out her possible VA Benefits as the spouse of a deceased Veteran. So I shared with him that for VA Benefits to begin, three keys need to happen:

  1. The mom needs to spend down her assets.
  2. She will require a certain amount of care dictated by the VA. (These are called ADLS or activities of daily living. Such care includes: bathing, dressing, three meals a day, transportation assistance, medication management and etc.)
  3. She or her spouse will have needed to serve during one day of active war.

A Veteran gets about $2,000 a month and a spouse gets approximately half of that. The paperwork is complicated, so it is best to have someone who specializes in VA Benefits fill out the paperwork.

His mom still has a house to sell. Some assisted living communities who offer Medicaid require a senior to private pay for a year or two before needing Medicaid. So I suggested the family plan ahead now while she still has a house to sell. Then when she runs out of money, she could be at a community that will transition her onto Medicaid.

Some states like California do not offer Medicaid assistance to those needing assisted living. It is important to plan ahead now.

Any other suggestions for this family? What have you experienced? For more information on VA Benefits go to: http://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/ Photo credit: http://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/

Your Senior Housing Options,” has a simplistic title, but what’s inside this new book can save a you months of research time.  Hear Diane Masson’s interview of how her mother and in-law’s faced the pivotal decision to plan ahead or wait until a crisis.  Learn the pitfalls from transitioning from your home to senior housing.  Understand what questions to ask, insider tips and dirty secrets revealed.  The decision to stay home requires caregivers.  Prevent elder abuse by determining if a home care agency is reputable, before they move into your home.  You are just not looking for today’s needs, but for your future care.  Discover key differences between rental facilities vs Continuing Care Retirement Communities.  Do you have enough financial resources if you need to be in a higher level of care for an extended period of time?  For weekly tips join at: Www.Tips2Seniors.com 

Diane Masson has worked in senior housing for 17 years and is the regional marketing director for two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern CA (Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet).  Her first book “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” is being utilized by senior housing professionals across the country.  Both her first book and second book, “Your Senior Housing Options,” have a 5-star rating on Amazon.com.

1 Comment

  1. We have found an attorney that specializes in VA paperwork. There is a bit of a fee associated with this, but for our clients, 100% have been approved and generally have their money within about 90-120 days. We think this is worth it.