Are you ready? That is a loaded question. Ready for what? What happens if a loved one needs long term medical care, and how will you pay for it? Recently I have learned more about Medicaid, and what happens when a loved one needs Medicaid to cover their needed medical expenses. I had a vague idea working around the mortuary, but I really knew very little of the emotion and concern that accompanies the reality of it.
There is a website that says there are two kinds of Medicaid planning the first, and most frequently used, is the crisis planning. This is at a time when your loved one needs Medicaid’s assistance and you are forced to look at what is now possible. The other is pre-planned which will give peace of mind knowing that everything is in order and your posterity will have the maximum benefit from your carefully savings plan.
It varies from state to state what the exact rules are, but mostly it is that the person on Medicaid can only have $2000.00 dollars in assets. This includes houses, cars, insurances and bank accounts. For the exact rules for the state of Utah see the Medicaid Nursing Home Information pdf link below. There are some exemptions for spouse and dependents. Even though the state of Utah will not consider the home an asset that will limit your ability to receive Medicaid if your spouse is still living, when you sign for assistance a lien is placed on your loved ones home to be paid after your loved one passes away. An attorney specializing in elderly law should be consulted to know what is best for you.
There is a five year look back to ascertain what the person’s assets include, and during that five year period if you have gifted or sold the assets for less than they are worth in market value to your children, this may make you ineligible for Medicaid assistance. That is why it is important not to panic, but find some real help.
One way we can be of service is through an irrevocable pre-paid funeral plan. Medicaid exempts these type of plans when calculating the assets. It can give you peace of mind that your final arrangements will not be left to your children to pay, and it is less stressful because your children already know what your wishes are. We have a Family service agent that can help by coming to your home, or you can come to the mortuary. Please see the Pre-Planning section of our website.
In this section the steps are the same for you as well as for your child. It is easier to complete them for yourself, and then guide your child through the steps. Now that you have reviewed the relationship and took note of your feelings, there are actions to be made. Some memories will bring feelings of wishing you had done something different or better, or in other words, you feel sorry for your actions or inactions. Some memories will bring feelings that you wish someone else had done something better or different. These memories may make you mad or sad for the actions or inactions of others. Some memories will have strong emotional values. Such as, “I loved spending time with him/her,” “I felt safe when I was with him/her” or “I could always count on him/her.” Last of all, but also the best, is the fond memories. You know the fun stories that get told over and over again. These are important too.
Let’s look at the first set of memories--the things you did or did not do that you wish you could change. When the person has passed away, a direct apology cannot be made, but for your peace of mind the apology still needs to be made. Find someone you trust and let them hear your apology. This will help you complete your part of the relationship. It can be simple as, “I am sorry for not visiting you as often as I should have,” or as detailed as you need, but it must be sincere, and another person needs to be present.
This next category is the hardest. For the memories where you were hurt or offended by another you have to forgive the person who offended you. If you don’t forgive them, that negative energy will stay in you. Just like with the apology, the expression of, "I forgive you for…," should be sincere and to another person. It may have to be done more than once. There may be multiple levels of forgiveness. You may not allow yourself a complete forgiveness at first, so you may have to repeat until it is finally let go.
The third category is important in defining in your mind the relationship. What was the quality? What significant emotions define your relationship? These should be stated.
The last category--the memories we cherish are nice to keep around and help us to look for new memories to share with others.
All of these categories should be complied in a letter written to the person who has passed away and read out loud to someone you trust. Make sure at the end of the letter to say good bye to your loved one. P.S. notes can be added later if you remember more about the relationship you wish to express. Again, end with saying goodbye to your loved one.
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American Fork Chapel
49 East 100 North
American Fork, UT 84003
Lone Peak Chapel
6141 West 11000 North
Highland, UT 84003