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Both of my grandmothers have recently entered long term care facilities. One grandmother scrimped and saved all of her life, the other grandmother spent it as fast as she could get it. As a result of this the grandmother that scrimped and saved now has a couple hundred thousand dollars (she *should* have had a lot more - but that's another story). The spend-thrift grandmother has a few thousand dollars to her name.

So the question is, who is better off, the grandmother who saved or the one that spent? Well, it turns out that they are in exactly the same situation. In fact, if they could stand each other my parents would probably have put them in exactly the same nursing home. The only difference is that the one with the money will pay for herself until she either runs out of money or dies and the one without the money will taken care of by the state.

This whole experience has taught me the lessen that I should either spend or give away all of my money before I am too old to take care of myself.

Am I missing something or am I just too cynical (or both)?
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Hello jefferycollins!

You wrote in part:

So the question is, who is better off, the grandmother who saved or the one that spent? Well, it turns out that they are in exactly the same situation. In fact, if they could stand each other my parents would probably have put them in exactly the same nursing home. The only difference is that the one with the money will pay for herself until she either runs out of money or dies and the one without the money will taken care of by the state.

This whole experience has taught me the lessen that I should either spend or give away all of my money before I am too old to take care of myself.

Am I missing something or am I just too cynical (or both)?


They may not be in exactly the same situation. You are probably aware that there is a wide difference in the quality of Nursing Homes. Many homes require that a person be able to pay as a privately paying patient for sometime before they will even admit them. Some also, while offering Medicaid beds, limit that to a few beds - and sometimes (illegally) in a shoddier part of the facility with more minimal care.

There is another consideration as well, at least for me. There is a certain pride in being able to pay my own way and not be on welfare - which is what Medicaid is. I know the frustration and cynicism you have. Why should the worker bees do all of the paying while the grasshoppers and drones get all the benefits? Maybe someday that can be changed, but it isn't likely to happen if we all try to get on the government gravy train. If we go that route, the taxes will just keep going up and we won't any of us have anything to spend at any time in our lives!

Just some food for thought.

Gemstarman.

P.S. I work as a Chaplain in a non-profit nursing home that is about the only home in our area which will accept a Medicaid resident as a new admission - and we usually have a 3-6 month waiting list.
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<<who is better off, the grandmother who saved or the one that spent? Well, it turns out that they are in exactly the same situation. In fact, if they could stand each other my parents would probably have put them in exactly the same nursing home. ..Am I missing something or am I just too cynical (or both)?>>

I'm not a fan of longterm care insurance myself, but I do want to be certain that the little old ladies' home where I park my bones will still want me when my money is gone. One thing you have to watch out for is whether the nursing home of your choice takes Title 19 (Medicaid). You could use up your equity in a nursing home that would turn you out on the street when your private bucks are gone. Then you won't have any private-pay money to endear you to the next nursing home.
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Thanks for the excellent food for thought in this thread. And Jeffery, you're not cynical to question this seeming inequity.

There is one caveat, though, for anyone planning to give away their assets before going into a nursing home, in order to qualify for Medicaid. I believe the government has a "look back period" of perhaps three years. This means that if you've given away any assets in the three years prior to applying for Medicaid, these assets will be counted toward your Medicaid eligibility, and probably disqualify you.

Since none of us know exactly when we will fall apart, I'd say the government has done a pretty good job of closing this loophole.

Gail Buckles
Montgomery Village, Maryland
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Jeffery,

Your approach to longterm care is refreshing. I don't
know if you are truly cynical; realistic might be a better word. I'm a widow with fairly good financial
resources, and I am not buying long term care and I am
going to spend as much as I can, leaving something to bribe my kids to take care of me if and when I need
help that I can no longer afford. My mother is 93
and living in a retirement community where she has
full care benefits should she need them. I may follow
in her footsteps and do the same when I get tired of
travelling, skiing, scuba diving, etc. and want to
settle down to a more quiet, contemplative life.


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Hi Jeff:

You wrote:

<<<<This whole experience has taught me the lessen that I should either spend or give away all of my money before I am too old to take care of myself.

Am I missing something or am I just too cynical (or both)?>>>>

I am not a fan of Long Term Health Care, being self insurred, however I have also made provisions in my plans to place myself and my wife in just a few years in a Retirement community that provides full meals and total living care for as long as we are around. I guess that is another kind of Long Term Healt Care, but at least to me, it has no resemblence to an insurance policy, or what results therefrom.

If you want to see what you are missing in your proposed plan, I suggest you visit at least three nursing homes that provide Medicade services to folks who have spent their last dime. If you can stand what you see, and realize that this will happen to you, then by all means, spend it all and have a ball. I think that seeing the people in the Medicaid wing lying in beds that haven't been changed in the last 34 hours, with open sores that won't heal, in a stench that nauseats even the attendants that have worked around it for years, will help you with your spending plan. It may also cause you to rethink your plan.

The Nerdifool


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NerdiFool writes in part:

<<If you want to see what you are missing in your proposed plan, I suggest you visit at least three nursing homes that provide Medicade services to folks who have spent their last dime. If you can stand what you see, and realize that this will happen to you, then by all means, spend it all and have a ball. I think that seeing the people in the Medicaid wing lying in beds that haven't been changed in the last 34 hours, with open sores that won't heal, in a stench that nauseats even the attendants that have worked around it for years, will help you with your spending plan. It may also cause you to rethink your plan.>>

In too many parts of the country, what you write is a sad but true situation. Aside from the personal moral issue I had with using a welfare program when other assets were available, I wanted to ensure my mom was as comfortable as she could be for as long as possible. With Medicaid, there really is no choice of facilties. You go where the State puts you, and the care leaves much to be desired in far too many instances.

Regards..Pixy
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Jeffery:

I am dealing with a similar problem with my mother & mother in law. One is moving from a condo to a Retirement Community that provides long term care as part of the entrance fee.

She's the one that had investments and savings. The other that had no savings, is now moving from an assisted living center to a nursing home. She ran out of money to pay for the assisted living. The family cannot pay for better than a Medicaid assisted facility.

I'd rather be in the first situation than the second. I plan to save & invest. I find that with planning I can save, give to charity and spend - just with some balance.

Good Luck
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