Medicaid is a government program that provides health coverage to individuals, and it is the leading payor of skilled nursing facility care in the United States due to the high cost of such care. Many people mistakenly believe that Medicaid is only for those with minimal resources, but an asset protection plan can help you protect your assets and still qualify for long-term Medicaid benefits.Asset protection planning uses exemptions that allow you to keep some of your assets. For example, in Pennsylvania, you are allowed to keep $45 of your income per month plus any amount you use to pay for health insurance; the rest of your income must be used to pay for your care. When applying for Medicaid, countable resources include assets such as real estate, cash, investment accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance with a face value greater than $1,500, vehicles, and any business interests. However, you can exempt the house you live in, one vehicle, and your spouse can retain their retirement accounts and anywhere between $29,724 and $148,620 of the joint assets, depending upon the total amount of your combined assets. Anything over this calculated amount of exemptions could be put into an asset protection trust and protected from skilled nursing facility costs.An asset protection plan will allow you to immediately protect a portion of your assets, in addition to the assets that are exempt from Medicaid, for significant immediate savings that begin the moment your plan is fully funded.An asset protection plan consists of an asset protection trust, in which you can control the assets, but cant have direct access to them. Giving up direct access to the assets in the trust keeps creditors and predators away. If you do need access to an asset in the trust, you always have the ability to make distributions to someone other than yourself.Asset protection plans not only protect your assets during life but also provide tremendous value for your loved ones when youre gone.Laws and statutes in the area of long-term care Medicaid are always changing, so its highly recommended to review your options with a local elder law/estate planning attorney. At Bellomo & Associates, we can help you learn more about asset protection plans and how they can benefit you and your family while protecting your legacy from the rapidly rising cost of long-term care. Dont wait lets get your estate plan in place!Are you ready to start protecting your assets and planning for long-term care? Contact Bellomo & Associates today to register for an educational workshop. We can help you create a customized asset protection plan and provide guidance on long-term care Medicaid eligibility and planning. Dont wait until its too latetake action now and secure your financial future.
Pet Friendly Senior Living Benefits All Animal LoversBy: Country Meadows | Senior LivingThe bond between humans and animals is complex and deeply rooted. Studies have shown time and time again that animal companions can offer numerous benefits for people of all ages and can be a valuable tool in healthy aging. In pet friendly senior living, furry friends enhance the overall quality of life for residents.Some retirement communities like Country Meadows offer pet friendly senior living. For residents who dont have a pet of their own, each campus has house pets for everyone to love, spoil and enjoy. And Dynamic Living teams plan visits to and from animal rescue groups, volunteer opportunities to make pet toys and treats and special events such as dog weddings and furry sweethearts.Pets provide many benefits, including:CompanionshipPets provide companionship and emotional support, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation that some seniors may experience. A pet friendly senior living community provides many opportunities to interact with animals, whether individual pets or therapy animals.Stress reductionInteracting with pets has been shown to lower stress levels and promote relaxation, which can be especially valuable for seniors dealing with the challenges of aging. Staff at a pet friendly senior living community can help older adults provide care for beloved furry friends when needed.Physical activityHaving a pet encourages regular physical activity, such as walking dogs or playing with cats, which can help seniors stay active and maintain a healthier lifestyle.Social interactionPets can serve as conversation starters, fostering connections between residents and encouraging social interactions within the community. At pet friendly senior living, meeting neighbors animals is a great way to break the ice, start conversations and make new friends.Routine and structureTaking care of a pet can establish a daily routine and provides a sense of purpose, providing responsibility and stability.Improved mental healthSeveral studies have shown that pets boost mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, contributing to overall mental well-being. Pet friendly senior living provides many opportunities for residents to interact with animals, whether the pet lives on campus, is visiting or is part of an educational presentation.Cognitive stimulationInteracting with pets can stimulate cognitive functions, such as memory and problem-solving skills, which are essential for maintaining mental sharpness in our later years. Activities involving animals are effective in helping residents living with dementia in pet friendly senior living.Even if a resident chooses not to own their own furry friend, various animal-related activities are planned to provide opportunities for seniors to interact with pets. Some of these activities include:Pet therapyAnimals certified in therapy, such as dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and even reptiles, visit pet friendly senior living communities to interact with residents. Therapy animals are known for their gentle temperament and are specifically trained to provide comfort and companionship. Residents can pet, cuddle or simply spend time with animals.Educational presentationsSome pet friendly senior living facilities invite animal experts to bring a variety of animals such as exotic birds, reptiles, small mammals and others, for residents to interact with and learn about.Volunteer opportunitiesMany residents at pet friendly senior living communities enjoy supporting local animal rescues. At Country Meadows, residents make dog biscuits for local shelters as well as toys and treats. And residents look forward to visiting shelters in their respective areas to donate items in person and meet shelter residents.BirdwatchingRegardless of whether or not one lives at a pet friendly senior living community, birdwatching is a fun opportunity to observe and enjoy local birds. At Country Meadows, residents often enjoy birding walks during which experts point out different birds, talk about their unique traits and educate residents about local habitats.Special activitiesPet friendly senior living communities like Country Meadows are able to offer unique interactions with various types of animals. At Country Meadows of Wyomissing, residents enjoyed a therapeutic puppy yoga session, which was more about cuddling than yoga. At the Forks in Easton location, residents spent their Valentines Day receiving pooch smooches from local shelter dogs, while at Country Meadows of Wyomissing, residents were invited to attend a doggie wedding.AquariumsHaving an aquarium in common areas or resident apartments can be therapeutic. Watching colorful fish swim can be relaxing and help reduce anxiety and stress. Aquariums often can be found regardless of whether or not a community offers pet friendly senior living.Pet friendly living at Country MeadowsWith research demonstrating that seniors benefit from regular animals, Country Meadows offers pet friendly senior living at each of its nine locations in Pennsylvania and one in Frederick, Maryland. Please contact us today to request information or to schedule a visit to meet our residents-human, canine, feline and avian! We look forward to meeting you.
Are you or a loved one contemplating the transition to senior living? Embarking on this journey is a significant step towards ensuring comfort, safety, and a vibrant lifestyle during the golden years. To help you kick-start your senior living search, weve compiled a handy guide highlighting the essential tips when you begin your search for a senior living community. From understanding your needs to visiting potential communities, heres how to make an informed decision with confidence.1. Know What You Need:Every individual has unique preferences and needs when it comes to senior living. Do you require assistance with daily activities, such as bathing and medication management? Are you looking for a community that offers engaging social activities and outings? Understanding your needs, whether related to health, social interaction, or lifestyle preferences, will guide your search in the right direction.2. Know Your Budget:Senior living options vary widely in terms of cost. Determine your budget and explore options that align with it. Remember to consider all costs, including monthly fees, utilities, and potential future care needs. Financial planning at this stage is crucial to ensure a comfortable and stress-free transition.3. Read Online Reviews:Harness the power of the internet to gather insights from those who have experienced senior living firsthand. Online reviews can provide valuable information about the quality of care, associate responsiveness, amenities, and the overall atmosphere of a community. Keep in mind that a mix of positive and negative reviews is natural, but pay attention to recurring themes.4. Check Out Their Social Media Pages:A communitys social media presence can offer a glimpse into daily life and events. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram often showcase photos and stories from residents and associates, giving you a sense of the communitys culture and engagement opportunities. Its a modern way to get a virtual tour before visiting in person.5. Create a List of Potential Communities in Your Area:Compile a list of senior living communities in your desired location. This could be based on proximity to family, friends, or preferred neighborhoods. Research each communitys amenities, services, and offerings to narrow down your choices.6. Visit Your Top Choices:Theres no substitute for an in-person visitschedule visits to your top-ranked communities to see firsthand what they offer. Pay attention to the cleanliness, friendliness of associates, and the overall atmosphere. Interact with residents if possible, as their experiences can provide valuable insights.7. Curate a List of Questions:Prepare a list of questions to ask during your visits. These questions can cover a range of topics, such as available care services, dining options, activity schedules, transportation, safety measures, and policies. Having these questions ready will ensure you gather all the necessary information to make an informed decision.Transitioning to senior living is a significant life step, and its essential to approach it with careful consideration and thorough research. By following these essential tips, youll be well-equipped to find the perfect senior living community that meets your unique needs.Remember, this journey is about finding a place where you or your loved one can thrive and enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle. With the right approach and thorough research, youre on your way to making a decision that will enhance the quality of life during the golden years.At Grace Management, Inc., our mission is to make tough decisions easier. We believe that home may be a place, but its also a feeling, a way of life, and something we take seriously. Are you interested in learning more? Head over to the communities page on our website to find a community near you.