I'm an only child caretaking my mom with dementia. That at least eliminates useless siblings
But on the topic of Medicaid: indeed each state is different (it's a state medical insurance of last resort). As a former social worker I went on-line to read my state's Medicaid manual (I'm in NC). It's like reading a tax manual--you can wade thru it, but what a headache!
The best thing for Medicaid eligibility you can do is spend a parent's money on things for the household (repairs, additions, things that help with caregiving, really ANYthing that's directly on the house or grounds since they will benefit at least indirectly).
Also, spend their money on care that's needed, whether it's respite for you or direct care for them you can't provide. I also suggest that you eat out or have food delivered (to make life easier for you). Adult Daycare makes my life tolerable--it started at 2 days a week & now we're up to 6 days some weeks. She likes it & seems to do better than just being at home with me & I get 8 hours to get something done besides watching her.
They can have one car (even if they no longer drive) in their name & of course all the repairs, maintenance & gasoline can be from their funds even if you are the only one driving it.
My philosophy is to make your life & theirs as comfortable as possible in the ways you can, since there's lots of things you can't do anything about.
It's seems that in NC I can take $2999/mo (NOT $3k!) & put it in my name without it counting against Medicaid eligibility later on. But I'm going to talk to an lawyer who specializes in elder issues before doing that. Some give you a 15 minute consult free. So I plan to have a list of questions in order of importance. Lawyer fees should also be paid from the parent's estate.
But actually the best thing -especially if your goal is to keep them at home- is to simply spend the money for their care (aides are at least $8/hour which adds up quickly!) & have the ability to use their money how ever you see fit. For those trying to get the parent into a nursing home quickly, I'd say see a elder issue lawyer. Do a search on-line for them to be sure they are licensed. Anyone can say they specialize, but study & experience make sure they can actually give sound advice.
Indeed, the state will keep after you for years after the parent's death, trying to see if there's any money left from the estate to pay them back. Lots of continuing hassle & paperwork.
So, I'm hoping to simply keep mom at home & pay for help that I can't provide until her funds are gone. Then she'd be eligible for Medcaid without doubt. I AM going to see if the $2999/mo thing is really ok to try to keep some of her estate if possible. But in the mean time I'm purchasing things really needed around the house (new countertops, for instance) so at least my home will be in good shape as a result of caring for her. And, by the way, I'm getting a Jacuzzi bathtub for myself for Xmas. My joints are killing me, I have a sleep disorder & nothing but a shower. So, if nosy relatives want to comment on my purchases I'll ask them when they'd like to care for mom awhile & give me a break? With a smile, of course. And NOT answer their question to me.
By the way, talking with friends who've already gone elder caregiving is helpful. Even though their experiences may be totally different, I'm learning something from each of them.
I'm just learning about this issue (Medicaid) so am interested in anything others have to say!
Time to go make mom-related phone calls!