“By Failing to Prepare, you Prepare to Fail” - Benjamin Franklin

Are you the adult child of aging parents? Do your parents currently live in their own home, taking care of themselves? Are you concerned that one or both of them could fall? Were you aware that when Florida senior adults fall it can cause devastating injuries and have long-term effects on the overall health of senior adults, sometimes even death? However, the good news is that most falls are preventable. By initiating lifestyle adjustments and support from their adult children, aging Florida parents and grandparents can greatly reduce the risk of falling, and the hip fractures and head injuries that too often result. 

Because of the serious rise in falls among seniors the National Council on Aging hosts National Fall Prevention Awareness Week, which this month is September 18-22, 2023. This event offers a wide range of educational tools and materials to learn about the impact of seniors falling and the costs to their families. 

So, how can you help your aging Florida parents? As a family, determine the risk level of your aging parents and whether any additional assistance is needed. For example, have you or your family noticed any of the following warning signs:

You and your family might also discuss another prevention tip, for instance, finding some exercise support groups that offer evidence-based programs, such as Tai Chi. You might also want to help your aging parents set up screening for osteoporosis and have their prescription medications evaluated for side effects, like dizziness, which are also manageable precautions.

You and your family need to take a close look at the home of your aging parents. How does it look? Home safety is very important and you and your family can introduce measures that can further reduce or eliminate your aging parents' risk of falling. Some suggestions would be to:

A word of caution and advice. If a fall occurs outside the home of your aging parents, it is strongly recommended that you and your family contact a qualified Florida elder care attorney and learn about any right your aging parents may have. Falls outside the home are sometimes caused by negligence and there is little anyone at any age can do to prevent them. Recouped monies may be needed to pay for expensive medical care.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers.  Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to seeking and covering the cost of memory care. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Are you a Florida senior? Are you finding it hard to believe that the end of the year is approaching? In fact, is it even harder to believe that in just a few short weeks it will be 2023?  Are you busy finalizing your end of the year holiday plans with your children and grandchildren? Do you need to purchase last minute holiday gifts, prepare special family holiday dishes and finalize arrangements to spend time with your family? Actually, as you rush to make sure you have holiday gifts for all your children and grandchildren, we want to recommend the best gift you could give this year that does not even require gift wrapping!

What gift could we possibly be writing about?  We are writing about creating a comprehensive Florida estate plan. This gift will let you make decisions about your assets and their distribution, choose your trusted agents to take care of your finances and your healthcare decisions and protect the legacy you want to continue when you pass away. With this gift you will give yourself and your loved ones peace of mind now, in the future and when you pass away. 

As a Florida senior, are you wondering how to begin preparing an estate plan?  Or do you have a Florida estate plan but have not looked at it in years? Or, finally, did you move to Florida from another state with an estate plan and never thought to make a Florida estate plan? Do you now have questions and wonder how to start? Do your thoughts include questions such as:

All of the above questions are important and we often hear questions just like them from our clients and their family members. As you work with your qualified Florida estate planning attorney to create your estate plan, you need to be assured that your estate plan will work when you need it to. This holiday season, a completed Florida estate plan that lets your loved ones know what you want for yourself and for them is quite possibly the best gift you can give and it does not even need to be gift wrapped. 

Finally, we want you to know that while Florida estate planning is a critical part of your health and well being there is a second planning component that needs to be addressed and completed as well. This is your long-term care planning. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans will need some form of long-term care once they reach the age of 70, so the time for planning is now.  You need to know that much of this care is not covered by Medicare and will, instead, fall on you, the Florida senior, to pay for out of pocket. As Florida estate planning and elder law attorneys we can assure you it does not have to be this way.  We can work with you to create not only an estate plan but also a long-term care plan that can protect the estate plan you are putting in place and allow you to be able to leave a legacy for your family, no matter what the future holds.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers.  Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to seeking and covering the cost of memory care. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Is there a senior loved one in your family who has been able to live on his or her own successfully for years? Are you beginning to notice signs of fatigue, loss of weight or more days of not feeling good? It may be time for your senior loved one to move into a nursing home. It is a difficult decision to make, but have you and your family realized that your loved one needs a higher level of skilled care that only a nursing home may offer. Are you and your family concerned and want to protect your loved one from any abuse and general mistreatment in a facility? What should you and your family do now?

First, when you begin your search, make sure the nursing home is Medicare certified and accepts Medicaid. Medicare certification will assure you that there are standards that must be maintained and Medicaid approval may be able to help your loved one financially. We would like to share a few other ideas you can add to your checklist to help you and your family make the best decision for your loved one.

1. Find out if residents may have their personal belongings, including furniture, in their rooms. Is there storage space, such as an appropriately sized closet, in the room?

2. Find out what the various amenities are that are provided by the nursing home. Is there a computer and internet access in the bedroom? Is there a television? Is there a window to provide natural light? Having these types of comforts can help ease the transition into the nursing home.

3. Find out what type of activities the home offers and if the facility helps residents who may not be mobile. Are there outdoor areas for your loved one to use? Will your loved one be able to choose what time to get up, go to sleep, or bathe?

4. Find out about the support provided for residents with advanced health care needs. This is very important if your loved one is not in very good health and, in fact, this is the reason you and your family are looking for a nursing home. For example, a common disease that impacts many Older Americans is dementia. If your loved one has dementia, you will want to know if the nursing home has specific policies and procedures related to the care of residents with dementia. If the facility does have patients with dementia, what types of non-medication based procedures do they employ when trying the first attempt to respond to behavioral symptoms for residents living with dementia? Find out what percentage of residents have dementia and are currently being prescribed antipsychotic medication. This will help you to understand the type of residents that your loved one will be surrounded by as well as the home’s workload.

Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to seeking and covering the cost of memory care. Our office is here to help. Please contact us today to schedule a meeting time.

Do your loved ones live in a different town or state from you? Are you concerned about them? How could you help them if they needed it or if a crisis occurred? May is National Elder Law Month and these questions are often repeated during this month-long celebration. That is why elder lawyers go out into their communities during the month to focus on and educate our aging population and their families about the help, care and legal documents that seniors need. This month calls for not only seniors, but communities across the nation and adult family members to get involved.

So how can you help the elders in your life? More importantly, what do you do if your elder loved ones live out of town? We know you may have these questions and more. We would like to share three strategies to help you on our blog this month.

1. You should consider increasing communication. Call often, you could even set up a certain time of the day and call daily or every other day, whatever works best. If possible, visit whenever you can. In addition, enlist the help of other family members and friends, especially if any of them live in the same town or close to your aging parents. Did you know that regular communication helps prevent isolation and can identify unmet needs and problems? Ask leading questions, like, “What are you doing today?” or “What did Dr. Smith have to say?”

2. You should consider using a caregiver notebook. Create and keep up-to-date an online digital notebook of doctors, health providers, insurance agents, friends, neighbors and other important contacts for your aging out-of-town parents. You could also share it with other family members. Also, think about keeping an up-to-date online calendar.

3. You should consider finding daily assistance. As we have mentioned before, long distance relationships are difficult at any age. For out-of-town seniors, it is important to build up a good, reliable and caring network of assistance. Look into coordinating with different organizations and individuals to schedule frequent assistance, such as meal deliveries, social visits, and check-ups from home health aides.

Do you have questions? Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to seeking and covering the cost of memory care. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Did you know that National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month is in November? During the annual public education campaign, affected and at-risk seniors, their family members and caregivers are given up to date information and support. Also included in the campaign are advocates across health care, the legal field and nonprofit communities. One goal of the campaign is the dispelling of common misconceptions, as such it is important to understand that Alzheimer’s disease is a lot more than just old age and forgetfulness. In fact, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease currently affects more than 5.8 million Americans and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.

Alzheimer’s, a brain disease, is the most common form of dementia. What is dementia? It is a general term for memory loss and the erosion of basic cognitive abilities. It is not a normal part of the aging process. Because the brain serves as the central computer for all of the body’s functions, affected individuals lose the ability to perform even simple daily tasks.

Forgetfulness and confusion, such as forgetting names, misplacing objects and mixing up times and places, may be the first symptoms to appear. Over time, the progressive nature of the disease will cause diminished thinking, judgment and behavior. Furthermore, jumbling words, difficulty expressing thoughts and emotions, struggling with routine tasks like getting dressed, and unpredictable behavior are all signs the disease is worsening.

In advanced stages, people living with Alzheimer’s can lose the ability to have conversations or respond to their surroundings. In addition, they may eventually become incapable of basic functions and cease to have the ability to cough, swallow or even breathe. People with Alzheimer’s disease live an average of just eight years after symptoms are first discovered.

Even though increasing age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease, it is not strictly an elderly disease. About 200,000 Americans under age 65 have been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Do you know someone experiencing abnormal memory loss? You should consider encouraging them to see a doctor. Skilled physicians can diagnose Alzheimer's disease with more than 90 percent accuracy. Although there is currently no cure, medical treatments can help slow the progression of many symptoms.

If you are affected by Alzheimer’s disease in any way, you are not alone. There is a worldwide effort that is fighting for a cure and organizing to support people in need during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and throughout the year. For more information or guidance concerning related legal matters, contact our office today.

It may be the worst nightmare for your parents or other senior loved one. After a lifetime of hard work and savings, the need for a nursing home may cause them to lose it all. While planning for long-term care may be best done before the care is indicated, that is not always possible. Sometimes an abrupt medical event or an unforeseen accident may result in a senior being placed in a nursing home, or perhaps, the senior was unaware of the necessity of long-term care planning. So, how can you help Florida seniors protect themselves, when entering a nursing home? 

If the senior owns a home and Medicaid assists with the cost of a nursing home, following the senior’s passing, Medicaid may place a lien against the home, also known as “estate recovery,” for the cost paid out for the nursing home. If the senior owns a home and Medicaid is contributing to the cost of the nursing home, it may be important for the senior and/or family members to consult an elder law attorney as soon as possible after placement in the nursing home. There are some situations, which may prevent estate recovery, such as a spouse residing in the home, or a disabled child. In some instances, the senior may be able to transfer the home without creating a situation of Medicaid ineligibility.

Unfortunately, seniors who enter nursing homes can also become victims of financial elder abuse via less than honest employees, who obtain their personal information. Seniors should be instructed not to log into personal accounts from shared computers to avoid having personal information stolen. Some nursing homes offer banking services. Residents who bank with the nursing home, however, may unknowingly have funds withdrawn from their account. Another risk is that when pension and social security checks are mailed directly to a facility, they may be stolen. The nursing home is supposed to deposit such checks in a trust account and use them to pay the resident’s bills, but there have been instances where the funds were misappropriated. Not only is the resident out the money, but if his or her nursing home bill is not paid, the resident may be forced to leave the facility, as well. Thus, when a Florida senior enters a nursing home, it may be best to have a trusted friend or relative appointed as the durable power of attorney and to keep the senior’s private funds separate. The power of attorney can oversee the senior’s finances and help ensure that no suspect transactions are occurring. 

In general, if you know a senior, who has entered a nursing home, it can be a good idea to meet the staff of the nursing home and visit frequently. Our office can assist with creating the proper documents to protect the senior’s assets and to safeguard them from the potential of financial abuse. Please reach out to our office today to schedule a meeting.

Every May is both National Older Americans Month and National Elder Law Month. While the former was established in 1963, the latter was created more recently to focus on the elder care needs of seniors and people with disabilities. This is a special time of year to honor and celebrate one of the most important groups in the country, and deservedly so, as older adults are too often overlooked in today’s fast-paced society.

The month-long celebration also involves raising awareness about critical issues facing American seniors. One of the biggest challenges is when Older Americans no longer feel as useful in their advanced age as they did when they were younger. Studies show that health outcomes and quality of life standards diminish significantly when seniors give into their perceived limitations, becoming more isolated and less engaged in the lives of others.

During the month of May we need to make combating this problem a priority by promoting a wide array of opportunities and resources to help older adults rediscover their talents and abilities, as well as putting them to good use. Adult children of senior parents can play a critical role by helping to connect them.

Let us share just some of the available resources National Elder Law Month and National Older Americans Month are bringing together.


Organizations like Create the Good help older adults find volunteer opportunities that match their particular interests. Programs like Senior Corps not only provide opportunities for older volunteers, but it does so by addressing important needs in their own communities, such as tutoring, mentoring, and disaster relief.

Teaching Children to Read

One of the most rewarding ways seniors can stay active is by helping younger people. Experience Corps trains and connects seniors with children who need help learning to read.

Fighting Hunger

Even in our modern, affluent society there are plenty of people who struggle with hunger. Feeding America is a program that puts senior adults in touch with food banks and meal programs to serve the hungry in their local areas.

Training for Paid Work

The U.S. Department of Labor provides a community service employment program for older adults, and the AARP further provides support for seniors who wish to re-enter the workforce or change their careers.

These are just a few of the resources we want to share with you this May. Remember, there is never a wrong time to get involved or find the support you need. Do not wait to reach out to our office for elder care help for you or an Older American in your life.

Even the most dedicated family caregivers may, at some point, need to make room for paid caregiving services if it is in the best interest of an elder loved one. Needs, goals, and health concerns can change rapidly for both the Florida senior and the family caregiver. While understanding the need for a paid caregiver does not mean the transition will be easy, it may be the right thing to do for you and your family.

Let us share seven tips with you to help you make the best transition possible when it comes to shifting from a family caregiver to a paid one.

1. Learn when to hire a paid caregiver. Two of the main signs that it is time to hire a paid caregiver is when the demands of caring for an elder loved one become too great for the caregiver to manage alone, or when the dynamic is no longer safe.

2. Do not let feelings of guilt stop you. A caregiving transition can induce feelings of failure and guilt, as if a family member is somehow abandoning an elder loved one. Those feelings can be overcome by knowing that you are actually tending to an aging adult’s best interests.

3. Do not allow family conflict to impede care. Clear communication and mature compromise among adult family members is essential. If disputes persist, consult an independent third-party expert, such as an elder care attorney for impartial guidance.

4. A durable power of attorney can help. A durable power of attorney allows for a trusted confidant to make decisions about an aging adult’s long-term care needs, including hiring caregivers and working with long-term care providers.

5. How to find a quality caregiver. One way is to contact a home care agency located near an elder family member, another is to ask family, friends, and associates who have been in similar situations for recommendations.

6. What to look for when hiring a senior caregiver. Make sure a prospective caregiver is appropriately licensed and insured to perform the services you are hiring him or her to do. Even if he or she has all the proper credentials, you will also need to find the right personality fit.

7. Understand how much hiring a caregiver costs. Costs depend on several factors, such as whether you hire a caregiver yourself or through an agency, and what particular services an elder loved one needs.

These are just a few tips to get you started in your transition. We know that this article may raise more questions than it answers. Do not wait to contact our law office and schedule a meeting to discuss your concerns today.

We understand that planning for the end of life, a disability or aging can be complicated and emotional. We are here to help you.

Contact Us