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.
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.
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.