How Do We Plan Ahead to Afford Long-Term Care Outside the Home?

Planning to afford long-term care is important because it is estimated that one out of every two of us will need some form of long-term care before we die. Most of us cannot depend on our children to fund these needs since they have their own bills to pay and family dependents to provide for. In addition, government assistance for long-term care is only available to those who are impoverished. 

 

For most of us, however, long-term care expenses will be initially affordable. Unless a person is afflicted by a paralyzing stroke or a quick onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, initial long-term care expenses can be met by paying for the cost of temporary caregivers. These caregivers can attend to basic chores within the home setting that we are physically incapable of easily performing. There are even times, in Florida, when a county funded agency can pay for or help us with the cost of these initial services. This is true if we are financially below the county’s maximum income or asset limit and there are hours available. 

 

In planning to pay for future long-term care outside the home, however, we should plan as early as possible. Where do you find care? There are several options outside of the traditional nursing home setting. For example, one could visit the owner of a family group home in his or her community where four to six persons are cared for at the owner’s home. The resident receives his or her own room with benefits such as housekeeping, assistance with activities of daily living, someone to drive the residents to doctor appointments, and well balanced meals. All of this is in exchange for a reasonable monthly charge. Armed with this information from the local community, the prospective resident could then begin saving monthly to cover the nominal cost of the family group home when this expenditure becomes necessary. 

 

Another example would be when one visits the administrator of assisted living facilities where thirty to forty persons are cared for at the assisted living facility. Again, the resident receives his or her own room that is cleaned every day, assistance with activities of daily living and driving, plus well balanced meals. If a person making the visit or their spouse was a veteran of the armed services during war-time, there may be a monthly VA Pension with Aid and Attendance available if the prospective resident’s assets and income are below the government threshold. 

 

Again, the key is to start planning early. Researching the costs of these options plus the daily cost of the nursing home should be done before the need arises in the family. We encourage you to meet with a member of our legal team to discuss your concerns about where to live and how to pay for the care you may need. Further, do not wait to discuss your durable power of attorney in this meeting as it is important that this document is written to contemplate long-term care so the agent can sign the application for benefits if you are incapacitated. 

Helping Your Loved One Plan After a Chronic Condition Diagnosis

Did you know that approximately 60 percent of Older Americans live with a chronic condition? Conditions such as arthritis, asthma, and diabetes can require frequent medical treatment, close monitoring, and costly medications. As such, your loved one may feel overwhelmed with the increasing cost of care and new challenges he or she may be facing. One of the best ways to put your loved one’s mind at ease is to help him or her with the planning process. To help get you started, let us share with you a few tips for helping your loved one plan after a chronic condition diagnosis.

Perhaps the most important first step is to talk to your loved one about his or her diagnosis. Your loved one may be uncertain about the impact this could have on his or her life. To help educate you both about the condition in question, we encourage you to take some time to research the condition together. Be sure to determine the symptoms your loved one may present and the challenges he or she may face as a result of the condition. You may also wish to research treatment plans that may help make your loved one more comfortable as the condition progresses. 

Once you and your loved one have a better understanding of your loved one’s condition, it is important to review any planning he or she has already completed. Evaluate whether his or her current estate plan has protections in place, right now, for this type of unexpected situation, including any long-term care plans. Some important components to look out for include your loved one’s health care coverage, insurance, and whether he or she has a durable power of attorney.

Above all, do not hesitate to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney to help guide you and your loved one through this challenging time. Further, an estate planning attorney can advise you on the steps you could take to plan for a loved one with a chronic condition and account for his or her specific needs.

If this article raises more questions than it answers for you, do not hesitate to ask us your questions. Your loved one’s safety is important to us, and we are here to be a resource for you. We look forward to discussing your questions and supporting you with your particular needs.

The Two Main Medical Alert Options For Seniors

Did you know that older adults are at elevated risk of falls, accidents, and dangerous health situations? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3 million seniors are treated in emergency rooms every year just for falls, with one out of five causing serious injuries such as broken bones or head trauma. One of the best ways to combat these emergency scenarios is by using a medical alert system.

These life-saving devices connect users to emergency responders with the press of a button. Typical systems come with wireless bracelets, pendants, or lanyards that are worn by senior adults or disabled persons. When pressed, the devices transmit signals to an alarm monitoring company or emergency health department. Medical personnel are then dispatched to the location where the alert signal was triggered. 

Medical alert companies offer different services, equipment, and price points. The most basic difference, however, is whether a system is home-based or mobile. Deciding which type of device is best will depend entirely on your senior loved one’s needs. To help better guide your decision, let us share with you some information about the two main medical alert options for seniors. 

Home-Based Medical Alert

Home-based or in-home systems are sometimes called “traditional medical alert systems,” because they have functioned essentially the same for decades. The systems come with a wearable wireless device that connects to a base unit within the senior’s home. They are perfect for seniors who spend a lot of time alone in their homes. These devices are also cheaper than mobile systems, but have a limited range of connectivity, similar to a home wireless internet system, or WiFi.

Mobile Medical Alert Systems

Mobile medical alert systems have developed amid the technology upswing of recent years. They do not require a home base unit for connectivity, but have a wide-ranging capacity to connect with emergency services similar to smart phones. Mobile alert devices allow the user to speak directly to 911 dispatch or another pre-programmed entity in most locations. They are ideal for active seniors, but are typically more expensive than home-based systems and rely on batteries.

These are just a few of the benefits of the different types of medical alert systems. If you or a senior loved one are unsure about which option may best apply, we encourage you to reach out to our office to ask us your questions.

Opioids and Elder Abuse

The Centers for Disease Control calls the Opioid addiction epidemic *the* public health crisis of our time.

But the crisis also has serious *financial* ramifications.

In fact, a national study shows the Opioid epidemic is contributing to a significant rise in elder *financial* abuse.

Of special concern is the increasing number of older adults being exploited by people, including family members, looking for a way to finance their habit.

Researchers at Virginia Tech recently posted a blog about a case study in which a grandson stole $85,000 from his grandfather to support his heroin addiction.

The grandfather suffered from dementia.

After draining the finances addicts may also begin to physically and psychologically abuse the elderly victim, isolating them from anyone who might help.

If you or someone you love sees sign of this type of abuse, call Elder Law Attorney, Anne Desormier-Cartwright.

Elder and Estate Planning attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service large enough to handle all your estate and planning needs.

Seven Signs of Elder Abuse

It’s not uncommon to open a newspaper or turn on the TV and see a story about seniors being mistreated.

Just this month, Marvel Comics legend, Stan Lee’s former manager pleaded not guilty to charges of elder abuse .

Elder Lawyer Anne Desormier-Cartwright says: It’s not just about physical violence, there are seven kinds of elder abuse to be aware of.

“Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, plus confinement, passive and willful neglect, as well as financial exploitation, are all forms of elder abuse. Understanding that elder abuse exists is just the first step and one of the most important areas to focus on is education.”

If you’d like more information about how you can protect your family members, the guidance of an experienced elder law attorney can provide not only protection, but justice, if your love one has been victimized.

Elder & Estate Planning Attorneys, PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.

Critical Tips on Protecting Your Minor Children This Summer

When it comes to your children, safety is of the utmost importance. The arrival of summer typically means that many children are out of school and participating in more outdoor activities. Unfortunately, research tells us that the number of accidents involving children tend to increase during the summer months. To help protect your minor children, the best defense is planning ahead, which is why we want to share with you a few safety tips to keep your children safe this summer.

 

First, did you know that drowning is the leading cause of death among children ages one to four? This summer, your minor children may be participating in various different summer camps, some of which may involve water-related activities. While these activities are a great way to engage in physical activity, and for your children to have fun, an accident can happen in a matter of moments. We encourage you to always make sure your child will be supervised when he or she is around water. Further, if your child is not an especially strong swimmer, ensure that he or she has access to floaties, as well as a life jacket if necessary.

 

Second, the summer heat can affect us all, regardless of how old we are. Younger children, however, are particularly vulnerable to high temperatures. As this summer is set to see record-breaking temperatures, it is especially important to make sure that your child is protected when outdoors. Taking a few simple precautions, such as making sure your child applies sunscreen each day, has a cover-up and cap, and is regularly drinking water can help protect your child from dehydration and other heat-related illnesses.

 

Above all, you know your child’s limitations better than anyone else. If you are aware that your child requires special accommodations or needs a little extra help with certain activities, do not hesitate to share this knowledge with whomever is supervising your child this summer. Being proactive and planning ahead can help provide you with peace of mind and allow your child to have a fun, but safe, summer.

 

If this article raises more questions than it answers for you, do not hesitate to ask us your questions. Your child’s safety is important to us, and we are here to be a resource for you. We look forward to discussing your questions and supporting you with your particular needs.

7 Home Hurricane Prep Tips for Florida Seniors

Hurricanes are one of the most destructive natural forces on earth. These giant storms can create 100-mile an hour winds, flooding, and torrential rains that can cover entire states. Unlike earthquakes, tornados, and other natural disasters, however, residents in states that may be impacted usually have some time to prepare before a hurricane hits.

Floridians know that preparedness should not be limited to last minute precautions. This is especially true for Florida seniors and other individuals who may be at a disadvantage when it comes to fighting crowds, gaining access to needed medicines, or fleeing prospective impact zones. 

Let us share seven ways Florida seniors can proactively prepare their homes as we enter hurricane season, which runs officially from June through November. These fixes may require help from family, neighbors, or home maintenance professionals, which is all the more reason to get started now.

 

1- Install permanent storm shutters that can be easily opened and closed.

2- Store one-half inch plywood boards, pre-cut to protect windows from flying debris. Make sure a senior loved one has help available to secure the boards when a hurricane is bearing down on his or her area.

3- Install rain gutters. If the house already has gutters, be sure to have them checked, repaired or unclogged to prevent flooding and unnecessary water damage.

4- Trim potentially dangerous trees. High winds and excessive ground saturation can lead to extremely dangerous situations, for example, falling branches and trees. Consider hiring a professional tree removal service to start cutting down branches that hang over a senior loved one’s home, then proceed to trees that may be subject to uprooting. Ask a tree removal service or landscaping professional for an estimate before getting started.

5- Make sure the sheathing on the roof is in healthy shape. This will keep water from seeping inside during the storm and causing unnecessary damage.

6- Strengthen the garage door, if applicable, and add slide locks to doors that lead outside.

7- Make sure to come up with a plan to store lawn furniture, yard items, and trash cans so that they do not become deadly flying objects during hurricane force winds. Also, remove them from any stairways or exits.

These are just a few of the tips you can use to ensure the Florida seniors you know and love are protected this storm season. We encourage you not to wait to plan forward on this or any elder care issue. Do not wait to contact our law office for more information and let us know how we may be of assistance to you.

Tips You Need When It Comes to Ancillary Probate

When creating an estate plan, a common goal for many people is to avoid probate proceedings. Probate is the legal process through which the assets of a deceased person are distributed to heirs and beneficiaries. Did you know, however, that there is an additional type of probate proceeding called ancillary probate?

Ancillary probate can be required if you own real property or other assets that are attached in another state. To help you learn more about this important estate planning topic, let us share with you a few tips you need when it comes to ancillary probate.

First, it is important to be careful when appointing a future beneficiary as a joint owner or payable on death recipient of any property you own outside of Florida. Before committing to this important choice, take some time to consider whether what will happen if you need to be the sole owner of the property. Further, evaluate whether this lifetime gift will exclude you from public benefits such as Medicaid and what will happen if you change your mind after making this appointment. Discussing the implications of this decision with an experienced, local estate planning attorney may provide you with some peace of mind.

Second, did you know that a last will and testament will likely not cover any property you own outside of Florida? Unfortunately, this is true, and a factor that is commonly overlooked when people create their estate plans. A last will and testament only protects your in-state property, so be sure to account for this in your estate plan to ensure all of your property remains protected.

Above all, ancillary probate is not a “one size fits all” proceeding. We encourage you to discuss your specific circumstances with an experienced estate planning attorney who is familiar with the laws of your state. There are no uniform rules concerning ancillary probate, as different states have different laws. Importantly, do not wait to notify your estate planning attorney if you acquire any property outside of Florida or if you are planning a move in the near future.

These are just a few tips about ancillary probate. We know that this topic may raise more questions than it answers, as it is a particularly complex topic that can be challenging to understand. We encourage you and your loved ones not to wait to find the answers you need. We look forward to supporting you and your loved ones with your estate planning needs.

7 Types of Elder Abuse Affecting Millions of Seniors

On June 15, the United Nations is spearheading a global campaign to raise awareness and fight back against elder abuse. The growing epidemic impacts millions of American seniors every year, and many more worldwide. Through World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, international organizations, governments, citizens, and professionals across the country are taking a stand and actively seeking to reduce the problem.

 

One of the most important areas to focus on is education. Each of us needs to understand exactly what elder abuse is. In fact, confusion is one of the main reasons why elder abuse is often underreported. Elder abuse is defined as “any knowing, intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable elder adult.”

 

Understanding that elder abuse exists is just the first step. Did you know, however, that there are seven variations of elder abuse to be aware of? Let us share more on this important topic with you right here in our blog.

 

  1. Physical Abuse. The use of physical force that results in bodily injury, physical pain or impairment. Signs can include bruises, welts, and bone fractures, and the withholding of important medications.

 

  1. Emotional Abuse. The infliction of pain, anguish or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts. This can include insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation and harassment. 

 

  1. Sexual Abuse. Sexual abuse is often defined as non-consensual sexual contact of any kind. This is illegal at any age, and it is often wrongly assumed that older adults are not in danger of this type of alarming behavior.

 

  1. Confinement. The restraining or isolating of an older adult against his or her will, or in violation of his or her basic health needs.

 

  1. Passive Neglect. A caregiver’s failure to provide basic necessities, ranging from food, to clean clothing, to sanitary conditions and medical care, and more.

 

  1. Willful Neglect. This is the intentional deprivation of fundamental human needs, such as medical care, food and water, physical assistance and prescribed medications.

 

  1. Financial Exploitation. The misuse or theft of an elder person’s financial resources.

 

We know that this information may raise a number of questions for you and your aging loved ones. If you suspect an elder loved one is the victim of abuse, do not wait to contact the proper Florida authorities. Let us know your elder care concerns and how we can help you and your loved ones.

Tips on How to Expand Your Social Circle This National Elder Law Month

Did you know according to a recent report over one million seniors older than age 65 are “dangerously unsupported”? This report shares that as a result they are at risk for loneliness and isolation. Unfortunately, both of these conditions are an increasing epidemic for seniors worldwide. As we enter into National Elder Law Month this May, you may be wondering: how can I help myself or the seniors that I care about avoid becoming a statistic?

 

We know this is not easy. There are numerous issues that can arise over time that make it hard to stay connected with the world around you as you age. From physical issues and age-related illnesses to death and far spread community resources, we know issues can arise everywhere.

 

Beyond staying mentally and physically fit as we age, it makes sense to integrate rather than isolate. What do we mean by this statement? This National Elder Law Month, and throughout the year, we would encourage you to regularly connect with other people. Building relationships in your community can not only enhance your well-being, but allow you to share your wisdom and experiences with others.

 

Further, how well and how often you keep in touch with others can have a positive impact on your well-being. This can include maximizing your brain function.  For instance, countless studies find that loneliness and isolation have been linked to depression and dementia.

 

We want you to know there is no need to feel alone this National Elder Law Month.  Let us share a few key tips and ideas to get and keep you engaged this month and throughout the year.

 

  1. Make the commitment to meet regularly.

 

Join friends for dinner or a movie. Take part in a knitting circle. Join a class at the gym or a book club of interest to you to share an enjoyable time with others. You might learn something new while you make some new friends.

 

  1. Volunteer.

 

Assist with research, planning, or organizing for causes you have an interest in and a passion for.  Do not wait to step outside yourself. Helping others also makes us feel good any time of year.

 

  1. Limit your use of technology.

 

Did you know a  study that examined human behavior noted that increased social media use contributed to depression and impacted relationships?  Smartphones are often blamed for causing an addiction to technology that leads to isolation. We know it is easy to become attached to computers and TV, spending hours in front of them, which may also add to feelings of loneliness.  

 

Just these small steps can help you take a leap into a more enriched, fulfilled life. Changes like these can improve your outlook and enhance your overall well-being.  When, if not National Elder Law Month, is the right time to jump in care for yourself as a senior or encourage a senior loved one to get started? We know that elder care issues like these, plus many more, can be challenging. We encourage you not to wait to schedule a meeting with our office.