Key Signs to Watch Out For When Visiting Relatives During The Holidays

Do you have older relatives, who live a distance away from you, that you are looking forward to visiting over the holidays? Even though you check in by phone with them each week, are you concerned about them knowing they are getting older? Because your aging relatives are living in their own homes, are you wondering how they are coping? Will there need to be any changes to their living situations? In fact, are you planning to discuss long-term care planning with them? Do you need a good definition of  long-term care planning for your older relatives? The National Institute on Aging defines long-term care planning as steps to meet a person’s health or personal care needs during a long or short period of time. With the help of these services, people may be able to live as independently and safely as possible even though they can no longer perform everyday activities on their own.

Be aware that your older relatives will have their estate planning, including long-term care planning, impacted by both their personal wishes and financial means.  We have some key questions to ask your older relatives this holiday season to give you insight into how they are managing in their homes and to begin the conversation about what type of long-term care planning may be best for them.

1. As they age, do your older relatives want to live in assisted living? Assisted living can offer a wide range of amenities that may make it an attractive option to some. Assisted living offers a home-like atmosphere with small apartments, meals, medical help nearby and socializing.

2. Do your older relatives want to stay in their own homes as they age?  If the answer is yes, what needs to be done to help them remain in their home as long as possible and remain safe? This may involve discussing modifications to the home to make it safer and easier to move around. It may also involve a discussion as to part-time in-home care help or possibly having a family caregiver move in with them or make daily visits.

3. Are your older relatives still driving? As you visit with your older relatives during the holidays be sure to check out their driving. In fact, as delicately as possible, ask them about driving. Are they anxious when driving? Have there been any car accidents, even minor ones? Do they want you to help them locate alternate means of transportation?

4. If your older relatives do have to go into a nursing home later in life, do they have any plans for how they would pay for it if the need should arrive? You should be aware that Medicare may cover a short stay in a nursing home, but beyond that, your older relatives will need to cover the cost. Do they have the money or long-term care insurance? Now is the time to begin Medicaid planning to preserve the assets of your older relatives and make them eligible for Medicaid to cover the cost.

5. Have your older relatives appointed someone to handle their financial affairs if they become incapacitated? Unfortunately, as people age, they are more prone to a medical event, such as a stroke, which can leave them mentally incapacitated without warning. A Florida durable power of attorney can be an important legal instrument to have executed and will give the designated person access to bank accounts and allow them to make financial decisions. Talk to your older relatives about what plans they have in place for the management of their affairs in the future.

6. Finally, do your older loved ones need assistance locating a qualified Florida elder law attorney? The elder law attorney they hire can help them with all the issues related above, including long-term care planning. 

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.