As older adults advance in age, it is not uncommon for family members to step-in and provide assistance with day-to-day activities. As health and other concerns arise, family members often begin to play a more active caregiving role. There comes a point, however, when even the most dedicated family members can no longer manage the care needs of an aging loved one.
This is often the time when the family needs to transition to outside care. Our goal, during National Elder Law Month, is to help you understand the steps you need to take, both before and when, this happens. Unfortunately, it is a potential reality that many adult children and their aging parents, or grandparents, do not want to face.
We encourage you to address this potential long-term care issue head on and plan forward. Together, we can develop an elder care plan that will help you be prepared and can help set up your family for success. To this end, let us share three key considerations with you.
- Plan Early. It is never too early to help aging family members prepare for their elder years. Among other benefits, planning ahead can provide an opportunity to explore a range of options best suited for an elder loved one’s specific situation. Further, options change with time. This means that what may have been available if you planned years in advance, may no longer be there in a crisis.
When possible, do not wait until there is a major health concern, such as dementia or a fall, that may render your parent or grandparent unable to participate in the process. Instead, plan forward. Proactive planning with your Florida elder law attorney can help take advantage of available treatments, long-term care solutions and eligibility for public benefits programs that can help you pay for care.
- Select housing together. When family caregiving is no longer enough, determining appropriate housing for the elder adult becomes critical. Will he or she receive professional care in the family home? For how long? Would a nursing home better suit their long-term care needs? Will they need round-the-clock care? These are all questions to consider now.
It is also important to talk with the aging adult to determine what they would ideally like to do, what may happen in reality, and begin planning for the costs of care in both scenarios. There are a number of financial avenues to explore in Florida with your elder law attorney.
- Solidify estate planning. One of the best ways to prepare for an aging loved one’s elder years is to create, and frequently update, their estate plan. Who is their decision maker? Who is the back-up decision maker? May we work to create a legacy early and protect hard earned savings from being used on long-term care? These are all questions that your estate planning and elder law attorney will be able to answer and verify that your legal documents support your goals.
We know that this topic may raise more questions than it answers. We encourage you and your loved ones not to wait to find the answers you need. Whether you schedule a meeting with attorney Anne’ Desormier-Cartwright this National Elder Law Month now or anytime throughout the year, we look forward to supporting you and your loved ones.