Tag: Aging Americans

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.

3 Ways You Can Prepare for a Transition Away from Family Care This National Elder Law Month

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.