Tag: Elder Care

Three Tips on Helping a Loved One Deal with Memory Loss

Whether an Alzheimer’s diagnosis or just the memory loss that can come with aging, watching a loved one struggle to recall important events or little daily details can be painful. It can be important, however, to keep your expectations realistic and assist them where you can. Do you have a loved one dealing with memory loss? Let us discuss three tips on how you can help.

 

  1. Offer Help Where You Can. Your loved one may be too proud to ask for help or refuse it when you offer. Still, it can be important to keep trying. You may not need to micromanage everyday life. You can and should make sure your loved one remembers important doctor’s appointments and major holidays and events that he or she needs time to prepare for. If it feels like you are always the person reminding your loved one and he or she expresses frustration with the dynamic, you can ask other relatives to step in and assist as well so that it eases any tension that can build up in a caregiver relationship.
  2. Make Time to Grieve. You may be disappointed when your loved one forgets things that are meaningful to you. Remember that your loved one may likely also be forgetting things that are important to him or her, and to other children or grandchildren. It is okay to be upset when this happens. It can also be important to make time to grieve the loss of the type of relationship you had with your loved one before memory loss. You can still have a fulfilling relationship now, but it may not be the same. 
  3. Assist with Estate Planning. Before your loved one experiences memory loss to the point that he or she is unable to make major decisions, check in about his or her estate planning. Make sure existing documents are updated and start from scratch where essential documents do not yet exist. If you wait to do this, it might be too late, if your loved one gets to the point where he or she is not able to fully understand his or her legal and medical affairs. 

 

Do you have questions? Please contact our law practice to learn more. We are here for you. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties.

No Time To Waste: Why Your Aging Parent Needs A Power Of Attorney Now

Have you talked to your parent about incapacity planning? Although talking with your aging parent about planning for his or her potential incapacity is never an easy task, it can be critical to have these difficult conversations to help ensure that your parent may be protected. A power of attorney can be an essential legal document because it can allow someone to put in place a plan for managing his or her affairs in the event he or she is unable to do so due to something such as incapacitation.  

 

An example of such a circumstance that may benefit from a power of attorney being in place could be a tragic car accident where a person suffers injuries that impact his or her ability to make sound decisions. Alternatively, a common concern as our parents get older, a senior may begin to suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s. With a power of attorney in place, you can help ensure that your aging parent’s wishes are carried out in accordance with his or her plan if your parent is ever in the position where he or she is unable to manage affairs.

 

In the power of attorney document, your parent will identify one or more persons to act as his or her agent in the event of incapacity. The power of attorney document outlines the specific powers and authority that the agent has and it can be crafted based on your parent’s wishes. The agent acting pursuant to the power of attorney is a fiduciary to your parent so the agent must act only in your parent’s best interest. It may be important to note that putting a durable power of attorney in place can be important for incapacity planning. The durability feature means that the power granted under the power of attorney survives incapacitation of the principal, your parent.  

 

If your aging parent does not have a power of attorney in place, then you may need to enlist the help of an experienced estate planning attorney to put one in place for your parent now. As with all estate planning, many people may think that there is no need to rush. A power of attorney, however, can be critical because, in many states, including Florida, if you feel that your parent is unable to manage his or her own affairs, you may need to have your parent placed under guardianship if there is no power of attorney in place. This may mean a court will have to determine whether your parent is in fact incapacitated and unable to act on his or her own behalf. The court may need to hear from a doctor or witnesses to make this decision.  Once your parent is deemed incapacitated, the court next decides who manages his or her affairs and how to do so. The power of attorney can eliminate the need for court intervention and give your parent the ability to control who acts as his or her agent. 

 

Do you have questions? Please contact our law practice to learn more. We are here for you. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties.

Five Tips For Helping Your Senior Loved Ones Avoid Feeling Isolated During COVID-19 And Beyond

Have you considered that our senior citizens may have been one of the groups most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, not just because they are the citizens with the highest fatality statistics, but also because they are forced into isolation to best ensure their safety? Many of them have lost their spouses, live far away from family, or live in a facility that may not allow visitors or only limited visitors during the pandemic. Let us review five tips for helping our senior loved ones stay connected during and after the pandemic.

  1. Increase your virtual contact. Make sure you are contacting your senior loved ones as much as possible, even if it is just a daily text message to say hello and to tell them you are thinking about them, it can give them something to look forward to every day.

  2. Send cards and gifts. Show how much you care by sending cards or small gifts to make them feel special and loved.

  3. Photos or videos of grandkids. Nothing may brighten up the face of our seniors more than seeing children. Since they probably cannot visit, make sure they still get to see their grandchildren. Send framed photos or photo albums that they can keep in their room. Text pictures and videos that they can save to their phone and view anytime they want. 

  4. Schedule virtual activities. Get activities on the calendar. Maybe you can schedule a weekly “story time with grandma” and block off a time when your senior loved one can read to a grandchild over Zoom, Facetime, or another virtual platform. Maybe your senior loved ones like to play board games and you can schedule a weekly virtual game night. Putting an activity consistently on their calendar can help keep them engaged in the family and avoid feeling isolated. 

  5. Visit outside. If feasible, and weather permitting, try to have outdoor and socially distant visits to get your loved ones out of the house and connected with you in person.  You could go for a walk or have an outdoor picnic to brighten their spirits.

 

Do you have questions? Please contact our law practice to learn more. We are here for you. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties.

Medicaid Planning for Florida Seniors

Did you know that, according to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, a person turning 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services, including assisted living or a nursing home? The median cost of a private room in a nursing home is over $100,000 annually, according to the Florida Health Care Association. Medicaid planning involves legally and ethically protecting assets for those who do not already qualify for Medicaid, and for those who qualify but may be expecting an influx of money, such as an inheritance or a personal injury settlement, so that individuals can make their money last longer and lead to the highest possible quality of life. 

 

The laws governing Medicaid can be complex. For 2021, the income cap to qualify for Medicaid in Florida is $2382.00, per month. If your monthly income, from all sources, exceeds the limit for this year, you will not qualify for Medicaid. You may, however, consider creating either a Miller Trust, a Qualified Income Trust (QIT), or a Supplemental Needs Trust. A Miller Trust is an irrevocable trust that accepts any monthly income over the income cap or slightly more, even though the Trust still uses that money to pay for your long-term care, minus a small personal allowance. These types of trusts may be structured so that certain assets and income sources are removed from the Medicaid calculation, allowing a person to then qualify to receive Medicaid benefits to cover the cost of long-term care.

 

Medicaid planning may require a thorough examination of your total asset portfolio. Our office can help you protect your home and other assets. This can be especially important if one spouse needs care and the other can live independently. Do you have questions? Please contact our law practice to learn more. We are here for you. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties.

Medicare Part D – What You Need To Know

If you’ve reached the point in your life that you’re insured by Medicare, you’re not alone. Tens of millions of American seniors also rely on Medicare to help pay for their healthcare needs, such as hospital care and outpatient medical services. But you may still be wondering if your prescription drugs will be covered. As of 2017, more than 42,000,000 Medicare beneficiaries had prescription drug coverage through Medicare part D, which is optional.

Anne’ Desormier-Cartwright of Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA, offer some insight. Medicare part C, is an alternative to original Medicare, as it allows program beneficiaries to receive their Medicare benefits through a private health insurance plan. But you may need to purchase a stand-alone drug plan if your specific Medicare Advantage Plan doesn’t include prescription drugs.

Medicare part D, pays for outpatient drug expenses. Each approved part D plan covers different drugs and co-pays for brand name and generic covered drugs. One way to get the Medicare part D enrollment process started, is to call 1-800-MEDICARE to locate prescription drug plans in your area.

There are other ways. To find out more, an elder law attorney can help with this matter and more. Elder and 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. Do not wait to contact their office for support.

Should Your Parents Pay You For Being Their Caregivers?

“They spent their lives taking care of you. Now it’s your turn to take care of your aging parents as they need assistance with daily tasks. It’s either you or outsourcing to outside caregivers or nursing homes, which can be expensive.

So what if you provide care for your parents and they pay you instead?

Anne Desormier Cartwright of Elder & Estate Planning Attorneys PA says:
“”In some instances, the IRS considers a paid family caregiver an employee because the elder parent tells them what to do and then pays them for their work, similar to any job. Accordingly, the elder parent, or the family member, can then be responsible for a variety of taxes depending on the amount of wages paid.””

In Florida specifically, a personal services agreement may need to be entered into between the aging parents and the adult child. With the help of an experienced elder law attorney, this contract can prevent any amount of money being paid to the child to later be seen as a gift should the parents need to apply for public benefits programs such as Medicaid.

Elder and 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. Do not wait to contact their office for support.”

Protecting Your Loved Ones From Elder Abuse

Elder abuse has become increasingly common especially in the state of Florida. Typically, elder abuse involves a financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult who is subjected to a trusted caregiver who will manipulate them and take their property without their permission. Elderly people are being robbed of assets they worked their entire lives to build. They’re being manipulated by people under a false pretense of trust and they’re quite literally paying for it. If you suspect an elderly friend or relative may be a victim of elder abuse and exploitation be aware that it’s something that can be reported to the court system and help that person have their assets returned to them. Elder and 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.

How to Avoid Family Conflict When Shifting from Family Elder Care, to Paid Caregiving

Most elder caregiving is performed by close family members, but almost inevitably, there may come a time when even the most dedicated family caregivers have to make room for paid care services.

This can create conflict between family members and run the risk of detracting from an elder loved one’s quality of care and overall well-being. We are here to tell you that it does not have to.

Family conflict, particularly among adult children, often results from:

  • Sibling rivalries and prior family disputes
  • An inability to cooperate and make important shared decisions
  • Disagreements about an elder loved one’s health and financial concerns
  • Uneven distributions of paid caregiving responsibilities

Whether due to a diagnosable illness like Alzheimer’s Disease, a debilitating injury or just plain old age, paid caregivers are well-suited to deliver positive health care results. This does not mean, however, that transitioning away from family care is going to occur smoothly.

First, the lion’s share of family caregiving usually falls on one particular adult child. It is important for other siblings to recognize all that this entails, as letting go can be challenging.

Forgoing income-generating opportunities and basing social and personal commitments around an aging parent is an enormous sacrifice. When combining the rigors of meal preparation, assistance with bathing, dressing, transportation, and other daily activities, elder caregiving can be exhausting.

This has to be acknowledged and respected, even if it is the primary elder caregiver who now wants to pay for help, and possibly relief. Conversely, a primary caregiver should recognize and work through any resentments from adult siblings and family members about his or her volunteer care.

Even the most “functional” families may bring old baggage to the table when facing difficult elder care decisions, but issues will need to be resolved with the elder loved one’s best interests in mind. Clear communication and mature compromise is a requirement. If disputes persist, then consulting a third-party expert for impartial guidance can be extremely helpful. As elder law professionals we can offer advice on sensitive issues and provide a healthy way forward. Do not wait to let us know what help you and your loved one’s need.