Nobody really wants to think in advance about accidents or illness. But if no advance planning has been done, and if an elderly parent has broken a hip, say, and is about to be discharged from the hospital, the family must make crucial decisions in a highly stressful situation. There may be little, if any, time to figure out which living option is the best.
So, plan ahead with your parents. If possible, you will have your strategy ready when it’s needed.
Would your parents want to stay home? Move to a retirement community? Relocate to be closer to children?
Research the options. You might be surprised at how attractive many retirement communities are. There are increasing opportunities for independent or assisted living. Some facilities also offer transition into memory care, if that becomes needed.
Look into Caring.com, or call 800.973.1540. This is a comprehensive resource that offers information and guidance nationally, for living options and caregivers. Then, when you have researched what’s out there, talk with your parents about the pros and cons of the various choices.
Most people want to stay home for as long as possible. In-home care might be an option.
To connect with caregiving services for older adults and families, consult Eldercare Locator, a service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, on-line at eldercare.acl.gov or at 1.800.677.1116. The Eldercare Locator also provides information on local Area Agencies on Aging. These can be very helpful.
A care manager might be an option. These people have the experience and expertise to coordinate the many elements involved in elder care: medical providers, financial planners, elder-law attorneys, and rehabilitation specialists. Or, such people can work on an hourly basis, to pick up prescriptions, accompany your parent to doctors’ appointments, and coordinate communication with long-distance family. Find care managers through the Aging Life Care Association, aginglifecare.org, or at 520.881.8008.
If possible, urge your parents to get their legal documents in order while they are still in good health.
That is the best time to make sure that your parents have done the necessary legal documents. They may want to visit our office by themselves, but suggest to them that they provide you with copies of the documents. That way you will have the papers ready when you need them, and you won’t have to search for them under time pressure.
You can hope for the best, or you can plan for your parents’ well-being.
Do both. Contact Cruz Gold and Associates at (609) 924-8500 for assistance.
Many aging Americans depend on family members or friends to help manage their financial, health, and other affairs during retirement and beyond. They often believe that their family members will be able to take care of any issues that arise. While consulting with loved ones about plans and wishes can be beneficial, relying solely on them can cause problems in the long run for both seniors and their families.
Instead, it is best to seek the advice of an elder law attorney when it comes to putting proper planning in place. The issues around retirement, wills, and estate planning are often complex. Working with a legal professional can help seniors navigate these details to ensure that decisions and plans are suited to their specific situation.
Having legal arrangements in place related to retirement benefits, assets, and to determine who will be responsible for the welfare of an aging loved one can also help to avoid family disputes, and ensure that assets are preserved as intended. And although we’d like to assume family members always have seniors’ best interests at heart, legally-binding arrangements also protect against abuse and financial exploitation.
But it isn’t just seniors that benefit from working with a legal professional. Elder law attorneys can also assist heirs and beneficiaries by ensuring that assets don’t fall into wrongful hands due to debts, divorces, or other extenuating circumstances. They can also help beneficiaries avoid the long and complicated probate process.
Elder law attorney expertise
Elder law attorneys have the expertise to help seniors and their loved ones navigate all of the legal issues impacting the elderly. They can help clients to better understand Medicare and Medicaid programs and laws, and assist clients and families with all of the legal aspects of planning, including drafting wills, estate plans, and trusts.
Below is a list of some of the services elder law attorneys provide:
Medicaid Eligibility, Applications, and Planning
Medicare Eligibility and Claims
Social security and disability claims and appeals
Long-term care planning
Financial planning for long-term care
Drafting wills and trusts
Medical Power of Attorney
Financial Power of Attorney
Elder abuse case management
Nursing home issues and disputes
Establishing and managing Estates and Trusts
Tax advice and planning strategies
Seniors tend to procrastinate planning due to the unpleasant associations of illness and death. Elder law attorneys can alleviate that discomfort by facilitating family conversations and shifting the focus to the positive benefits of planning and preparedness. Cost can also deter seniors from seeking legal advice and services, however, failing to plan can ultimately end up being far more expensive.
No matter the issue at hand, seniors and their loved ones will benefit from working with a legal professional. If you’d like to learn more about how elder law services can help you or an aging loved one, contact our office today.