As you and your loved ones get older, new situations will be encountered that involve issues due to aging. You are not quite sure how to solve these problems. Where can you get advice? A good starting place is going to an attorney that specializes in elder law.
What is Elder Law?
Elder Law is a rapidly growing legal practice that assists senior citizens needing help and guidance with legal matters. It specifically focuses on older adults in areas such as estate planning, long-term care, medical directives, nursing home issues, and Medicaid.
Your parents are aging. You want to encourage them to develop an estate plan. This is a type of advance planning to organize property and financial assets and put in writing what a person’s wishes are for their assets after they are deceased. It is a hard conversation to have with your parents, but will be very useful after they have passed.
Long Term Care
As you age, you may begin thinking about the possibility that you might need assistance in everyday living when you get older. Or maybe your loved ones need that type of help now. There are several options.
- In-Home Help. Your loved one wants to continue to live at home. An in-home help service is hired to come into the home and help with everyday living. Maybe assistance is needed for just meals and light housekeeping. Or the assistance needs to be available all day, or maybe even day and night. A decision needs to be made about what type of service is needed in order to find the one that fits your loved one’s needs and income.
- Assisted Living. Your loved one can still basically care for themselves. For assisted living they have to move out of their home into their own assisted living apartment that has around the clock medical assistance. All meals are included, and social activities are available. Again, you will need to check out and compare different assisted living complexes and policies.
- Nursing Home. Maybe your loved one cannot take care of personal needs at all, and in-home care is too expensive. A move to a nursing home may be the answer. Nursing homes vary greatly, so you will need to visit several.
A Medical Directive is a way to let your family know your preferences for medical treatment. It is a good idea to have a medical directive completed in case of an emergency. Some different options are:
- Living Will. If you are unable to make medical decisions, this will spell them out. You can be as specific or as general as you would like.
- Durable Power of Attorney. If you are unable to make decisions, the person you have chosen for this duty will be able to handle legal procedures for you, such as signing checks, legal documents, and doing bank transactions.
- Health Care Proxy. For this document, you designate the person of your choice to make health care decisions if you are unable to do so.
Nursing Home Issues
If you or a loved one is having an issue with a nursing home, such as possible eviction, or the right to good care, or maybe just being kept in the loop about the individual situation, it may be necessary to contact an Elder Law attorney.
Many times families are not aware of what Medicaid does and does not pay for, especially in nursing home situations. Elder Law attorneys are familiar with Medicaid and nursing home rules.
If you have questions about Elder Law or any aspect of estate planning or long term care planning, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.