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The Benefits of In-Home Care for Seniors When Compared with Nursing Homes

June 19, 2017

Filed under: Aging In Place — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

As you or your elderly parents age, there will frequently come a time when a new level of care becomes important. This is the appropriate time to consider how Medicaid can help assist with your financial planning but it is also time to consider whether or not it makes sense to have in-home care or to consider a nursing home for your loved one. When such a change becomes necessary, you need to be able to evaluate all of your options quickly. Aging at home is one common alternative to nursing homes.

Geriatric facilities are moving away these days from providing long term care beds to increasing the number of rehabilitative beds they offer instead. Since Medicare pays $500-$600 per day for a rehabilitative bed, while Medicaid only pay $125 a day for a long-term care event, this means that there is decline in the availability of long-term care beds, making it harder to find a space in an affordable and high-quality facility around the country. In-home care may be one solution that your family is eligible to use. 

Home care options are much less expensive than a permanent facility and allow an individual to age in place and get the help that he or she needs in the comfort of their own surroundings. Finding the right person to provide in-home care is critical. Increased access to necessary services, better feelings of independence and cost savings are just a couple of the reasons why you and your family members may consider in-home care versus a permanent nursing home placement. Make sure to do your research about the provider for in-home care to feel confident about your final decision. This can help put you at ease regarding a great deal of the fears associated with helping a loved one transition into a new phase in their life.

Helping a Loved One Age in Place

January 17, 2017

Filed under: Aging In Place — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

One of the biggest concerns for the retiring population and individuals approaching older ages has to do with being able to age in place. More than ever, people are interested in living out their retirement years and beyond in their own home and comfortable surroundings rather than in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospital. 

Careful planning can allow for this situation to become a reality, but family members should always be aware of the best way to support a loved one who has the desire to stay in his or her home. This means thinking ahead about how other support structures, such as visiting family members or a paid individual who checks on your loved one every so often, can give peace of mind to everyone involved.

The first step in this process is to recognize that your loved one’s home as it stands now may not support his or her needs. Some modifications may be necessary in order to help your loved one live a more independent life. It may be worth scheduling a meeting with your family member’s doctor in order to better understand his or her needs and how some changes within the house might be both necessary and helpful.

Recognize that an outside individual in the form of companion support or a home health aide may be the extra level of help your loved one needs so that all the tasks of caregiving do not fall on family members, who may be unable to keep up with a consistent schedule or struggle with overwhelm.

Including all relevant family members as well as healthcare providers for your loved one in the plans for aging in place can allow you to see some of the pros and cons of this decision. Proper support and planning ahead can go a long way.

How to Help An Elderly Loved One Avoid Identity Theft

March 8, 2016

Filed under: Aging In Place,Baby Boomer Generation — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Unfortunately, identity theft is on the rise and elderly individuals may be most vulnerable to having their accounts hacked. They might not even realize that this has happened until it is far too late. There are several different things you can do to help your elderly loved one avoid identity theft. Use these tips to prevent an unfortunate incident.shutterstock_78312646

  • Do not have your elderly loved one carry their social security card with them. Instead it should be stored in a safe place.
  • Never attach your social security number or a personal identification number to any card that you are carrying, or store this on a piece of paper or receipt that your loved one is carrying.
  • Make sure that your relative has signed all of their credit cards immediately. It is best to use credit cards that only have the new chip technology.
  • Make sure that your elderly loved one always checks his or her receipts to ensure that they received their own as opposed to someone else’s.
  • Shred any documents that have a social security number, account number or pin number located on it.
  • Make sure that you check your elderly loved one’s credit reports on a regular basis so that you can be alerted to fraud as soon as possible.
  • Have your loved one store passwords for all accounts in a safe location.
  • Contact debit card or credit card issuers immediately if you believe that your loved one has been subject to identity theft. Doing this can help to stop the thieves before it goes any further.

Key Tips for Choosing a Caregiver for an Elderly Loved One

February 24, 2016

Filed under: Aging In Place — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

More than 41 million Americans have a chronic health condition that minimizes their daily activities in some way and 12 million are unable to live independently. Out of the 1 in 5 elderly individuals who have reached age 85, more than half need long-term care or are impaired in some manner.shutterstock_151335704

Most people in this situation want to continue to live independently in their own home as long as possible. For those with disabilities who are also elderly, that is possible only by bringing in outside help. Keep these tips in mind when hiring a caregiver for your elderly loved one:

  • Assess home care needs.
  • Write a job description.
  • Develop a job contract with details.
  • Know where to look for a caregiver.
  • Interview applicants.
  • Check references as well as a criminal background check.
  • Hire thoughtfully.

Continue to monitor the potential employee’s performance long after he or she has begun working for your loved one.

What Does Physical Caregiving Have To Do With Elder Law Planning?

January 21, 2016

Filed under: Aging In Place — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

According to recent research and stories by the New York Times, more adult children are moving closer to their parents. If you live within 20 minutes of your aging parents then you can be seen as a typical American. Physical proximity can play a critical role when an elder family member needs caregiving.shutterstock_296020625

The median distance that Americans live from their mother is only 18 miles and it turns out that only 20 percent of individuals live more than a few hours’ drive away from their parents. The primary reason for focusing on women is that women tend to be caregivers more often. Caregiving goes both ways as an adult child may benefit from an elderly loved one babysitting their grandchildren, for example.

That being said, living close to your parents can be problematic even when you are just a couple of miles away, if your elderly loved one is experiencing advanced signs of aging. This is why it is imperative to consider all of your caregiving options and determine when Medicaid or other issues may kick in and help with this process. Speak with an elder law planning attorney today to learn more.

Proactive versus reactive approaches in elder law planning

August 17, 2015

Filed under: Aging In Place,Baby Boomer Generation — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Although it is certainly possible to achieve a fair amount with reactive planning in an elder law crisis, it is much easier to plan in advance. An elder crisis with no prior planning might leave invested parties with only a will or a will and power of attorney to review. Even if these documents are clear, they might be just part of the puzzle when it comes to elder law planning. If a will or power of attorney is all you have in place, your loved ones might struggle to answer pertinent questions down the line if something happens to you. CZwBoPsXAxqmnWRu0IcQzBOq-zBKlJ3es7lZfGpfZsA

Being proactive with elder law planning can help to reduce stress, but it can also be important for saving money. For example, buying long-term care insurance can help to protect your assets even in the event a crisis that requires nursing home care or other advanced medical assistance. Planning can also help to address the potential of where you would like to live when you are older. You should never assume that your family members are clear about your plans or that they are all on the same page with regard to your care. If you have desires about medical treatment in the future, they should be communicated early.

Ready to get ahead on the planning process? Contact us today to get started.

Elder Law Costs Compared: Assisted Living, Nursing Home, and In-Home Care

June 16, 2015

Filed under: Aging In Place,Baby Boomer Generation — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

The baby boomer generation is a big one, and the impact on health care services is reported widely throughout the news. According to US News and World Report, over the course of the next two decades, more than 10,000 baby boomers will reach age 65 every single day. This statistic is causing more individuals to think about planning ahead for long-term care and the inevitable costs associated with it. Whether you’re nearing this category yourself or whether you’re helping a parent plan, it pays to be informed about care options. 18scG5olSFcN_T7nAvlyJR0UuPaAw6Op6b14U7fh3j8

Many people are not aware that in-home care can exceed the costs of assisted living-location is also a factor, especially if you or your loved one lives in the city. The costs in urban areas surpass non-urban areas by as much as 15 percent.

Bear in mind as well that quality and cost can also vary quite a bit between independent care and agency staff, although the latter usually fall under licensing and accreditation standards. The average costs for the various types of care nationwide are as follows:

  • In-home care: Monthly cost of $4500
  • Nursing home care: Monthly cost of $550-6200
  • Assisted living: Monthly cost of $3000

Many people are not informed about just how easy it is to spend though assets and leave a healthy spouse with the financial fallout. Protect yourself by planning ahead- contact our office today for more information. Contact us at info@lawesq.net.

Elder Care: Nursing Home Alternatives

June 2, 2015

Filed under: Aging In Place — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

By the year 2050, more than 1/5 of the population will be aged 65 or older. Although one of the most common solutions to the challenges of aging is to move an elderly relative to the nursing home, it’s certainly not the only option. There are situations where your loved one may not thrive there, and sometimes their care needs are just not at the level of a nursing home. This is when it’s a good option to consider alternatives like senior living or assisted living. shutterstock_181395782

Networking between seniors in these communities helps create a village concept regarding recommended services, helping one another, and coordinated outings. Local volunteers can extend this process by helping when needed and looking out for individuals who may have greater needs. Federal efforts to ensure that low-income housing  is available to seniors also allows for greater aging in place, keeping your loved ones at home as they grow older but with some level of supervision.

To learn more about planning for the future with regards to long-term care, contact us at info@lawesq.net.

Guardianship for a family member with Alzheimer’s

May 29, 2014

Filed under: Aging In Place — Tags: , , , , — Neel Shah @ 12:51 pm

May was celebrated as Elder Law Month, and as the baby boomer generation ages, guardianship of an elder may be a growing concern. Although guardianship is most often discussed regarding minor children, it can be a helpful tool for older family members, too.

Guardianship for a family member with Alzheimers
(Photo Credit: medcitynews.com)

One in three people age 65 or older will contract some form of simple disability (cognition, vision or hearing impairment, the inability to get around without assistance, etc.). A diagnosis of such a disability may highlight the difficulty that individual faces in daily living. More difficult than basic aging or simple disability is the presence of Alzheimer’s; according to the Alzheimer’s Association five million are living with it presently, at a cost in 2013 amounting to $203 billion.

Being watchful for thesigns of Alzheimer’s can be an important step in recognizing the need to consider guardianship: among them, memory loss affecting daily living; the inability to complete familiar tasks; misplacing things; confusion over either time or place.

If the elder person does not have a power of attorney or advance directive, you can go into court and seek a declaration of incompetence. Subsequent appointment as a guardian will mean assuming decision-making for living arrangements, the management of finances and medical choices–the last two critical as out-of-pocket costs for older Americans have jumped 46 percent since the year 2000.The guardian has the legal duty to act in the best interest of the ward, and only in those areas permitted by the court. Those looking into guardianship for older parents may want to evaluate their own estate plans at the same time.

Difficulties may extend or render contentious the achieving of a guardianship role. If other family members cannot agree on the need, or on the proper person, the process can be lengthy. Further, the elder individual has the legal right to contest, and the determination of the court will only follow upon extensive expert evidence. Planning for your needs in advance can be extremely helpful for reducing family conflict. To learn more about applying for guardianship in New Jersey or planning to avoid the need, reach out to us at info@lawesq.net or contact us via phone at 732-521-9455.

The Fifteen Best Countries for Overseas Retirement in 2014

February 26, 2014

Filed under: Aging In Place,Estate Planning,Power of Attorney,Retirement Planning — Neel Shah @ 10:00 am

It is not uncommon for Americans to spend significant time away from their home state in order to take advantage of more favorable living conditions. Be it to live for less, for diversity investments, or to simply enjoy one last adventure, more and more Americans are choosing to retire abroad. A recent article discusses the 15 best countries for Americans to retire in 2014.

The Annual Global Retirement Index created the list based on a series of factors, including the price of necessary goods and services such as groceries and utilities, average temperature, and friendliness of the locals. As executive editor Jennifer Stevens explains, the list is “designed to be a real-world snapshot of the places we deem most worth a potential-retiree’s attention today.”

English: View of the Chagres River in Gamboa, ...

English: View of the Chagres River in Gamboa, Panama. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topping the list for 2014 is Panama. As Stevens explains, Panama offers American retirees a “great combination of variety and value…No matter what it is you’re hoping to find, Panama is a good place to look for it.” The remaining rankings are as follows: (2) Ecuador, (3) Malaysia, (4) Costa Rica, (5) Spain, (6) Colombia, (7) Mexico, (8) Malta, (9) Uruguay, (10) Thailand, (11) Ireland, (12) New Zealand, (13) Nicaragua, (14) Italy and (15) Portugal.

Taking advantage of overseas options does not always mean changing your place of residence, but precautions should be taken to make sure that your estate plan is appropriately adjusted for your travel. To determine your unique considerations before booking your tickets, consult with a qualified estate-planning attorney.

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Dealing with Early-Stage Alzheimer’s

October 23, 2013

Filed under: Aging In Place,Caregivers,Elder Law,Long Term Care,Medicaid,Nursing Homes — Neel Shah @ 9:00 am

Currently, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States is Alzheimer’s disease. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of deaths caused by Alzheimer’s disease increased by 68 percent. By 2050, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease is set to increase to 13.8 million. As a recent article explains, Alzheimer’s could quite possibly become an epidemic, if it is not one already.

English: PET scan of a human brain with Alzhei...

English: PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer’s disease (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If a loved one in your family begins to display the signs of Alzheimer’s disease, the first thing a family should do (beyond medical attention) is be sure that the family member has executed a will, durable financial power of attorney, and health care power of attorney. These documents allow the person to direct how his or her assets will be distributed upon his or her death, and also to direct who should make medical and financial decisions for him or her when he or she is no longer capable.

Importantly, a person diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s may still be able to sign these legal documents. When a loved one is suffering from short-term memory or vocabulary loss, but still has a grasp on reality, he or she can often show the necessary mental capacity to create legal documents.  Although it is best if these documents are created prior to the early-stage dementia, if that is not possible, have a geriatric psychologist evaluate the person immediately prior to signing.

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‘Spending Down’ for Medicaid Coverage: A Cautionary Tale

October 16, 2013

Filed under: Aging In Place,Elder Law,Long Term Care,Medicaid,Spending Down — Neel Shah @ 9:00 am

Medicaid is a need-based public benefit program that assists citizens in paying for medical care. Therefore, a person can only receive benefits if he or she meets certain income criteria. In order to meet the criteria, many people attempt to spend down their assets. However, if not done properly, a ‘Medicaid spend-down’ could have disastrous consequences. A recent article tells the story of Eugene Shipman, who ran into trouble after attempting to spend down his assets to qualify for Medicaid.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Me...

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Medicaid administrator) logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shipman and his wife, Arline, began the spend down process in April of 2008, so that Arline would qualify for Medicaid coverage for her anticipated and impending care needs. As part of this spend-down, Eugene disinherited her in his will executed in March of 2009. Following the drafting of the will, Arline’s son, David – who exercised her power of attorney – disclaimed any inheritance from Eugene on her behalf.

Then, in 2010, Eugene unexpectedly passed away. Arline’s attorney scrambled to file a petition to claim an elective share of Eugene’s estate on her behalf. When the trial court denied the petition, Medicaid got involved and asked the court to reconsider. Luckily, the appellate court revoked the disclaimer and granting Arline the elective share.

Had the court determined that the disclaimer should not be revoked, not only would she have lost her Medicaid eligibility, but she would have also missed out on half of Eugene’s estate. The story of Eugene and Arline should remind individuals that they must seek competent counsel and take caution when involved in a Medicaid spend down.

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ALERT: New Rules for Reverse Mortgages

October 2, 2013

Filed under: Aging In Place,Elder Law,Long Term Care,Medicaid,Reverse Mortgages — Neel Shah @ 2:16 pm

As the costs of long-term care continue to rise, more and more elderly Americans are turning to reverse mortgages in order to fund these costs. A reverse mortgage allows a homeowner aged 62 or older to convert his or her home equity into cash while also remaining in the home. The homeowner can choose to accept this cash through a line of credit, monthly payment, or lump sum. As a recent article explains, the rules surrounding reverse mortgages are about to change.

Logo of the Federal Housing Administration.

Logo of the Federal Housing Administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”), which insures and regulates reverse mortgages, recently announced that it will modify the reverse mortgage program in order to reduce the incidence of default. Two major changes include lower caps on borrowing limits and new rules that will make it even harder to obtain a reverse mortgage.

The FHA plans to change the borrowing limits in order to reduce the cap on the amount that a borrower can receive in the first year of a reverse mortgage. After the new rules are implemented, a borrower will only be able to take up to 60 percent of the appraisal value of the home. This amount is reduced from the previous cap of 75 percent.

The FHA will also implement various rules that will make it harder to obtain a reverse mortgage. These rules will also likely reduce the size of the loan that borrowers will be able to receive. The new rules are scheduled to take effect on October 1.

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“Safe at Home: New Programs Aim at Helping Senior Citizens to ‘Age in Place’”

August 28, 2013

Filed under: Aging In Place,Caregivers,Nursing Homes — Neel Shah @ 9:00 am

The vast majority of senior citizens aspire to “age in place,” or remain in their home for as long as possible. This desire can often be problematic, however, as most homes are not equipped to safely house an aging senior citizen. A recent article discusses a study currently being conducted to determine how to assist seniors in their goal of aging in place.

85 years

85 years (Photo credit: jaded one)

The purpose of the study, which is being conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University, is to show that older Americans can delay an impending nursing home stay for at least a year. The delay is effectuated through assisting the seniors with inexpensive housing modifications and customized strategies for daily living.

Known as the Capable Project, the project will send handymen, occupational therapists, and nurses to 800 senior citizens. These professionals will implement minor safety improvements on the homes, as well as provide the seniors with individualized strategies for daily living. Each senior participant will receive approximately $1,100 in home improvements, which may include new banisters, grab bars in bathrooms, wider doorways, and better lighting. Seniors will also be given tools to address common challenges such as managing medications and cooking for themselves.

If senior citizens are successfully kept independent longer, taxpayers will save millions that would have been spent for nursing home care. In addition, senior citizens will have more personalized care and attention while enjoying their familiar lifestyle and home environment.

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