Family Elder Law Expert Blog
Family Elder Law is pleased to offer the legal blog entitled “The Family Elder Law Expert Blog,” authored by Jason A. Penrod, B.C.S., CELA. Jason is board certified as an Elder Law Expert by the Florida Bar and the National Elder Law Foundation. He is also the founder of Family Elder Law with offices in Lake Wales, Lakeland, and Sebring, Florida. The blog addresses legal issues of particular interest to our readers. In addition, the blog will answer individual questions from the readership on a wide range of topics.
Many people have been told that it is important for people to “avoid probate.” But just because people may have heard that term, doesn’t mean they know exactly what probate means, why it can be a problem or how to successfully avoid it. In this post, we will take a look at the term probate to understand exactly what it means, and what the process includes.
With our rapidly growing population of seniors, more and more families will be dealing with loved ones who will face trouble managing their daily finances. Being unable to fully manage financial matters puts the elderly at risk of financial insecurity, debt problems or serious paying for long-term care down the road. The good news is that if you or someone you know is dealing with this type of problem, there are solutions available. One of them is utilizing a Daily Money Management Program (DMM).
For those interested in information on Medicare, understand that applying for the benefit sometimes seems like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, Medicare is obviously a good resource because it provides medical benefits to seniors who are often on a fixed income. On the other hand, however, navigating the ins and outs of Medicare can be seriously confusing, causing many to give up in exasperation. If you are a senior and in need of medical care do not despair—there are numerous resources available to help you navigate the complicated details and minutiae of Medicare.
Within the next 20 years, the need for memory care housing options will become more necessary than ever. In 2016 alone, more than 2.5 million Baby Boomers turned 70 years old, the youngest boomers hitting age 52. With advancing age comes an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia. Recent estimates state that the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease could potentially triple from the 5 million sufferers in 2013 to around 14 million by the year 2050.
There is good news! Social Security payments have increased by 2% in 2018. The bad news? It’s not enough to keep up with inflation.
Aging is the sign of a successful life. After all, when you think about the alternative to aging your perspective about getting older shifts. You should start seeking self-sufficiency for your retirement years well before the age of sixty-five. But, even if you have not done so, don’t shun the planning stages. You need to address planning no matter what your age. Some preparation is better than none at all. It can provide you with some peace of mind and can take pressure off of family members who would have to make their own income adjustments to be able to provide money to support your cost of living.
Learning how to be more “Dementia Friendly” encompasses lessons such as what dementia is, what the signs of dementia are, and how to communicate with someone who has dementia. We also were informed as to how not to communicate with someone that has dementia and who to call for help when in need. In addition, we were taught the 10 common signs of caregiver stress so that we could better identify caregivers in distress.
Like most choices in life, it is important to choose wisely when picking an attorney. However, it is especially critical to select the right Elder Law attorney when one is needed due to the serious nature of issues that confront seniors and their families.
While most hospital discharges are agreed upon by doctors and their patients, there are some circumstances when there is disagreement about whether it’s time for the patient to leave. Most of those disagreements are with the insurance company or another payer who deems that patient’s time is up (and they will no longer pay.) But sometimes the situation is just the opposite. The patient feels as if he or she is ready to leave, but the doctors say no – they don’t believe that the patient is ready to go. If the patient does, indeed, walk out the door, it will be labeled, “Discharge Against Medical Advice (DAMA).”
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the biggest concerns many of us have as we get older. While you may have been told that all you can do is hope for the best and wait for a pharmaceutical cure, the truth is much more encouraging. Promising research shows that you can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias through a combination of simple but effective lifestyle changes.
Families may find a loved one ineligible for Florida’s Medicaid nursing home program (ICP Medicaid) because he or she receives a certain amount of income. This post discusses solutions to enable one to become eligible despite having “too much income”.
In February, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously sided with a 13-year-old Michigan girl with cerebral palsy who had been fighting with school officials for years over whether she could bring her service dog to school with her.
In a recent article, Hany Abdelaal, President of VNSNY Choice Health Plans, describes late-life anxiety this way. “It’s a pattern familiar to many of us with aging parents: the overwhelming worry or constant nervousness over day-to-day tasks, from taking medications to parking the car. Left untreated, this anxiety-related agitation in the elderly can disrupt sleep and eating, exacerbate chronic medical conditions, and ultimately contribute to a downward spiral of fear and isolation.”
Over recent years, many people have purchased long term care (LTC) insurance to protect themselves against the rising costs of care in their final years. But lately, policy holders have seen their premiums rise and/or benefits decrease. Two of the largest LTC insurance companies, MetLife and Unum, recently appeared before the Florida insurance commissioner to explain why they asked some of their policy holders to pay double what they paid in premiums the previous year.
There is a new MBI checklist that physicians and research professionals can use to help recognize and measure sharp changes in mood and behavior that may precede the memory and thinking problems of dementia. Eventually, a similar checklist may be used by caregivers and family members to document the nature and extent of symptoms, and measure changes over time.
A growing number of Medicare beneficiaries receive their care through HMOs and PPOs, known as Medicare Advantage plans. Yet little is known about the size and scope of the provider networks available to them, and participants can face significant expense if treated by an out-of-network provider. A new study from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation looked at Advantage plans in 20 diverse U.S. counties (accounting for 14% of those enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans nationwide in 2015) to evaluate how these provider networks are structured.
Researchers at the Mobility and Brain Function Program at the Institute for Aging Research (Harvard Medical School) are concentrating on understanding what causes older adults to fall, which will hopefully lead to development of preventive measures. They have found a direct correlation between balance and reduction of fall risk in older adults.
Veterans compensation is a tax-free benefit paid monthly to a veteran and/or eligible family members because of the veteran’s service-connected disability.
Fortunately, some hospitals are starting to recognize that elderly patients need special care. A growing number are making changes to better serve an aging community by treating the elderly in separate medical units called Acute Care for Elders (ACEs).