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.
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).
A 2015 study in JAMA Psychiatry found that elderly patients prescribed antipsychotics had significantly higher mortality rates than previously thought, and that mortality was found to increase as doses increased. In addition, a research article, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Mark Olfson and his colleagues concluded that about 80% of the prescriptions to those over 65 were for atypical antipsychotics concluding that more than three-quarters of elderly patients receiving antipsychotics do not have a psychiatric diagnosis and the likelihood of taking these drugs increases with age.
Most of us look forward to a retirement filled with leisure and relaxation, but many older Americans are facing financial difficulties that are destroying their retirement dreams. One article I read recently addressed some of seniors’ biggest financial challenges and what they can do to fight back. What follows is a summary of the article.
A few years ago, I wrote an article advising readers to make having their estate planning documents together as part of their New Year’s resolution. However, after further reflection, I have come to realize that the message of that article wasn’t broad enough.
I firmly believe that it is best to admit when one doesn’t know if a legal document is effective rather than to just assume its effectiveness. This article focuses on the effectiveness of one document in particular—a Durable Power of Attorney.
Clients tend to want to avoid Probate like they do the plague. There is also much confusion on the subject as many people are not sure what the Probate proceess entails. They just know that Probate is usually a bad word and perceived to be avoided at all costs.