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.

Family Elder Law Expert Blog

 

End-Of-Life Care Decisions & The Documents You Need

Saturday, March 7th, 2020

You may think your living will is in order, including instructions regarding resuscitation commonly referred to as a DNR (do not resuscitate). While your wishes in a living will may be appropriately documented, that does not guarantee the instructions will be carried out as you stated. The frightening truth is that mistakes about your end-of-life instructions are made while you are at your most vulnerable. Dr. Monica Williams-Murphy, medical director of advance-care planning and end-of-life education for Huntsville Hospital Health System in Alabama has said, “Unfortunately, misunderstandings involving documents meant to guide end-of-life decision-making are surprisingly common.”

Financial Planning for Millennials

Friday, March 6th, 2020

Millennials include fiscally conservative, savings oriented, and future planners seeking financial freedom as core attributes. A large part of millennials' formative years was influenced by the US sub-prime mortgage crisis beginning in 2007, shortly followed by an international banking crisis, which led to what became known as the Great Recession. The millennial generation would have ranged from ages 11 – 26 years of age when this economic downturn began. Living through this economic volatility, not seen since the Great Depression, gave rise to the fiscally conservative millennial mindset. The other socio-economic force that continues to shape the millennial fiscal mindset is the student loan crisis. Cbinsights.com finds 41 percent of millennials carry student loan debt for which there is no personal bankruptcy relief. This debt crisis places unique financial pressures on nearly half of a generation, and many are seeking new ways to manage their income, debt, and future savings. 

When An Inheritance May Not Be Such A Good Thing

Thursday, March 5th, 2020

Say your spouse is living in a nursing home because of advanced Parkinson’s. Your spouse is currently receiving Medicaid benefits to pay for the high cost of that care. If you were to pass before your spouse, you wouldn’t want your spouse to inherit all your life savings, no matter how much you love your spouse. Inheriting all of your life savings would jeopardize your spouse’s Medicaid benefits, and that is not what you want to see happen.

Elder Law Attorneys & What They Do

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

According to the US Census Bureau, more than 51 million Americans are currently aged 65 or older, and the number is steadily increasing while medical and technological advancements are allowing seniors to live longer and better lives than ever before. The expanding needs of the US aging population are contributing to an increase in federal government senior assistance programs complexity and availability. Every senior has a unique set of circumstances that set parameters to navigate a successful aging plan, and the best way to determine what your plan should be is to retain the counsel of an elder law attorney (preferably one that is Board Certified in Elder Law).

How Best to Hire In-Home Health Care Services

Monday, March 2nd, 2020

There is a wide range of home health care services available from daily household tasks to medical care. Before identifying a health care service for information, get a clear idea of what you are in the market for, be it recovery from surgery or long-term care for a chronic illness. The first step is to determine what you need help with and how often you need that help. Then assess your budget to provide home health care services. Get the specific information together about the types of insurance you will be relying on for payment. Determine what your loved one’s comfort level is with the process. A non-compliant recipient of care is going to make for misery all around. Have open and non-threatening discussions with your loved one and listen to their concerns. They may give you refined information about what type of individual to look for in a home health aide such as a non-smoker, early riser, card player, fastidiously neat person, an aide with experience with a specific chronic disease, or a multi-lingual aide.

Telehealth Technology & Home Medical Care

Friday, February 28th, 2020

The silver tsunami of Americans aging into 65 or more years puts additional strain on an already overtaxed US health care system which is running low on doctors, nurses, and caregivers. The surge in baby boomer seniors and near-seniors has put a focus on Telehealth and mHealth technology platforms which provide solutions that improve senior care monitoring, coordination, and management while aging in place. Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information by way of electronic information and telecommunication technologies while mHealth is its mobile counterpart. Both platforms allow long-distance patient/clinician contact and care, advice, reminders, education, intervention, monitoring, and remote admissions. The benefits of these technologies are particularly significant for seniors living in rural areas where medical facilities can be far from home.

People Are Changing Their Retirement Planning

Thursday, February 27th, 2020

In France, proposals to raise the retirement age are met with street protests. Yet around the world, the retirement age is creeping up; in the United States, it is moving up from 65 to 67. In fact, 2019 research shows that many Americans expect that they might never retire at all. People simply do not have enough saved to retire comfortably. Americans, in particular, are concerned about whether or not Social Security will be able to provide for them, and health care costs continue to rise. At least some economists encourage today’s workers to stay employed until 70 in order to keep saving.

How to Pay for Assisted Living

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

Assisted living rent can vary from $2,000 to $5,000 monthly. Depending on what type of care your loved one needs, assisted living can be the most affordable solution when compared to a nursing home ($5,000 to $10,000 or more per month) or long-term in-home care. If closely monitored medical supervision is not necessary for your aging senior, assisted living might be the best financial choice.

Can I Lose My Home?

Monday, February 24th, 2020

Home ownership is the American Dream. People work hard all their lives to own a home, and it is often their most valuable and significant possession. So when health begins to fail and the need for long-term care arises, we often get this fear-filled question from our clients: will they take away my home?

Passing On Family Values Through Your Planning

Friday, February 21st, 2020

Successfully addressing and legally formalizing inheritance of family values and assets can be challenging, especially if parents wait too long to begin instilling family values. Undoubtedly the best time to teach and empower your children as eventual inheritors of your family legacy is during childhood, then continuing throughout adulthood. Waiting until your later stages in life to discuss family values as a guide to handling inherited worth is often ill-received as grown adult children prefer not to feel parented anymore, particularly when they are raising children of their own. 

Medicare Recipients Finding It Harder to Keep Home Health Care

Thursday, February 20th, 2020

All across the US, there is a new refrain spoken by Medicare home health providers, including occupational, speech, and physical therapists, social services, as well as intermittent skilled nurses: "Your husband (or whomever) is not going to get better, so we will have to discontinue our services as Medicare will not pay for it." Termination of care is swift, often within 48 hours of delivering the message, and the home health care chores fall to the family system or must be paid for out of family funds. So what changed?

How To Plan After A Dementia Diagnosis

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

Many elderly people who are diagnosed with dementia are unprepared for future care. Once this type of diagnosis is received, preparing for the future can no longer be avoided. If you or someone you love has received a dementia diagnosis, begin immediately to discuss and seek guidance for future care. For help in implementing the steps that need to be taken and for developing a plan, seek the guidance of an experienced elder law attorney.

Which Medical Alert System To Use

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

Your parent recently had a stroke and is returning home after a long stay in the hospital and in-patient rehabilitation. The care providers assure you that your parent will be fine returning home, but you still worry. How can you make sure your parent is safe at home?

Baby Boomers In This Decade

Friday, February 14th, 2020

The baby boom generation is comprised of those Americans born 1946-1964, and according to the US Census Bureau (Bureau of Census), their numbers are estimated to be 73 million strong. This number represents nearly 20 percent of the American public. As they enter their 60, 70, and 80th decades, their influence will help to guide how billions of federal funds will be spent on critical public services like health care, housing, and social safety net programs like social security. The guiding forces behind baby boomer life in the 2020s are high expectations during a much longer retirement, more investment choices but less investment safety, and rising interest rates. There is more of a reliance on personal savings instead of pensions (which are often underfunded), while the gap of aging success between the rich and the poor remains.

A Different Approach to Alzheimer's Patients Living in Facilities

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

The National Institute of Health (NIH) Library of Medicine reports the most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, accounting for approximately two-thirds of all diagnosed cases of dementia. Alzheimer’s is also one of the most expensive diseases to treat and often results in financial strain on families trying to find and pay for the best care. In the past, care in facilities often resulted in Alzheimer’s patients being separated from others. However, as you’ll read below, facilities are now exploring better ways to treat Alzheimer’s patients while living in a facility.

What Do I Do After A Diagnosis of Dementia?

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

Many elderly people who are diagnosed with dementia are unprepared for future care. Once this type of diagnosis is received, preparing for the future can no longer be avoided. If you or someone you love has received a dementia diagnosis, begin immediately to discuss and seek guidance for future care. For help in implementing the steps that need to be taken and for developing a plan, seek the guidance of an experienced elder law attorney.

Senior Bill Paying Services

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

If you are a senior or have a loved one who is struggling with the process of paying their household bills, Silver Bills can eliminate the task and alleviate the worry about proper handling of monthly bills. As many baby boomers continue to opt for aging in place, home administrative tasks can become problematic.  Family members who would like to help may live out of state or are too busy in their own careers to manage a loved one's household bills. SilverBills has created a seamless service that will receive your bills, carefully review them, and ensure that your bills are correctly paid.

Qualifying for VA Pension Without Being Disabled

Sunday, February 9th, 2020

It is a challenge to keep up with US Military benefits as they are always changing, and many veterans miss out on what can be life-changing aid. Many wartime veterans receive a disability pension due to injury. But did you know that wartime veterans age 65 or more may qualify for a VA Pension without being disabled? The Veteran’s Administration qualifications for this type of VA Pension include:

  • Your military service discharge is deemed anything other than dishonorable conditions,
  • Your service was 90 or more active duty days with at minimum one day of service during a period of wartime.
  • You are age 65 years or older,
  • Your countable family income is below a threshold set every year by law.

Social Security Disability Qualification

Saturday, February 8th, 2020

Anyone can become either temporarily or permanently disabled. Some projections are estimating that Americans in their 20s today have an approximate 30 percent chance of experiencing a disability profound enough to cause them to miss three or more months of work before retiring. Despite the risks, most Americans do not carry short or long-term disability insurance. Close to half of all mortgage foreclosures are due to owners being struck with a disability, and fewer than 15 percent of people who purchase life insurance opt for disability insurance. The Social Security Administration (SSA) was tasked in 1956 to address disability and work income by creating a disability insurance program. Throughout its long history, additional rules have contributed to its complex regulations and eligibility requirements that make applying for disability benefits difficult.

New Hope for Alzheimer's Prevention

Friday, February 7th, 2020

Researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University recently announced that pharmacological "chaperone therapy" can prevent Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in mice. Alzheimer’s is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that currently has no cure. Abnormal clumps (amyloid-beta plaques) and tangled fiber bundles (neurofibrillary or tau tangles) create brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Loss of connections between neurons that transmit messages to different parts of the brain, and brain to organs and muscles in the body, are compromised.

 

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