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

 

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.

Windfall Elimination Provision & Social Security

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

If you receive a pension from your employment that did not pay social security payroll taxes, your SSA benefit might be reduced by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). How can you know if this is your situation? Your social security statement does not reflect any reduction in benefits because of the WEP. The SSA will wait until you file to collect benefits to tell you what your reduction is in the event you qualify for both social security and a non-covered pension. Without the ability to accurately calculate your social security benefits in advance, your retirement planning becomes challenging. However, you do not have to wait until you file for Social Security to understand if a reduction in benefits will apply to you.

Addressing Abuse in Senior Living Facilities

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

If you have an elderly family member or friend living in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility, it is imperative to stay attuned to the signs of abuse to your loved one. The National Center on Elder Abuse reports the most common types of abuse include physical (29%), psychological (21%), gross neglect (14%), financial exploitation (14%), and sexual abuse (7%). While the facility's staff perpetrates the majority of these abuse cases, 22 percent of cases are a result of resident on resident abuse. However, these statistics reveal only part of the story.

Methods of Holding Title to Property

Monday, February 3rd, 2020

For many people, real property, including their home, is a big part of their overall net worth.  How the home and other pieces of real property is titled deserves careful consideration. Real estate constitutes the land and any structure, including vegetation, livestock, crops, and other natural resources that sit on the land under the state’s law. Real estate can be commercial or residentially owned. Ultimately how you hold a property title has far-reaching consequences for liability, and when it comes time for sale or the bequeathing of it as an inheritable asset.

New Insights on Parkinson's

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes a progression of symptoms including, body tremors, limb rigidity, Bradykinesia (slow movement), as well as balance and gait problems. The cause of Parkinson’s disease (PD) remains largely unknown. One well-known indicator of PD is the dying off of predominately dopamine-producing neurons (dopaminergic) in a particular region of the brain. While the disease is not itself considered to be fatal, serious complications can occur. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists complications from Parkinson’s disease as the 14th leading cause of death among Americans. Official estimates for 2020 estimate that approximately 930,000 people age 45 or older will be living with the disease.

Have a Family Caregiving Meeting

Monday, January 27th, 2020

A family caregiving meeting is an essential tool when dealing with the care of an aging loved one. These meetings are beneficial for helping to keep all family members abreast of decisions that need to be made, changes in diagnosis or prognosis, and helps to ensure that all family members feel that they have a voice. Family meetings can also help to keep caregiving responsibilities from falling solely on the shoulders of one family member. In addition, family caregiving meetings can foster cooperation among family members and lessen the stress associated with caring for an aging loved one.

Planning for Blended Families Is Crucial

Friday, January 24th, 2020

Couples often bring children into a marriage from a prior marriage or union and then have children together. This is often referred to as a blended family. Blended families highlight the need for careful estate planning to make sure the needs of each spouse are met, as well as the needs of each parents' children.

 

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