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.
Most of us don’t like to think about the possibility of something harmful happening to us or a loved one. Because of this, we rarely think about how to protect ourselves and our loved ones if the worst were to happen. However, just as it is important to buy home insurance to protect your home and auto insurance to protect your vehicle, every individual should have an advanced care directive to protect themselves if they were no longer able to make decisions for their health care, end of life, living arrangements, and various other personal matters.
Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December of 2017 which is aimed at cutting taxes for corporations and all Americans. While the bulk of the legislation went into effect January 2018, most taxpayers will not see much of a difference in their taxes until 2019, when they file their 2018 taxes. However, there are several important changes seniors need to be aware of now that could affect not only their tax bill, but other items such as their health care premiums. Legislation as complicated as a new tax code can be difficult to dissect, and certainly requires the help of a tax professional. Please feel free to contact our office with any questions you may have while reading through the points below:
Senior adults can be more susceptible to identity theft than others. Identity theft is a crime that is on the rise. It involves a criminal stealing personal identifying information to create a new identity or to steal money from the victim. Senior adults are targeted for a few reasons. One reason is that they often have more money saved after a lifetime of working than younger people. Another factor is that personal information for elderly adults often passes through more hands, especially those in hospitals and nursing homes. Senior adults can be more trusting of people and often do not pick up on warning signs. Finally, aging adults are far less likely to report identity theft crimes. They fear that their independence might be taken away by their loved ones. It is important for senior adults and their caregivers to know how to protect themselves against identity theft.
Veterans are an important class of our population and as such, it is important to know about the various benefits available to them. Many of the benefits are based on the type of service by the veteran, the health of the veteran, or a combination of these factors. The next several paragraphs will outline benefits veterans should be aware of, however, it is recommended veterans speak with a legal professional who will be able to tailor their benefits to their unique situation.
Most people dream of the day they can retire. The problem is that many do not move beyond dreaming to planning. Planning can be done no matter what your age, but experts encourage people to start as early as possible. Retirement planning can seem like a daunting endeavor for many people as they focus on day-to-day financial obligations. Many people have no idea where to start. A few simple questions can help people of any age plan for retirement.
Nursing home abuse or neglect is defined generally as any action or failure to act that causes unreasonable suffering, misery, or harm to the patient. It can include assault of a patient, but can also include withholding necessary food, medical attention, or physical care from the patient. It is important that families stay involved in the lives of their loved ones once they have been placed in a nursing home. This is the best way to prevent or recognize abuse. Below are five main categories of abuse and their warning signs.
The health benefits of exercise are well-established for people of all ages. The benefits from eating healthy and having a proper exercise routine are also well-established. However, only recently has research been conducted about which type of exercise best counters the aging process in senior citizens. A new study published in Cell Metabolism by researchers from the Mayo Clinic suggests the answer may be high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT alternates short bursts of intense aerobic activity such as biking or walking with short periods of easing up on the same activity. This type of exercise method avoids the risk of injuries associated with non-stop, repetitive activity. Compared to other types of exercise, it appears to be dramatically more effective at boosting the activity of aging cells and even reversing age-related cellular damage. This exercise also led to improved insulin sensitivity, which is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes.
When a loved one starts to lose his or her memory, it can be a struggle for the entire family. The person who has been the head of the family may soon fade from the person they once were, leaving their loved ones to wonder what will come next. The stigma associated with Alzheimer’s disease has a significant negative impact on the lives of people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Around 25% of dementia patients hide their diagnosis, and 40% said they have withdrawn from many everyday activities according to recent studies. There are many negative public images and stereotypes associated with dementia, which contributes to a lack of engagement with people with this condition. Many people with dementia experience social isolation due to withdrawal from friends and other important people in their lives.
Fear of falling can take a toll when your sense of balance is fading. Some seniors avoid walking and even moving due to a fear of falling and the possibility of injury. However, being sedentary is bad for your health, too. It's important to keep moving while finding safe workarounds for whatever balance issues you have. And the good news is that balance can improve with training.
One in three Americans do not get enough sleep, and 45% of the remaining world’s population doesn't either. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls that a "public health problem," because disrupted sleep is associated with a higher risk of physical and mental conditions including diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease. There is evidence suggesting that there is a link between lack of sleep, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.
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.