Handling Elder Security

Handling Elder Security

None of us is feeling cheerful these days, but there are ways to handle the care, safety and security of our elders. We are all learning on the fly. Having food delivered, or having a grocery buyer bring your order to the parking lot is a common sense safety measure. Virtual gatherings with family or friends is not the same as being together, but it is a whole lot better than no contact at all. Just a few years ago this would not have been possible. For those who have loved ones in a nursing home, the inability to visit can be agonizing, and one way to lessen that separation pain is to have the Alexa enabled Echo Show in the room, so that the loved one who may not have the physical or mental ability to turn it on, does not have to do anything but respond to your voice and face when you activate it.

My mother in law is in an assisted living home in New Jersey and they locked down at the very start and have no cases. To partly alleviate the social isolation, staff is arranging specific times with families and using Facetime so virtual visits can be done. Yesterday she did one with four of her children and that gave them and her some satisfaction.

The Connecticut Department of Social Services is allowing remote evaluations of people for home care. In our area of the state Connecticut Community Care will do a phone conference with the family, and with my firms care coordinators to establish the level and kinds of care needed. This report goes to the state and determines how much care is needed and whether the Connecticut Home care for Elders Level II is needed, (up to $2973 per month), or whether Level III, which is Medicaid, (up to $5945 per month) will be approved.

The most critical financial issue is being able to handle your loved one’s finances if they are temporarily or permanently in a nursing home, and can no longer sign themselves. For years my advice has been to get a comprehensive power of attorney in place that can handle any financial matter. You can’t do a will after you are dead, and you can’t do a power of attorney if you become incompetent. Last week a nursing home resident did not have a power of attorney, and without it the family could not get the required information and he would be denied Medicaid coverage. The nursing home did not want to allow witnesses to enter the building to do a power of attorney, but when it was explained without a power of attorney the nursing home would not get paid, a quick and practical solution was found. The nursing home let two of their staff be witnesses and there was a notary in the business office. The governor’s orders temporarily eliminate the need for witnesses on some documents (not Wills) and provide for some remote notarization, but there could be problems with that in future.

If there is one take away from all these logistical signing problems with documents, it is to get your family’s power of attorney in place immediately. Safe signing procedures can be followed. It is the one document that everyone needs to have in place, especially since none of us is immune in this pandemic. When my daughter Halley became a JAG attorney over eight years ago, one of her first jobs was to work on the powers of attorney, living wills, and wills for Seal Team Six. So prepare like Seal Team Six and get those critical documents in place. Not only will you be prepared, but you will sleep better at night. Wishing all of us well and an end to social distancing, as soon as it is safe.
Attorneys Stephen O. and Halley C. Allaire are partners in the law firm of Allaire Elder Law.
Attorneys Stephen O. and Halley C. Allaire are members of the National Academy of Elder Law. Attorneys, Inc.
Allaire Elder Law is a highly respected, and highly rated law firm with offices in Bristol, CT.
We can be contacted by phone at (860) 259-1500 or by email.

If you have a question, send a written note to us and we may use your question in a future column.

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