Planning For Elder Care

Planning For Elder Care

Benjamin Franklin had a quote “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” In life in general, preparation is a key to success, and no more so than when it involves the care to keep your elderly loved ones safe and in the best living situation possible. That preparation is all the more critical with the increased problems and restrictions brought on by our national health crisis.

First, it is necessary to discuss with your parents their financial situation, including banks, investment assets, income and health insurance and possibly long-term care insurance. If a crisis comes about this can save invaluable time in reacting promptly and effectively to handle the assets, especially if government benefits such as VA Aid and Attendance, or Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders, including Medicaid, could be obtained.

Second, it cannot be said more strongly that the one key document required is a durable power of attorney that will allow either parent, and their trusted children, to access and handle the financial assets. For most married couples, all assets can be protected if one spouse needs care. But those assets would have to be put into the healthy spouses’ name, and that is where the power of attorney is needed if the sick spouse cannot sign.

Third, schedule an appointment with an experienced elder law attorney so that a full
review can be done and actions discussed, and healthcare proxies named with a health care directive (often called a living will) and wills and, if appropriate, trusts created. The federal and state rules are often complicated and ever changing, so any accurate and up to date advice is vital. With the legal and financial tools in place, you can help your parents use the assistance programs available to get them needed help at home and hopefully stay out of institutional care.

Taking precautions for an emergency, such as a fall, can keep a medical event from
escalating into a long term care problem. That might include an emergency fall monitor, including newer models that can detect a fall and automatically call a child or the emergency response system.

It is also important for families to discuss who could best provide help if supervision or care is needed for an elderly parent. Can family realistically give supervision or care, or is non- medical home care needed by home care providers? If the signs are there that supervision or actual care is needed, it pays to learn what options are available, where they can be obtained, and then how can the care be paid for. There is no one size fits all answer, but having a good idea of what care may be needed for your loved one, where you can get it and how you can afford it are vital. Being forced to spend more time alone without socialization is really tough, but one small silver lining is that it may afford some extra time to gather data, think of elder care alternatives, and put in place an idea of what could be done for care, do the necessary legal documents, and have peace of mind that preparation will help weather that storm, if it comes.
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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