Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving Thoughts

With Thanksgiving done and leftovers in the refrigerator, it’s time to think of any health issues you may have noticed in the family’s oldest generation. Did grandma or grandpa have difficulty walking? Did they exhibit severe memory problems? If you were at their home, was it tidy, or did it show neglect? Did you notice bills that appeared to be past due, or were financial records scattered about? In general, were you left with a concern that some help or occasional checking on them is needed. If so, here are some thoughts and suggested action which this column has addressed in years past.

First and foremost is the need for safety and help. If memory or dementia problems mean grandma is missing her critical medications, then solutions may involve a relative or paid worker to monitor her in person or by phone.

Falling is still be the single biggest risk for any family, because a broken hip in a frail elderly person could end their ability to walk, and if they can't walk, then the chance of needing nursing home care rises dramatically. To minimize risk, single floor living is important. If the washer/dryer is downstairs, bring it upstairs.

Bathrooms are dangerous places, because of hard slippery services. Getting into and out of a bathtub is safer with a simple transfer seat. The risks of standing and slipping in the bathroom can be reduced with hand holds at appropriate places.

Another concern may be reduced social contact, due to reduced ability to travel, or
dementia, or depression issues which makes a person reluctant to join others for fear of not remembering names or events. Assisted living facilities might offer better socialization, and scheduled activities led by social workers who know how to encourage participation.

Financial and legal issues are always a concern. Sometimes a parent will welcome a
child's help with bill paying and this can lead to a discussion of whether or not each parent has a durable power of attorney, a health-care directive, and a will or trust. The power of attorney is probably the most important because if mom or dad were suddenly incapacitated, those are the documents which allow the family to handle their financial affairs and health-care decisions, and protect their assets.

The holidays may be the opportune time to make an appointment with a qualified elder law attorney to review and address your parents or grandparents need for care, legal documents and financial planning. That’s enough advice to digest the day after Thanksgiving, so here is wishing all a Happy Thanksgiving. By the time you read this my first grandchild may have been born, as he is due this week, so it’s time to get my affairs in order before that brand new baby thinks grandpa needs some help.

Having the family together with parents or grandparents to help plan and decide on the necessary documents and planning strategies required for their care is something for everyone in the family to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving.
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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