Medicaid, or MassHealth as it is referred to in Massachusetts, is an avenue available for funding long-term nursing home care. To qualify, you must meet asset thresholds that many elders exceed. Additionally there are income requirements for MassHealth/Mediciad. Adequate understanding of MassHealth/Medicaid law and proper strategizing is a critical component of any plan for the future. With the proper planning of an elder-law attorney, you can protect your property, spouse, and assets. [Read more...]
Most everyone would say that they want to be independent and remain in their own homes as long as possible. This sense of autonomy can be kept in place longer than ever before due to medical advances, assistive devices, and in-home care provided by family members and private caretakers. However, what happens when an elder can no longer remain safely in their home and an adult child is trying to get them the help they need?
Esther is 89 years old. She has lived alone since the death of her husband 23 years ago. She gave up driving two years ago, but is regularly visited by her children and grandchildren, who take care of errands or drive her to handle things herself. Lately, she has been rather unsteady on her feet. Additionally, she has been very forgetful and once left the stove on all night. She is also having trouble remembering to take her medications. There were so many her daughter, Susan, sorts them every week into a pill box. Esther still forgets to take them and sometimes actually doubles up on doses. Susan can see its time for more help but Esther is adamant about not having strangers in the house and doesn’t want to end up in “one of those places…” [Read more...]
Some people think that Elder Law and Estate Planning attorneys are only useful further down the road. They think, “I’m healthy. I don’t need to worry about those things now.” Even while you are healthy, there is one document that everyone over the age of 18 should have in place: a Health Care Proxy (HCP). A health care proxy is necessary to ensure that someone, a health care agent, will be available to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make them on your own because you are incapacitated. Currently, in Worcester County, another form is also worth considering: the Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) form. This medical order works with the HCP to inform your health care agent and your doctors what you actually want to happen in various circumstances. [Read more...]
Astor Matter Reminds Us that Trustworthiness is Essential When Nominating Substitute Decision Makers
Lately, the matter of Brooke Astor’s estate has been covered in the media. Like many people she had an estate plan in place which included a Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy, which nominated subsituted decision makers in the event she would lose the capacity to make important financial and/or medical decisions at some point during her elder years. She did not want to burden her family with obtaining a Guardianship and/or Conservatorship through the courts. She did end up suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and her son took over her financial powers. He just didn’t do a very good job… [Read more...]
I’ve been trying to come up with a new slogan for area senior centers. So far I’ve come up with Senior Centers: come for the free food, stay for the crafts! or Senior Centers: It’s WAY more than BINGO!
But seriously, senior centers offer independence for aging adults. They play a very important role in the lives of elders today by encouraging them to become and remain social. [Read more...]
Can’t we all just get along?
I see it more and more and it really saddens me: families unable to “get along” when it comes to decision making for elder loved ones. It can be as simple as whether Mom and/or Dad need to meet with an Elder Law Attorney, to concerns over finances and inheritance issues, to whether siblings agree on who should serve as primary caregiver, and/or to whether assisted living/nursing home care is necessary. [Read more...]
Many elderly people rely entirely on family or other trusted individuals to help them. Whether it is for physical or emotional needs, as people grow older they tend to need more and more help from others. This dependence on caregivers or family members makes an older person more vulnerable to abuse.
For example, an older person relying on her children to provide meals, transportation and help her with financial decisions finds it difficult to complain when one of her children takes advantage of her. If, for instance, the child takes her money, hits her or neglects her care, the parent may be threatened with loss of support from the child if the parent complains. The child may also use threats of violence to keep the parent in line. [Read more...]
While some clients book traditional consultations at my office, I always make myself available for home visits with my clients. While the idea of a housecall has gone the way of black & white televisions, I find that meeting clients in their home, on their “turf,” helps make what is usually an emotional process, a bit more comfortable. In their home, clients tend to be more relaxed and at ease. The conversation goes a different way and I can sense the pride they have in sharing their home with someone. Coffee and tea flow more easily and taste better from your favorite mug than a styrofoam cup. [Read more...]