Elder Care Law – What is Life Care Planning? Part 1

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What is Life Care Planning all about? Well, I’m going to answer that question with a question and in fact many questions. I want you to consider whether you are dealing with any of these issues.

Are you or your family members struggling to meet the needs of an elderly loved one during a chronic illness or disability? Is the primary caregiver suffering from burnout, ill health, frustration, guilt or confusion? Are family members confused about care options, what to do next or where to get help? Was the elder recently diagnosed with cancer, Alzheimer’s disease or other chronic condition? Is the elder ill or disabled with children who live out of town? Has the elder experienced a catastrophic event such as a fall, medication mistake or an accident of some type? Have the family members discovered the elder wandering, malnourished, dehydrated or unable to provide self care? Has the elder suffered a medical event such as a stroke or heart attack? Are elders expressing worries about paying for long-term care in the future? Are children voicing concerns about a parent’s debilitating diagnosis? Is the elder hospitalized and the family has been told that returning home is not an option? If you see one of these signs of distress, your family may benefit from a Life Care Plan.

A Life Care Plan describes how our team will meet the elder’s medical, long-term care, legal and emotional needs during long-term illness or incapacity – until the end of life. The benefits to the family include freedom from the burdens of care-giving, relief from anxiety about paying for care, guidance with every legal, health care and long-term care decision for the rest of the elder’s life, confidence that comes from having a plan for ongoing care as the elder’s condition progresses, security because the spouse and dependents are provided for and peace of mind because the right to quality care is protected. The benefits to the elder include obtaining the right care sooner, preservation of independence for as long as possible, the ability to age with dignity, and the security of knowing that you have an advocate dedicated to maximizing quality of life.

The Life Care Plan places special emphasis on issues surrounding a long life. The Life Care Plan connects your concerns about long-term care as you go through the later stages of your life with the knowledge and expertise of an Elder Law Attorney and an Elder Care Coordinator who will be with you and your loved ones every step of the way to assist you in making the right choices.

There are three principal goals of the Life Care Plan that we will help you develop and implement:

First, helping you and your loved one obtain good care, whether your care is provided at home or outside the traditional home setting such as an assisted living facility, or if necessary, a nursing home. This is the most important of all goals, for it goes to the very heart of your quality of life in your later years. Your Life Care Plan is focused first on your good health, safety, and well-being.

Second, helping you make decisions relating to your health care, long-term care, and special needs. It is a comfort and a relief to our clients and their families to know that they always have a resource of experienced, knowledgeable, supportive, and objective advisors with them every step of the way.

Third, helping you find resources to pay for good care, and helping you spend your money wisely and prudently on your care needs. The Life Care Plan protects and preserves the assets you have accumulated during a lifetime of hard work, thrifty behavior, and astute investment decision making. We work with you through the maze of choices and options to find the best, or often, the most comfortable solution to the asset protection problem created by the need to pay for quality long-term care.

The Life Care Plan will help you answer your questions about your long-term care and health care choices.
o What health care, chronic care, and long-term care services are available to me? How can I get the good care I need and desire, whether I am in my own home, an assisted living facility, in a child’s home, or in a nursing home?
o How will financial and health care decisions be made for me if I cannot make them for myself? Who can I rely on to make sure that decisions to be made are the right ones?
o If I can’t take care of myself, who will make sure my spouse continues to have a good quality of life?
o If there is a health care crisis, what will we have to do? Where do we turn for the help we need?
o How do I know I am getting good care? Who will advocate and intervene for me if necessary to ensure my right to quality health care and long-term care?
o What public benefits am I entitled to and what do I have to do to qualify for them?
o Should I rely on Medicaid or other governmental benefits to help pay for my care? How do I apply for benefits?
o Do I have to spend all of my money on my care, whether in my home or in a nursing home? How can I protect my assets to take care of my spouse, to ensure that I receive quality care, or to leave to my children?
o How do I provide for family members with special needs?

Your Life Care Plan will be customized to fit your desires and needs. Your Life Care Plan can then provide you the roadmap to follow to achieve your goals. And, when changes occur, we stay with you every step of the way.

Michael D. Weinraub, Esq., CELA, is Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the A.B.A. approved National Elder Law Foundation.

Michael D. Weinraub, P.C. is a holistic elder law practice that helps families plan for, pay for, and coordinate the long-term care of elderly loved ones. We work with senior citizens and their families who are overwhelmed or confused by all of the decisions they have to make planning for the future. Our practice involves the use of a Life Care Plan. The Life Care Plan places special emphasis on issues surrounding a long life. The Life Care Plan connects your concerns about long-term care as you go through the later stages of your life with the knowledge and expertise of an Elder Law Attorney and an Elder Care Coordinator who will be with you every step of the way to assist you in making the right choices. We offer personal service to our clients and do so with respect and compassion.

Elderly Care: Preparing For Responsible And Compassionate Care

Caring for an elderly at home requires commitment in terms of time, finances and logistics. Sometimes, the weight of the responsibility can be overwhelming, not only physically but also emotionally, for both caregiver and the person being cared for. However, when you’re equipped with sufficient knowledge and support, providing care at home for a senior citizen member of the family can prove to be a practical and most rewarding decision you could make.

There are many reasons why an elderly person may decide, with recommendations and consultations with doctors, primary caregivers and family members, to stay at home longer instead of being in a senior care facility. They may be in sound physical and mental health, allowing them to live independently or with others in a regular household. They may be suffering from certain medical conditions, but these can still be managed through medication and out-patient therapy. There may be people in their lives who can dedicate full-time care for them. Whatever the reason may be, it’s a fact that elderly persons will have special needs and may require frequent assistance to make their lives safer or more manageable. Before you commit to elderly care at home, prepare your household first with the following tips:

Enhance the home’s safety and security. Whether your parent will stay in their own house or live with you, make sure the property is equipped with added systems that will further prevent common household incidents, such as intrusions, fire, or heating and cooling problems. Check if the home is equipped against bad weather or flooding, or that the elderly person will have access to immediate help should such emergencies occur.

Adjust the home according to the elderly person’s needs. Simple repairs or additions to the hone can make life much easier for the elderly. Assess the place and see what kind of adaptations can be made, such as installing bathroom mats, stairlifts, or remote controlled devices so that your parent can move safely and with more ease despite vision problems, loss of hearing, limited mobility and other conditions that come with age or illnesses.

Make sure medications are managed well. Establish a system that will ensure all necessary medicines are taken in sufficient doses and on time without fail. You may purchase pill boxes, dispensers and gadgets that will remind and monitor medication schedules. Ask the doctor if there is a need for purchasing medical equipment such as nebulizers or oxygen tanks. Arrange for health care worker assistance in case more delicate procedures are required, such as procedures involving injections or special equipment use.

Care of the elderly is a task that should be done with equal parts compassion and practicality. In case circumstances have changed and it may be better to consider alternative accommodation, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Both the elderly and the person taking care of them deserve a healthy, happy home environment.