15- Mar2017
Posted By: Tony Fischer

Senior Care Plan Update: Have You Checked Your Elder Law Documents?

As written before in this blog, a good senior care should include solid Elder Law documents. Powers of Attorney, Advanced Directives, Will and Trusts are vital to you plan depending on your situation. They enforce the decisions you have made as part of your plan and give teeth to the consequences if the plan isn’t followed.  More importantly, the legal documentation of your healthcare choices gives clear direction to healthcare professionals in time of emergency.

Just like a good senior care plan, Legal documents needs to be checked and constantly updated.  During the course of a year there may be changes in finances, healthcare conditions and family dynamics.  All too often legal documents are update to reflect those changes and can become ineffective as a result.

Of course you should consult a good Elder Law Attorney to review your legal documents.  But before you go, look over your documents and consider the following.

How relevant is your legal plan?

Any good attorney will tell you that having a “some” sort of legal plan is better having none at all. However, that is not to say that all legal documents are created equal. Inexpensive “one-size-fits-all” documents don’t address your unique needs. These “one-pagers” also don’t address the intricacies of financial and state specific rules. Consequently, the documents you have may not do what you want them to do when a crisis happens.

So how do you know if you’re senior care legal plan will be effective?

Look at the Date

If your documents are dated before 2012, they probably need a refresh.  Some of the rules changed in 2012 that may have made your documents less effective.  You may also want to change who the documents appoint to be in charge.

Are They State Specific?

Every state has different laws.  If you have moved since your legal plan was written you will probably need to have state specific language included in your documents.  There is nothing worse than having legal documents that become invalid because they were not properly updated after a change in residence.

Have Your Decisions Changed?

People change their minds on medical treatments.  They may even want to change which family member is making decisions in time of a crisis.  It happens all the time.

The worst thing you can do is avoid making those changes in your legal documents.  Failing to change them could mean you get a medical treatment you don’t want or having the wrong person in charge of medical and financial decisions.

Is Your Plan Complete?

Who will be in charge of your health and financial decisions if you become incapacitated? Does your family know which medical treatments and procedures you refuse to have? Are your spouse’s assets protected in the case of costly stay in nursing home? Who will gain control of your assets if you should pass?  If you don’t know the answers to these questions then your plan is not complete.  Consult an Attorney soon.

Have You Fully Funded Your Trust?

As an Elder Care Coordinator I have sat in on a number of meetings with Elder Law Attorneys when it was discovered that the client has not fully funded their trust.  It doesn’t matter how much you spend or how complex it is, if you don’t fund your trust it will not be effective.  Funding your trust involves changing beneficiary designations and titling assets.  If you haven’t done that make sure you consult with your attorney or financial adviser.

Don’t Know Where To Start?

If you don’t have a senior care or legal plan the addresses the issues the come with aging, we can help.  Our Senior Care Sherpas can help develop a senior care plan designed to meet your specific needs and recommend an Elder Law Attorney to draft legal documents in support of your plan.  Our Sherpas will help you prepare by reviewing your current situation to ensure you are prepared for the challenges that aging in place represents.  For more information fill out the contact form below and one of our Sherpas will reach out to set up your FREE consultation.

Next Post: When Putting Together A Senior Care Plan Don’t Forget The Legals

14- Mar2017
Posted By: Tony Fischer

Emergency Plan For Seniors: Five Things To Consider

High Winds, blizzards, tornadoes, flooding, wildfires and hurricanes. Crazy weather is effecting nearly every corner of the United States. When a weather event causes a power outage or property damage we become consumed with fixing the damage and putting our lives back together.  But what happens when someone lacks the physical or financial ability to make things right again?

This is the case for millions of frail elderly who don’t have the physical or financial support to help them recover from a disastrous event.  For those seniors struggling to live independently at home, a simple power outage can increase the risk of falls or injury.

So how can we keep a natural disaster form becoming a health crisis.

Have an Emergency Plan

Every American household is encouraged to have and emergency kit that includes at least batteries, flashlights, candles, water and food.  For a senior an emergency plan must go beyond keeping some extra supplies around the house.  Healthcare conditions that require special treatments and medications must be planned for. The difficulty is finding people to support a senior in the community, especially when the very same disaster is affecting them.

If you are supporting a senior living at home alone, it makes sense to plan for the inevitable and unpredictable event that could put their independence into question.

Here are some things to consider when developing an emergency plan for a senior you care for.

Ready for disaster – make sure the senior understands their emergency plan.

Make Sure Emergency Kit Is Accessible

Having and emergency kit is good but for a senior, it doesn’t help if you can’t get to it.  Assuming the kit has everything it needs (fresh water, unexpired food, batteries etc.) the senior will need to have access for it to be useful. Make sure you plan to have someone go to the senior’s house and set up the emergency supplies for them. That means putting the water where it is easy to reach and placing battery powered lights to light up walking areas. If the senior needs help with meal preparation, set-up a regular schedule of visits to make sure they have something to eat.

Electrical Powered Equipment

Some medical conditions require devices that need electricity.  This usually affects seniors that use oxygen concentrators.  It is vital to have make sure that emergency oxygen tanks are full and the gauges are working properly. If the device used does not have a power-free alternative, make sure you have a relocation plan ready for the senior in case of a power outage.

Have a Relocation Plan

No one wants to be forced out of their home, even in an emergency.  But for seniors a relocation plan should not be overlooked.  Establish ahead of time under what conditions a relocation will be necessary. Too hot, Too cold, lack of drinking water or an unsafe environment are all reasons to consider temporary location.  Knowing when to relocate is important because any time spent in an unsafe environment increases the senior’s risk for injury.

Inform Local Police and Fire

If the senior you care for has special needs, you may want to inform local emergency personal. Each community has an emergency plan of its own that accounts for its most vulnerable citizens.  Informing your local first-responders can help them prioritize emergency services when warranted.

Discuss the Emergency Plan

All too often caregivers make plans and then suddenly spring them on the unsuspecting senior when the time comes.  A disaster can be scary enough without a bunch of well-meaning family members rushing in telling a senior they have to leave the house. This is why it is important to discuss any emergency plan with the senior you care for ahead of time.  If they know what the plan is they will offer more cooperation. Informing them will help make a stressful situation run just a bit more smoothly.

NEXT POST: How To Know A Senior Needs Help