15- Mar2017
Posted By: Tony Fischer
285 Views

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


09- Jan2017
Posted By: Tony Fischer
2471 Views

How To Convince A Senior Its Time For Help

Imagine you have lived in the same place for over 20 years.  You are comfortable, all of your stuff is there and you have the freedom to do as you please.  Then some do-gooder comes along and tries to tell you what to do. That is how a senior feels when someone tries to come along and “help them” live in their own home.  If someone came to your house and told you how to live wouldn’t you feel the same way?

For the family member or caregiver it is easy to forget that when we go into a senior’s home we walking on someone else’s turf.  As family members we get wrapped up in accomplishing the task of care giving that we forget about the reason for being there in the first place; to help a senior stay in THEIR home safely.

This is why seniors are so reluctant to let family members and caregivers help them with day-to-day needs.  They feel like each time they accept help they are giving up a little bit of their independence.

So how do we convince an independent minded senior that it is time for a little help? Here are some tips

PUT THEM IN THE “DRIVERS SEAT”

Just because you can clearly see that a senior needs help doesn’t mean they see it the same way.  Remember to them this is a battle for their independence. If you are going to help them, they will have to be in charge.

We do this by using an Elder-Centered Approach.  Ask the senior how they want to live their life everyday then talk about the challenges to living that life. By taking this approach, you are more likely to get them to accept help on their terms.

INTERVIEW CAREGIVERS

There may come a time when you will have to hire a caregiver to come into a senior’s home.  Home Care is very helpful but very invasive. To help take the fear out of having a stranger come into your seniors home conduct interviews of caregivers or care giving companies with the senior present.

That way the elder family member can learn more about the service being provided and ask questions of the company prior to them starting.  This puts the senior at the center of the decision on which caregiver to hire.

TAKE YOUR TIME

For a senior, it is difficult enough to accept care but even more difficult to get things started.  Remember the senior is facing the loss of some of their independence and that would be emotionally draining to anyone.

The entire process of accepting care is overwhelming. Rushing through it and you risk the chance the senior will dig in and grind everything to halt. Although your time is important, your timeline for getting things done could overwhelm the senior you are trying to help.

Take your time and explain every step of the process.  Try to focus on the task at hand before moving to far ahead in your plan. This will help the senior feel more in control of the situation.

Have patience and empathy for your senior and you will have success getting them the help they need to stay safe in their own home.