Questions About Veterans Aid and Attendance

Aug 31, 2012  /  By: Geoffrey H. Garrett, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Elder Law, Long Term Care

The Department of Health and Human Services has reported that about 40 percent of people 65 and older will enter a nursing home at some point in their lives. Roughly 10 percent of those will stay for five years or longer. For veterans, there is an often unused assistance program which can pay for nursing home or caregiver costs for those on limited income. Known as the Aid and Attendance program, it is available to anyone who meets the veteran’s pension eligibility criteria.

Pension Eligibility

To qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a veteran must first qualify for the veteran’s pension. You cannot have been dishonorably discharged, and you must have served 90 days or more of active duty with at least one of those days during time of war. Veterans must also be either 65 or older or permanently and totally disabled. There are also specific income limits which apply, though these change by year and differ depending on whether you are single, married, have dependents, or upon other conditions.

Care Requirements

Anyone eligible for the veteran’s pension can also receive the AA benefit if one or more conditions are met. The veteran must either require an in-home caregiver for everyday living activities, such as bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom, or be bed ridden, be patient in a nursing home, or be legally blind.

Byrd : Garrett, PLLC is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

How to Face Long Term Care Fears

Sep 30, 2011  /  By: Geoffrey H. Garrett, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Elder Law, Long Term Care

If you’re assisting a loved one with the transition to long term care, there are transitional difficulties that may lie ahead.  It can be stressful for the entire family to deal with the thought of long term care as well as the changes that go along with it.  Take a look at the following information, to better prepare for this need.  If you have any questions, or if you’d like to discuss long term care options, contact an estate planning – elder law attorney.

 

Talk as a family.  It’s important that everyone is able to address their concerns and fears.  Make sure that your entire family, including your elderly loved one, talks about long term care and the change that it will have on the family.   Taking the time to communicate can allow everyone to feel less stress about the change and can help bring understanding.

 

Research the various long term care options.  It’s important to be aware of the different long term care options that exist.  Your loved one may not have to live in a nursing home.  Taking the time to learn about different facilities and services, such as home care, assisted living, and senior group homes, can make it possible for everyone to feel more confident and less stressed.

 

Talk with others who have experienced long term care.  Talk with friends or neighbors who have dealt with long term care and the changes that it brings.  It always helps to not feel alone.

 

Do careful research.  Make sure that you carefully research each facility or caregiver by getting as much information as possible.  You’ll then feel less stress, knowing you’ve gotten your loved one good care.

 

It’s normal to feel nervous and scared about long term care.  Follow the above tips to make the changes easier and less frightening.  If you have any questions about long term care, consult with a qualified estate planning – elder law attorney.

Byrd : Garrett, PLLC is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Is Your Loved One’s Nursing Home Understaffed?

Sep 27, 2011  /  By: Geoffrey H. Garrett, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Elder Law, Long Term Care

Is your loved one receiving proper care at his or her nursing home facility?  Many nursing homes and other long term care facilities across the country are currently understaffed.  This may mean that residents are not receiving adequate attention and it may also mean that abuse and neglect are occurring.  Take a look at the following information, to learn more.  If you have any questions, or if you’d like to discuss other important nursing home issues, contact an estate planning – elder law attorney.

 

Unfortunately, many nursing homes are, indeed, understaffed due to overhead concerns.  Under staffing is extremely unsafe for nursing home residents.  Due to the fact that there aren’t enough staff members, residents may not receive the level of care that they need and deserve; this creates safety and health problems.  In many cases, abuse may also be a serious concern as staff members become frustrated and angry.

 

If there aren’t enough staff members present, there is more work that needs to be done by each staff member.  This means that staff members aren’t able to spend as much time as they should with each resident.  In many cases, infection and sickness spreads quickly through inattention; residents suffer malnutrition and dehydration as they are not adequately fed; and, there are skin breakdowns as residents sit in their own waste.

 

It’s important to do careful research when selecting a nursing home for a loved one.  You need to make sure that your loved one is safe and that he or she is receiving the best care possible.  Take the time to get to know each facility.  You should also ask a lot of questions, including questions about the staff.

 

Are staff members properly trained?  What is the resident to staff member ratio?  How often are new staff members added?  How is employee behavior  monitored?  These are some of the questions to ask.  If you get a bad feeling about a nursing home, then move on and take a look at another one.  You can find a quality nursing home.

 

If you have any questions about understaffed nursing homes, or if you think a loved one is being abused or treated poorly, consult with a qualified estate planning – elder law attorney.

Byrd : Garrett, PLLC is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Planning Long Term Care: National Assisted Living Week is Held in September

Sep 27, 2011  /  By: Geoffrey H. Garrett, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Elder Law, Long Term Care

As you begin to plan for a loved one’s long term care needs, know that National Assisted Living week is coming up.  This educational and informative week is held this year from September 11 – September 17, 2011.  The week was developed as a way to promote this type of long term care.  If you’re helping a loved one select the best long term care facility or option, take a look at the following information.  If you have any questions about selecting the best long term care facility, contact an estate planning – elder law attorney.

 

So, what is an assisted living facility?

 

Assisted living facilities make it possible for an individual to get assistance with everyday activities, yet remain somewhat independent.  Unlike a nursing home, an individual in an assisted living facility doesn’t receive constant supervision and attention.  Instead, he or she can choose what level of assistance is needed.  Additionally, privacy and independence is respected.

 

Assisted Living Benefits

 

These facilities are also beneficial because they offer a safe and secure living environment.  If help is needed, an individual is able to get assistance, no matter what time of day it is.  It also offers social activities and events, so that residents are able to get the socialization and interaction that is needed.

 

An assisted living facility offers meal planning and preparation.  Additionally, individuals are able to take advantage of transportation assistance, housekeeping services, health and medical services, as well as other needs.  It’s important to get to know each facility, so that you can make sure that your loved one’s needs are met.

 

You can be sure to find a great facility that will be perfect for your loved one.  If you have any additional questions, or if you need help selecting the best long term care facility, consult with a qualified estate planning – elder law attorney.

Byrd : Garrett, PLLC is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Warning Signs that Grandma May Need Long Term Care

Jun 12, 2011  /  By: Geoffrey H. Garrett, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Elder Law, Long Term Care

Has Grandma been showing difficulty with everyday tasks and you’re worried that she may need long term care in order to live safely?  Unfortunately, many seniors have difficulty caring for themselves as they age.  A long term care facility or even assisted living at home can benefit the elderly greatly.

Take a look at some of the warning signs below so that you’re prepared to get Grandma help when she needs it.  If you have any questions about long term care, meet with an estate planning – elder law attorney.

  • Is Grandma no longer able to get around the house easily?
  • Is she having trouble cooking, cleaning, or going about daily responsibilities?
  • Does Grandma forget about her personal hygiene?
  • Does she always ask for assistance?
  • Have you noticed bills going unpaid?
  • Has Grandma been having a lot of slip and fall accidents?
  • Does Grandma need extra medical attention or care?
  • Do you notice a lot of safety hazards throughout her home?
  • Is Grandma afraid to ask for help?
  • Does she forget to take her medicine on a regular basis?
  • Is she having trouble remembering to eat?
  • Is Grandma no longer able to reach things throughout her home?
  • Have you noticed that she continues to make mistakes that put her at risk?
  • Do you constantly have to check up on Grandma?

 

If you’ve noticed any of the above warning signs, then it might be time to consider long term care options.  It’s important to make sure that you do everything possible to keep Grandma safe.  There are many different long term care options to consider.  Grandma may even be able to stay in her home with help!

If you need help choosing or figuring out how to pay for a long term care facility, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.

Byrd : Garrett, PLLC is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

The Growing Costs Of Long-Term Care

Nov 21, 2010  /  By: Geoffrey H. Garrett, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Long Term Care

When you are evaluating the demographic trends in the United States perhaps the most surprising statistic is the fact that senior citizens are the fastest growing age group in the country. This is remarkable, but when you drill down another level, an even more amazing trend emerges. People who are at least 85 years of age, who are deferentially referred to as the “oldest old,” are the most rapidly expanding subset of senior citizens as a whole. So more people are living longer, and this has a very significant impact on elder law, advance planning, and incapacity planning.

Due to these longer life spans the possibility that you may spend some time living in a nursing home or assisted living facility at some point in time has become more likely, and this is something to take into consideration when you are engaging in long term financial planning. MetLife has been doing a market survey putting the costs associated with long-term care under the microscope each year since 2002, and their 2010 numbers are telling.

The average cost for a private room in a nursing home in America was $229 a day in 2010, up 4.6% from the the $219 per day average rate in 2009. If you work these figures out annually it cost an average of $79,935 a year to stay in a private room in a nursing home in ’09, and $83,585 in 2010. The amount that it cost to reside in an assisted living community rose at an even higher rate from 2009 to 2010. In ’09 the average annual cost was $37,572; in 2010, the national average rate for a year in an assisted living facility was $39,516, which is an increase of 5.2%.

Clearly, these are some significant expenses to address late in your life, and most people will need to do some pretty detailed planning to be prepared. Keep the possible eventuality of long-term care in mind and don’t hesitate to contact an elder law attorney to provide you with expert assistance as you make your plans.

Byrd : Garrett, PLLC is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Hospice Care for Your Loved One

Oct 19, 2010  /  By: Geoffrey H. Garrett, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Long Term Care

When a family member has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and is expected to live for less than six months, it may be time to contact Hospice. This medical care program focuses on giving your loved one a pain-free and comfortable experience for the rest of his or her life.

What It Does

When death is considered imminent, hospice focuses on quality of end-of-life rather than providing treatment. Terminal illness treatments can often be painful and may even shorten your loved one’s life. With hospice care, your family member can spend his or her final days pain-free and surrounded by family.

Finding a Care Provider

When seeking a hospice care provider it is best to determine what type of care would work for you and your family. In-home care can be a comfort to a dying individual but it might mean family members will have to rotate care shifts. If you use a hospice facility, there are employees on duty all day and night to give you a break when needed. If you do choose in-home care, it may be wise to have a caregiver come in for one shift a day to allow the family to rest.

Paying for Hospice

The good news is that hospice care is cheaper than standard medical treatments. Treatments require testing, additional medical equipment and possibly more time with doctors and nurses. Hospice is a simpler form of medical care that can often be provided by family members which may reduce some of the costs.

Hospice is covered by Medicare once a patient has received a diagnosis of terminal illness and less than six months to live. At that time, Medicare will only cover hospice costs and any treatment sought must be paid for by the patient and his or her family. Medicare will cover a standard amount of hospice costs, including up to 210 days of hospice care.
Anything over that amount will be the responsibility of the patient’s family.

Byrd : Garrett, PLLC is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Picking and Paying for Long Term Care

Sep 18, 2010  /  By: Geoffrey H. Garrett, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Long Term Care

Have you made a plan for your long term care? If not, you should. Three-quarters of all Americans over the age of sixty will need some type of extended care.

Types of Care

There are four common types of long term care: adult day cares, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities and in-home care.

Adult day cares are becoming more popular. These convenient locations offer a place for older citizens to go during the daytime. This is great for those who need a little assistance while relatives are at work. Adult day cares offer a wide variety of activities, and many also offer cooked meals

If you only need help with basic duties such as cooking and cleaning and you are ready to downsize your home, you may enjoy an assisted living facility. These are apartments or houses with a central dining and recreational area.

If you need constant care and you cannot remain in your own home, a skilled nursing facility, commonly called a nursing home, may be right for you. These facilities provide around-the-clock nursing care as well as easy access to physician care.

For those who prefer to remain in their own home, long term care is available from a light duty caregiver who cooks and cleans to constant nursing care for more serious needs. In-home care has the advantages of a familiar environment, but the disadvantage of fast access to medical equipment.

How to Pay

Long term care can be quite expensive. Medicare may cover some medical costs associated with long term care, but you may have to pay for daily care from your own pocket.

Long term care insurance may help. LTC insurance covers many costs that Medicare does not. The downside is that LTC insurance can be quite expensive. To get a lower premium, you may want to sign up for a policy many years before you might need it.

Another option is Medigap insurance. This is a policy use to pay costs not covered by Medicare part A, B, and D. Your Medigap insurance cannot, however, cover costs associated with Medicare Part C.

Byrd : Garrett, PLLC is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.