Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

The Costs of Dementia: For the Patient and the Family - Part III What Can be Done

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Mon, Apr 17, 2017

In the last installment of our three-part blog on the Costs of Dementia, we discuss the steps you can take to help alleviate the burden of caring for someone with dementia.

elderly-mother-and-daughter-1.jpg

What can be done?

Planning is important. Challenges that caregivers face include finding relief from the emotional stress associated with providing care for a loved one, planning to cover the responsibilities that could jeopardize the caregiver’s job or career, and easing financial pressures that strain a family’s budget. Having options—additional caregivers, alternate sources of funds, respite care for the caregiver—can help relieve many of these stresses. In addition, there are a number of legal options to help families protect hard-earned assets from the rising costs of long term care, and to access funds to help pay for that care.

Plannng ahead is the best way to ensure you have options if a loved one has dementia or any long term illness. Unfortunately, most people fail to plan ahead. According to the Genworth survey, the top reasons people fail to plan are they didn’t want to admit care was needed; the timing of the long-term care need was unforeseen or unexpected; they didn’t want to talk about it; they thought they had more time; and they hoped the issue would resolve itself.

Waiting too long to plan for the need for long-term care, especially for dementia, can throw a family into confusion about what Mom or Dad would want, what options are available, what resources can help pay for care and who is best-suited to help provide hands-on care, if needed. Having the courage to discuss the possibility of incapacity and/or dementia before it happens can go a long way toward being prepared should that time come.

Watch for early signs of dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) has prepared a list of signs and symptoms that can help individuals and family members recognize the beginnings of dementia. Early diagnosis provides the best opportunities for treatment, support and planning for the future. Some medications can slow the progress of the disease, and new discoveries are being made every year.

Take good care of the caregiver. Caregivers need support and time off to take care of themselves. Arrange for relief from outside caregivers or other family members. All will benefit from joining a caregiver support group to share questions and frustrations, and learn how other caregivers are coping. Caregivers need to determine what they need to maintain their stamina, energy and positive outlook. That may include regular exercise (a yoga class, golf, walk or run), a weekly Bible study, an outing with friends, or time to read or simply watch TV.

If the main caregiver currently works outside the home, they can inquire about resources and accomodations at work that might be available. Depending on how long they expect to be caring for the person, they may be able to work on a flex time schedule or from home. Consider whether other family members can provide compensation to the one who will be the main caregiver.

Seek assistance. Find out what resources might be available. A local Elder Law attorney can prepare necessary legal documents, help maximize income, retirement savings and long-time care insurance, and apply for VA or Medicaid benefits. He or she will also be familiar with various living communities in the area and in-home care agencies.

Conclusion

Caring for a loved one with dementia is more demanding and more expensive for a longer time than caring for a loved one without dementia. It requires the entire family to come together to discuss and explore all options so that the burden of providing care is shared by all.

We help families who may need long term care by creating an asset protection plan that will provide peace of mind to all. Attend one of our free educational workshops to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

Click Here To Sign-Up For a FREE Workshop

Tags: Alzheimer's Disease, alzheimers care, caregiver, caretaker, care costs, dementia, seniors, costs of dementia

Can Your Will Protect You When You Don't Die?

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Thu, Aug 07, 2014

 

What Happens When You Don’t Die?

medicare, medicaid, wills, spouse

 

Is your “I love you” will capable of protecting you or your spouse from long-term care costs?

You know the kinds of wills we’re talking about: The husband leaves everything to the wife, the wife leaves everything to the husband and after they both die, everything goes to the kids. This works well in situations where the spouses are healthy one day and are deceased the next. 

However, as most of us know, life usually doesn’t work that way very often. Research indicates that nearly 70% of individuals over 65 will require some kind of long-term care in their lifetimes.

Thus, many spouses worry that if they predecease an ill spouse who is currently in a nursing home or will require long-term care at some point in the near future, there will be insufficient funds available to provide for their institutionalized spouses’ needs. This is an especially relevant concern for expenses that are not covered under Medicaid such as: care managers, private nurses, single rooms, as well as certain therapies and drugs.

Another concern is that the availability of funds from “I love you” wills and trusts will disqualify the surviving ill spouse from eligibility for Medicare benefits. As you know from prior articles, Medicare (MassHealth in Massachusetts) is the only long-term-care governmental program in the United States and does not cover long-term custodial care.

To solve this problem many of our clients rely on a “testamentary trust”. This is a trust built into the will of each spouse. For many estate planners, this is counterintuitive because much of the estate planning occurs within the context of a revocable living trust. In order to preserve access to Medicaid eligibility without requiring that the surviving spouse spend down the assets and lose the chance to maintain a “rainy day fund”, creating a testamentary trust in the will of the pre-deceasing spouse is essential.

What this means is that around age 55, you have to completely revise your wills and trusts to accommodate a different paradigm of thought. The thinking process is no longer “What happens when I die?” Now the question becomes “What happens if I don’t die and live a long time with expensive long-term care?”

The new paradigm requires a new estate plan. If you consider yourself middle-class (meaning that your net worth will be significantly impacted by the cost of long-term care for you and/or your spouse) and are over age 55, we suggest that you revise and update your estate plan to reflect your current and future needs as soon as possible.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

 Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: will, living will, Estate Planning, Estate Planning, Alzheimer's Disease, Elder Law, asset protection, long term care, Medicaid, in-home care, Health Care, estate reduction, estate, elder care journey, hospice, Alzheimers Disease, medicaid qualification, Wills, assets, Medicaid penalties, alzheimer's activities, in home, incapacity, Elder Law, Attorney, myths, Alzheimer's, alzheimers, financial, Attorney, income, Alzheimer's, federal, health, surviving spouse, in-home care, long term care insurance

Dealing with Financial and Emotional Costs of Dementia

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Wed, Jun 11, 2014

Helping Families Deal With the Financial and Emotional Costs of Dementia 

 Estate Planning, Alzheimers, Hardships, Dementia, Elderly, Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Homes, Financial Protection, Writing a will, Asset Protection,

Last month was National Elder Law Month A time for us to help educate the public about Elder Law and how we can help seniors and their families by providing solutions to the unique issues that come with aging.  Today we will discuss a debilitating condition that many Americans eventually face as they age:  dementia.  First, we will describe what dementia is and what it isn’t.  Then we will turn our focus to its costs to the individual, the family and our nation.  Statistics show that Massachuestts costs range from $13,800 - $16,000 per month for a Nursing Home, $5,400 - $7,500 per month for assisted living, and $15 - $32 an hour for in-home care. We are specially situated to help find solutions to many of the problems this condition brings with it.  While we can’t stop dementia, we can help protect those in its clutches while the medical world continues to seek prevention, treatment and reversal of the condition.

            Dementia Defined  

The Alzheimer’s Association defines dementia as, “a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example. Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia.” 

 

Dementia is not actually a specified disease.  It describes, instead, a general decline in memory or other thinking skills and is identified through a variety of symptoms.  Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.  In order to be characterized as dementia, at least two of the following mental functions must be significantly impaired:  visual perception; reasoning and judgment; memory; communication and language; or ability to focus and pay attention.  Dementia is not a normal part of aging as the terms “senility" or "senile dementia” infer. 

If a loved one is having trouble with any two or more of these mental functions, it’s a good idea to get it checked by a doctor.  Dementia is progressive and typically takes over the mental functions over time.  In this way, it provides the individual and the family with time to plan for its disastrous affects. [1]

 

Cost to the Individual

The cost to the individual with dementia is difficult to quantify.  Because dementia is a progressive condition and one where aging is the greatest risk factor, it is logical that at the beginning and younger stages of dementia, the cost to the individual is minimal.  As dementia progresses, so does the need for assistance with daily activities. 

This assistance often comes in the form of meal preparation, help with grooming and hygiene, transportation assistance, as well as help with many other daily activities.  Dementia patients can become so mentally challenged that they may place themselves in dangerous situations, such as roaming neighborhoods and getting lost.

  While the individual affected by dementia may need only a few hours of help per week at the beginning of symptoms showing, soon they may need around the clock supervision, not only for assistance with daily activities, but to protect them from themselves.  The individual’s costs will include medical expenses as well as paying a caretaker. 

Caretaking for one with dementia varies depending on the quantity of care required.  Statistics show that Massachuestts costs range from $13,800 - $16,000 per month for a Nursing Home; $5,400 - $7,500 per month for assisted living; and $15 - $32 an hour for in-home care. 

 

Cost to the Family

Where the individual with dementia is fortunate enough to have family nearby, the family will often step up to assist the ill loved one with their daily activities.  Again, the process can be gradual and before the helpful family member realizes it, they may find themselves missing work and, finally, quitting their job altogether in order to give proper care to the dementia patient.  Obviously, the cost to the family includes the loss of income from this family member’s job. 

The less recognizable cost to the family, however, is the emotional strain that is placed on the family member caretaker.  In order to save the family money, many family members will work nearly twenty-four hours, seven days per week.  The ramifications are physical, mental and emotional health problems to the caretaker.  The medical costs and possible future psychological costs to the caretaker, then, must be considered.

 

            It is important that family members: take a step back from the situation and assess this cost.  Providing a caretaker with time off every day, week and year is a must to ensure the caretaker’s health.  The caretaker must have appropriate support in order to keep caring for the loved one.


Cost to the Nation

As a nation we have begun to recognize the devastation that dementia has caused and will continue to cause.  Organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association have been effective in lobbying for monies to be put towards the research of dementia treatment, prevention and reversal.  The cost of dementia to our nation has been a great motivator for politicians to fund such research.


A study conducted by RAND Corporation in 2013, estimated the national cost of dementia to be between $159 billion to $215 billion (including an estimate for the monetary value of informal care provided).[2]  The majority of the costs associated with dementia are for institutional and home-based long-term care and not medical services. 

Medicare and Medicaid pay for some of this cost, which amounts to a taxpayer burden.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association March 2013 Fact Sheet, in 2013 it is estimated that Medicare and Medicaid paid approximately $142 billion in caring for those with Alzheimer’s or other type of dementia.[3]

           

It is clearly in the best interest of the nation’s economy to continue research on prevention, treatment and reversal of dementia.

 

            Conclusion

 The costs of dementia can be devastating to the affected individual, their family and the nation.  While scientists continue to search for solutions to the debilitating condition, the families affected with it must face its challenges.  It is recommended that those families seek emotional support by way of a therapist or support group. In our recent book, “Senior and Boomer’s Guide to Health Care Reform and Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty” we provided helpful information how families can obtain quality care and protect a loved one with Alzheimer’s.  In addition, seeking out an Elder Law attorney can benefit the affected individual and family members in several ways.  We can also ensure that the family’s assets are being used in the most efficient manner considering other available resources and the family’s individual goals. 

 

Becoming educated and involved in planning for the challenges ahead is one of the MOST important steps a family facing the impact of dementia will take.  If you or someone you know is affected by dementia, we can help and we welcome the opportunity to do so.  To attend a workshop call 800-964-4295 or register online at DSullivan.com. For more information regarding our books, free workshops, and a DVD entitled,

“Helping People and Their Families on the Alzheimer’s Journey,”

Call our office at 781-237-2815.

 

 Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

[1] http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp
[2] http://www.rand.org/news/press/2013/04/03.hml
[3] http://act.alz.org/site/DocServer/2012_Costs_Fact_Sheet_version_2.pdf?docID=7161 
 

Tags: Estate Planning, Alzheimer's Disease, MassHealth, dementia, VA benefits, alzheimers, caretaker

Increase Your Brain Power!|Massachusetts Alzheimer's Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Feb 07, 2014

Estate, Asset, Brain Power, Alzheimer's

 

We've all been through those scary moments.

 We see a familiar face in an old movie on TV, and we frantically try to remember the name. Or we start walking to another room...and we suddenly forget why we're walking there.

 Well...relax. Incidents like these are quite normal. But, in addition, there are steps we can take to slow down cognitive decline. The brain is like the rest of the body - it responds to exercise!

 Here are a few things you can do...

  •  NEVER STOP LEARNING! - Stimulating our brains is the best protection against dementia and Alzheimer's. 
  •  GET ENOUGH SHUT-EYE - If you get less than six hours of sleep a night, your risk of stroke is greatly increased. 
  •   EAT LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT! - Most of your plate should be filled with green, leafy vegetables. Eat plenty of fish, nuts and olive oil. And avoid refined carbs. Studies show the "Mediterranean Diet" helps people live longer, healthier lives.
  •  WELCOME NEW CHALLENGES - The biggest memory complaint of Boomers and Seniors is difficulty in remembering names. So try memorizing three names a day - of celebrities, someone you met at the pool, TV personalities, athletes, etc.
  •   MOVE YOUR BUTT! - It's a great cardiovascular workout. And if you do it with a friend, it enhances stress-relieving social interaction, and brain-stimulating conversation.
  •   TRY MEDITATION - Reducing stress and anxiety generates improved blood flow to the brain. Try something simple. Inhale for a count of seven, hold for a count of seven, exhale for a count of seven. And repeat seven times.

If you've got questions about Alzheimer's or dementia, we've got answers.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

 

Tags: Alzheimer's Disease, alzheimer's activities, Alzheimer's, Massachusettes, 2014, Brain Power

Early Signs That You May Be Getting Alzheimer's | Massachusetts Alzheimer's Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Mon, Jan 13, 2014

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Alzheimer's: Just hearing the word strikes fear into anyone over 50.

 The statistics are chilling. Already, more than five million Americans have Alzheimer's. And by the time the last Baby Boomer passes away, that figure will be over ten million.

Prior to the past few decades, it was simply called dementia. It wasn't until recent years that Alzheimer's became classified as a disease in itself...and as just one of a number of forms of dementia.

Most of us tend to think of memory loss as the chief distinguishing characteristic of Alzheimer's. And, realistically, it probably is. But it's often not the first way in which Alzheimer's manifests itself. In fact, there are a number of signs - prior to any noticeable memory loss - which could indicate the onset of this disease.

Unfortunately, most of us (and, often, even doctors) miss these early signs - because we're too focused on memory loss as the most significant indicator.

 In 2011, research in Spain indicated that more than a third of adults who go on to develop early-onset Alzheimer's (before age 65) display a number of other symptoms, before memory loss becomes obvious. Interestingly, they're also the same symptoms that often appear first in patients who develop the disease after 65.

 In Part 2, we'll give you the list of early symptoms which could possibly indicate the onset of Alzheimer's.

 With all this talk about Alzheimer's and dementia, it's wise to remember that estate planning isn't something you do after you become sick. It's something to do before you ever get sick!

 

We can help. We've been planning Massachusetts families' estates for the past 25 years.

 

We can help your family, too. We're just a phone call away.

To gain free online access to our Senior and Boomers Guide to Healthcare Reform and Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty, which contains care tips as well as other useful information , please Click the link here:

Seniors and Boomers Guide 

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates, we help people and their families concerned with losing their homes and life savings to increasing medical and nursing home costs, taxes and the costs and time delays of probate. We also protect clients from losing control of their own health and financial decisions.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops to learn more about our process and what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy. To register for a seat at an upcoming workshop call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or register online at www.SeniorWorkshop.com

Tags: Alzheimer's Disease, Alzheimers Disease, alzheimer's activities, Alzheimer's, alzheimers, Nursing Home, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving From Dennis Sullivan & Associates | Massachusetts Alzheimer's Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Tue, Nov 26, 2013


Thanksgiving

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS!  

Turkey Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and food. This year we thought we would mention a concern that may affect some families and friends whose loved ones are suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.  In an article by CNN, it was reported that “Alzheimer’s ‘will become the defining disease of the Baby Boomer Generation.’” This is a difficult disease to live with and watch people live with. Below are some facts about the disease and some tips on how to celebrate this joyous holiday with the ones you love.


The Facts:
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause of death for those 65 and older. This disease is the only one in the top ten causes of death in America that has no way to prevent it, cure it, or even slow its progression.
Alzheimer’s takes a devastating toll not only on those with the disease, but also on their caregivers. In 2012, 15.4 million family and friends provided 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias; this care valuing at $216.3 billion... 

Thanksgiving Tips:

  • While preparing the food, reminisce about past Thanksgivings. But don’t ask, “Do you remember when…” something happened, since you don’t know how much has been forgotten. Instead, try starting your memories with “Wasn’t it fun when we…”

  • Limit the number of people you invite this year. Too many people may overwhelm someone with Alzheimer’s. Also make sure that there is a place for them to rest when things get to be a little too hectic.

  • Fill your home with familiar holiday scents, such as vanilla, which is considered to be calming. The smell of cooking food may also trigger memories and put them at ease.

  • Allow the person with Alzheimer’s to participate in cooking, but make sure that it is in a safe environment. Maybe stirring batter or mashing potatoes (See recipe below) at the kitchen table would be a good idea.

  • Sing or play familiar music. Music has a unique place in the human memory.

  • Watch TV or a movie together. You could watch a Football game, a Thanksgiving Day parade, or the Westminster National Dog Show.  

Family Thanksgiving

Recipe:

Kraft’s Whipped Sweet Potato Bake

what you need:
3 cans  (15 oz. each) sweet potatoes, drained
¼ cup  butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp.  ground cinnamon
1 tsp.  ground ginger
¼ tsp.  ground nutmeg
3 cups  JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows  
make it:
HEAT oven to 350°F.
BEAT potatoes, butter and spices with mixer until blended.
SPOON into 1-1/2-qt. casserole sprayed with cooking spray; top with marshmallows.
BAKE 15 to 20 min. or until potato mixture is heated through and marshmallows are lightly browned.
kraft kitchens tips:
SIZE-WISE
Enjoy this classic side dish on special occasions, but keep portion size in mind.
USE YOUR MICROWAVE
Mix all ingredients; spoon into microwaveable 1-1/2-qt. dish sprayed with cooking spray. Do not top with marshmallows. Microwave on HIGH 8 to 10 min. or until heated through, stirring after 5 min. Top with marshmallows; let stand 2 to 3 min. or until marshmallows begin to melt.
SUBSTITUTE
Substitute 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates, we help people and their families concerned with losing their homes and life savings to increasing medical and nursing home costs, taxes and the costs and time delays of probate. We also protect clients from losing control of their own health and financial decisions.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops to learn more about our process and what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy. To register for a seat at an upcoming workshop call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or register online 

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

CNN Artcle: Here Tips: Here Recipe: Here

Tags: Alzheimer's Disease, Alzheimers Disease, alzheimer's activities, Alzheimer's, Alzheimers Disease. Massachusetts, Thanksgiving, Recipes, family

Massachusetts Alzheimer's Attorney | How Can I Help My Mom Stay at Home - And Manage Her Medications - As long As Possible?

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Tue, Dec 04, 2012

How Can I Help My Mom Stay at Home - And Manage Her Medications - As long As Possible?

As an Elder Law attorney, I get asked this question a lot. And I always try to answer it with compassion, concern, and candor.describe the image

I tell people, first of all, that there's no single right answer; every patient is different, and every situation is different. The bottom line, as far as medication is concerned, is that she needs to take it...on time and in the right dosage!

If she's capable of taking her medicine, but just needs reminders, there are a number of "medication minders" at drugstores, medical supply stores, and discount stores. For example, weekly minders might work...but someone has to fill them out at the beginning of each week. And it's important to remember that that there needs to be a reminder for your Mom about what time to take her medicine, as well.

There are also medicine-reminders with alarms that go off. Some families rely on a family member to call the patient each time she needs to take her medicine. Modern life being as frantic as it is, though, this may not be the optimal method; and it may place an unfair burden on the person responsible for calling.

If your Mom goes to an adult day care center, make sure the staff knows to remind her. Just be sure you've provided them with the original prescription bottle with the original label.

If none of these systems works, you need to hire someone who can go to the house and administer her medicine. And if that becomes too unwieldy, you may have to face the fact that your Mom might be better off in a nursing home or assisted living facility.

To gain free online access to the Complete Alzheimer's Resource Kit, which contains care tips as well as other useful information on Alzheimer’s disease, please visit www.BostonMemoryLawyer.com

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.


Tags: Alzheimer's Disease, long term care, Nursing Home, Attorney, Alzheimer's, medication, adult day center

Massachusetts Alzheimer's Attorney | I'm The Primary Caregiver. Help!

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Thu, Nov 08, 2012

Being a caregiver is a 24/7 job. And when you're not actually doing the job, you're probably thinking about it.

Some caregivers feel guilty about telling other family members they can't do it alone. But they're not being fair to themselves. They're not taking care of their own physical health, or emotional health. No one - no one! - can do this job without an occasional break!alzheimer's, senior, caregiver

If you're lucky enough to have family or friends willing to help, use them. But, even if you don't, you can still get a break.
 

  • PRIVATE DUTY HOME CARE - Ask your local Alzheimer's Association or Area Agency on Aging. These agencies can provide people who can help with daily activities such as bathing, sitting, driving your loved one to her appointments, shopping, and meals.
  • ADULT DAY SERVICES - You can bring your loved one to a center where he'll be with others his age, in a supervised situation. But if your loved one has Alzheimer's, be sure you find a center with experience caring for Alzheimer's patients.
  • OVERNIGHT CARE - Many assisted-living facilities and nursing homes offer short-term stays (generally based on availability).
  • HIRE A CAREGIVER - Your church, Alzheimer's Association, or Area Agency on Aging may be able to recommend an independent caregiver who'll come to your home. Keep in mind, though, that "independent" means just that - so you must carefully check backgrounds, references, qualifications, etc. Have a long conversation - or two - with your prospective caregiver. Watch how she interacts with your loved one. And don't be afraid to ask your loved one's opinion - people with dementia are often surprisingly perceptive!

To gain free online access to the Complete Alzheimer's Resource Kit, which contains care tips as well as other useful information on Alzheimer’s disease, please visit www.BostonMemoryLawyer.com

describe the image

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

describe the image

Tags: Alzheimer's Disease, Massachusetts, caregiver, Attorney, Alzheimer's

Massachusetts Medicare Attorney | Medicare Settlement Benefits For Some

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Nov 02, 2012

Last week, Medicare agreed to expand its benefits for some people with chronic disease, including many elderly. This added care, which came in a settlement of a lawsuit brought by a Vermont woman named Glenda Jimmo, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, and others is potentially very important for some Medicare beneficiaries.

But the settlement does not affect long-term care benefits in any way. Medicare did not pay for nursing home care, home health aides, or other long-term care services before this lawsuit, and it will not do so now.  Additionally, the case has no impact on Medicaid.  The benefits and eligibility rules for Medicaid remain unchanged.senior, medicare, medicaid, long term care

Yes, this agreement will make it easier for some people who are receiving long-term care to also get skilled nursing care or physical therapy, but it will not require Medicare to pay for any long-term services or supports

Still, many people are confused about Medicare benefits for those with chronic disease and are uncertain about the applicability of this case. People are asking whether this settlement means their mom can now get Medicare long-term care benefits. The simple answer is: No.

That is not to say the settlement is not important. For years, many home health agencies and skilled nursing facilities have interpreted Medicare rules to mean the program would not pay for rehab if a patient is not getting better. 

Imagine, for example, an 80-year old named Fred suffers a stroke. There has been no question that Medicare could pay for Fred's physical or occupational therapy. However, the rules have been unclear, and many providers have taken the position that Medicare would only pay as long as Fred's condition improves as a result of this skilled care.

The rules were vague, and Medicare has sometimes argued that providers misunderstood them. Still, many service providers, who feared Medicare auditors would demand repayment for ineligible services, were reluctant to provide rehab or skilled nursing unless a patient met this “improvement standard.”

Under the terms of the legal settlement, a patient's condition no longer needs to improve to be eligible for skilled nursing care and rehab. She will now be eligible for the Medicare benefit even if that care helps her maintain her health status. As long as skilled care is deemed necessary by a health professional based on an individual assessment, maintenance therapy would now be a Medicare benefit.

It is also important to remember that the settlement does not increase the number of days skilled nursing care is provided after a hospitalization. It remains a maximum of 100 days per benefit period.

The agreement must still be approved by the judge before it is final, however, the federal government will begin implementing the agreement right away, though the process could take many months.

It is long past time for Medicare to clarify this issue, and it could even end up saving the program money since ongoing therapy might keep a patient out of the hospital. However, don’t be confused: This agreement does nothing to expand long-term care benefits.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

To gain free online access to the Complete Alzheimer's Resource Kit, which contains care tips as well as other useful information on Alzheimer’s disease, please visit www.BostonMemoryLawyer.com.Alzheimer's, dimentia, nursing home, long-term care

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

trust, estate, asset protection, estate planning

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: health care proxy, Estate Planning, Alzheimer's Disease, Medicaid, family, health Care act, Health Care Ruling, caregiver

Massachusetts Elder Care Attorney | The Blessings of Being a Caregiver

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Tue, Oct 09, 2012

The Blesssings of Being a Caregiver

 

Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Blessings... of being a caregiver?

 

Yet, believe it or not, there are certain blessings to this 24/7, emotionally-wrenching job.  You just have to be open to them. And to recognize them when they occur.

 caregiver, elder care, elder law, massachusetts

But, first, you have to grieve. Because you can't accept what is until you've allowed yourself to grieve for your loved one. You can't come to the stage of acceptance until you pass the stage of grief.

 

When you come to the stage of acceptance, you'll allow yourself to open up to some of the small joys you couldn't see before.

 

The process of grieving, really, consists of a chain of emotions, each one flowing into the next...

 

Shock at the initial diagnosis, and disbelief.

 

Emotional Reaction - You'll yell, scream, lose your temper.

 

Anxiety crops up almost immediately, as you start to worry about the future.

 

Anger at your loved one for getting sick. At the doctor. Even at God.

 

Guilt for feeling this emotions.

 

The beginning of healing often starts with reflecting upon better days.

 

Acceptance finally comes when you're able to let go of the previous emotions.

 

Keep in mind, though, that acceptance doesn't mean the total end of grief; you'll still feel it at times. And that's OK. Eventually, you'll come back to acceptance.

 

Then, you can begin to enjoy being with your loved one again. When you can deal with the reality that your time together may be growing short, you treasure every minute of your time together, and you realize how precious it is.

 

When you're a caregiver to a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia, your life can seem like one series of questions after another. But we can help.

 

To gain free online access to the Complete Alzheimer's Resource Kit, which contains care tips as well as other useful information on Alzheimer’s disease, please visit www.BostonMemoryLawyer.com

Click Here to Download  The Alzheimer's Resource Kit

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

Tags: Alzheimer's Disease, elder care, dementia, Massachusetts, caregiver, care, Elder Law, Attorney, blessings

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