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.

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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

The Costs of Dementia: For the Patient and the Family - Part II

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Wed, Apr 05, 2017

In Part II of our three-part blog on the Costs of Dementia, we discuss the Financial, Emotional and Physical Costs of caring for someone with dementia.

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Financial Costs for the Family

Women routinely serve as caregivers for spouses, parents, in-laws and friends. While some men do serve as caregivers, women spend approximately 50% more time caregiving than men.

The financial impact on women caregivers is substantial. In a Genworth study, Beyond Dollars 2015, more than 60% of the women surveyed reported they pay for care with their own savings and retirement funds. These expenses include household expenses, personal items, transportation services, informal caregivers and long-term care facilities. Almost half report having to reduce their own quality of living in order to pay for the care.

In addition, absences, reduced hours and chronic tardiness can mean a significant reduction in a caregiver’s pay. 77% of those surveyed missed time from work in order to provide care for a loved one, with an average of seven hours missed per week. About one-third of caregivers provide 30 or more hours of care per week, and half of those estimate they lost around one-third of their income. More than half had to work fewer hours, felt their career was negatively affected and had to leave their job as the result of a long-term care situation.

Caregivers who lose income also lose retirement benefits and social security benefits. They may be sacrificing their children’s college funds and their own retirement. Other family members who contribute to the costs of care may also see their standard of living and savings reduced.

 Emotional and Physical Costs to Caregivers

In addition to the financial costs, caregivers report increased stress, anxiety and depression. The Genworth study found that while a high percentage of caregivers have some positive feelings about providing care for their loved one, almost half also experienced depression, mood swings and resentment, and admitted the event negatively affected their personal health and well-being. About a third reported an extremely high level of stress and said their relationships with their family and spouse were affected. More than half did not feel qualified to provide physical care and worried about the lack of time for themselves and their families.

Providing care to someone with dementia increases the levels of distress and depression higher than caring for someone without dementia. People with dementia may wander, become aggressive and often no longer recognize family members, even those caring for them. Caregivers can become exhausted physically and emotionally, and the patient may simply become too much for them to handle, especially when the caregiver is an older person providing care for his/her ill spouse. This can lead to feelings of failure and guilt. In addition, these caregivers often have high blood pressure, an increased risk of developing hypertension, spend less time on preventative care and have a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we have helped many clients plan for caring for loved ones with dimentia. To learn more,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: dementia, care costs, seniors, alzheimers care, Alzheimers Disease

The Costs of Dementia: For the Patient and the Family - Part I

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Fri, Mar 24, 2017

A recent report from the Alzheimer’s Association states that one in ten Americans age 65 or older currently have Alzheimer’s. With the baby boomer generation aging and people living longer, that number may nearly triple by 2050. Alzheimer’s, of course, is just one cause of dementia—mini-strokes (TIAs) are also to blame—so the number of those with dementia may actually be higher. A 2011 study by the Alzheimer's Disease International and the World Health Organization found that 50% of people over 80 years old have some form of dementia.

Caring for someone with dementia is more expensive—and care is often needed longer—than for someone who does not have dementia. Because the cost of care in a facility is out of reach for many families, caregivers are often family members who risk their own financial security and health to care for a loved one.

In this three-part blog, we will explore these issues and steps families can take to alleviate some of these burdens.

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Cost of Care for the Patient with Dementia—And How to Pay for It

As the disease progresses, so does the level of care the person requires—and so do the costs of that care. Options for care can range from $40,000 to $140,000 and more. Levels of care include in-home care, adult daycare, assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

 Care for a person with dementia can last years, and there are few outside resources to help pay for this kind of care. Health insurance does not cover assisted living or nursing home facilities, or help with activities of daily living (ADL), which include eating, bathing and dressing. Medicare covers some in-home health care and a limited number of days of skilled nursing home care, but not long-term care. Medicaid, which does cover long-term care, was designed for the indigent; the person’s assets must be spent down to almost nothing to qualify. VA benefits for Aid & Attendance will help pay for some care, including assisted living and nursing home facilities, for veterans and their spouses who qualify.

Those who have significant assets can pay as they go. Home equity and retirement savings can also be a source of funds. Long-term care insurance may also be an option, but many people wait until they are not eligible or the cost is prohibitive. 

However, for the most part, families are not prepared to pay these extraordinary costs, especially if they go on for years. As a result, family members are often required to provide the care for as long as possible. To learn more about how to protect your home, spouse and life savings from the increasing cost of nuring home care, register today for a free educational workshop.

Click on the button below to get our FREE report "The Plain Truth About Alzheimer's Disease" which includes the 9 Steps You Need to Take Right Now to Care for Your Loved One and to Protect Your Family’s Finances.

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At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we provide a unique education and counseling process which includes our original 19 Point Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Review to help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life savings, and legacy for their loved ones. Attend a free workshop to discover where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as you implement plans for a protected future.

You may register now for a free educational workshop - call 800-964-4295 or click the button below, to register and learn more about what youcan do to protect your spouse, your home, and your life savings.

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Tags: Alzheimer's, alzheimers care, dementia, care costs

Understanding Long-Term Care Costs and Alzheimer's I Massachusetts Alzheimer's Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Alzheimer's Attorney Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Mar 18, 2016

Alzheimer's and Long Term Care

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Alzheimer's is growing at an alarming rate. Alzheimer's increased by 46.1% as a cause of death between 2000 and 2006, while causes of death from prostate cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and HIV all declined during that same time period.

The 2015 Alzheimer's Association annual report titled, “Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures” explores different types of dementia, causes and risk factors, and the cost involved in providing health care, among other areas. This report contains some eye-opening statistics:

  • An estimated 5.3 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's disease. This figure includes 5.1 million people aged 65 and older and 200,000 individuals under age 65 who have early-onset Alzheimer's.
  • One in nine people age 65 and older (11 percent) has Alzheimer’s disease.
  • About one-third of people age 85 and older have Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Eighty-one percent of people who have Alzheimer’s disease are age 75 or older. The number of people aged 65 and older with Alzheimer's disease is estimated to reach 7.7 million in 2030 - more than a 50% increase from the 5.1 million aged 65 and older currently affected.
  • Every 67 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s. Thus, approximately 473,000 people age 65 or older developed Alzheimer’s disease in the United States in 2015.
  • By 2050, the number of individuals aged 65 and older with Alzheimer's is projected to number between 11 million and 16 million - unless medical breakthroughs identify ways to prevent or more effectively treat the disease.

Currently long-term care costs for dementia and Alzheimer's patients are about 80% higher than any other long-term care need. This is because dementia and Alzheimer's patients require more “caregiving” in terms of help with basic daily functions. Things that many of us take for granted to be able to do for ourselves, even when we are sick, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, and eating, are all activities many dementia patients require assistance with as the disease progresses. In addition, dementia patients often need someone with them just to protect them from themselves. Many dementia patients wander or harm themselves. Therefore, constant oversight of them is necessary.

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, or any other type of dementia. There are treatments that may help slow the progression of the disease. There are also theories related to diet that may help prevention or stave off the development of dementia. However, there are no surefire ways to beat this disease right now. Advocating for the recognition of the costs associated with the disease as well as the heartbreaking effect on friends and family of the patient, is the best way to raise awareness to support the finding of a cure and prevention of dementia. We can all look forward to a day that this disease is a thing of the past because a cure, and/or prevention, has been found.

Click here to get a FREE copy of our book "The Senior and Boomer's Guide to Health care Reform and Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty"

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we provide a unique education and counseling process which includes our original 19 Point Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Review to help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life savings, and legacy for their loved ones. Attend a free workshop to discover where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as you implement plans for a protected future.

You may register now for a free educational workshop - call 800-964-4295 or click the button below, to register and learn more about what youcan do to protect your spouse, your home, and your life savings.

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

Tags: long term care, Elder Law, seniors, elder care, long term care insurance, dementia, alzheimers, boomers, care costs, alzheimers care

MA Lags Behind on Dementia Care

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Wed, Mar 18, 2015

Massachusetts Lags Behind on Dementia Care Compliance | Massachusetts Elder Care Attorney

 

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Arlene Germain, the president of Massachusetts Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, said that once the new rules are implemented, they could substantially improve the lives of nursing home residents across the state. She also added, “strong oversight and greater nursing home participation are critical to ensure that the law’s benefits are meaningful and widespread.”

Massachusetts has been slow with its work on updating the process for dementia care compliance checks. The state only handed out its dementia special care checklist for inspectors in December, almost six months after the rules were officially adopted.

The Boston Globe article, titled Dementia care lacks oversight in Mass., data show,” says that despite the delays, state regulators are not conducting spot checks for compliance; they’re already just too busy with routine monitoring of more than 400 nursing homes. The state health department recently announced that its inspectors would now review dementia care during their annual visits to each facility. This is a step in the right direction, but the reality is that many nursing homes will still not be subject to these compliance checks for months.

The president of the state’s Advocates for Nursing Home Reform says the new rules, once fully implemented, could substantially improve the lives of nursing home residents. Increased oversight and greater nursing home participation will be needed to ensure that the law’s benefits are meaningful. Nevertheless, nursing home administrators say they are struggling to comply with the rules due to its expense.

The Massachusetts Senior Care Association reports that many members have spent as much as $30,000 on the required staff training. Those rules, in addition to other general training requirements, are intended to close a loophole that allowed nursing homes to advertise dementia units without providing added training for their workers, specialized resident activities, or safety measures to prevent residents from wandering. Massachusetts is lagging behind the rest of the country on requiring these protections. The original article reports that according to a federal report written in 2005, that 44 other states were already requiring governing training, staffing, and security for facilities that provide specialized dementia care. Regulators believe it was important to mandate the training, because over half of the state’s 41,000 nursing home residents have dementia.

 

For additional guidance, please see The Seniors and Boomer's Guide to Health Care Reform and Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty the book provides important information for families on resources for quality care and protection for loved ones.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we provide a unique education and counseling process which includes our unique 19 Point Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Review to help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones, click here for more information. We provide clients with a unique 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: Nursing Homes, Nursing Home, dementia, 2015, new regulations

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

Massachusetts Elder Law Lawyer | Alzheimer's vs. Dementia: Do You Know the Difference?

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Feb 15, 2013

Alzheimer's, Dementia, Lawyer, Massachusetts, Elder LawWe recently saw a large-type headline about a woman who was supposedly "cured" of Alzheimer's. There is of course, no cure for Alzheimer's. As it turns out that this woman had been misdiagnosed with Alzheimer's.  She actually had a rare thyroid condition that can sometimes mimic the characteristics of Alzheimer's.  

Alzheimer's now affects nearly 6 million Americans, some of them at surprisingly-young ages (like University of Tennessee Women's Basketball Coach Pat Summit, who was diagnosed at 59). And experts are saying that, by the year 2030, the number of people with the disease will double.  

Did you know, Alzheimer's accounts for only 70% of dementias...not all of them!  

Some forms of dementia, believe it or not, can be caused by physical illness, such as vascular dementia, strokes, Parkinson's, medications that don't interact well together, urinary tract infections, fluid on the brain, thyroid or other endocrine illnesses, or metabolic problems.  There may also be other hidden villains as well, that only a series of extensive and invasive medical tests can reveal. If a doctor diagnoses you or a loved one with dementia, perhaps you should consider a having battery of tests conducted just to make sure. Misdiagnoses can result in tragedy, especially for seniors.  

For more information on Alzheimer’s and Dementia, we encourage you to visit

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.

Alzheimer's Care, Demetia Care, Lawyer, Elder LawTo 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.  We also invite you to visit (insert domain name from list below) for more information on (pick one of three topics).

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 education 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

 

Nursing home care is more than $140,000 per year! Attend this FREE educational seminar to learn:

  • How to protect your home and assets from the costs of long-term care

  • How to stay out of the nursing home and access in-home care

  • How to make sure your spouse is not left financially ruined if you need nursing home care

  • How to access Veterans benefits to pay for long-term care

Tags: Elder Law, Medicaid, dementia, Alzheimers Disease, Alzheimer's, Alzheimers Disease. Massachusetts, adult day center

Massachusetts Alzheimer's Lawyer | How Beneficial is a Dementia Care Unit for Someone with Alzheimer's?

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Feb 01, 2013

How Beneficial is a Dementia Care Unit for Someone with Alzheimer's?

As an Elder Law attorney, I get asked this question a lot. And I tell my clients that it can be very beneficial...if the unit is designed and staffed appropriately.

The goal of such a unit, of course, is to provide specialized care. Personnel should have specialized training for dementia. The unit itself should have smaller spaces, so patients don't feel overwhelmed. It should be a quieter environment, to prevent over-stimulation. It should be locked securely, as many Alzheimer's patients move around or pace.

I tell my clients to pay attention to the design of the unit at which they're looking. Good dementia units are designed to provide more specialized care and less stimulation. In fact, many no longer have intercoms or p.a. systems.

A dementia unit should also have its own Activities Director, who designs specialized programs. Staff are often trained in how to help the seniors participate and enjoy themselves more.

Your state's Department on Aging might provide you with a list of facilities in your area, or else point you toward the proper agency.

Another thing I tell my clients: Visit at least three facilities! Take a friend who can be objective. Then...

  • Meet the staff - and observe their interaction with the patients.
  • Is the facility clean? Are the grounds well-tended? (And secure??)
  • Ask to see their most recent state survey.
  • If the survey indicates deficiencies., what were they?
  • Were they addressed? How?

After speaking with the friend who accompanied you, make a list of pros and cons. AND LISTEN TO YOUR GUT!!

If you have a loved one with dementia, you'll be asking yourself new questions every day.

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.comlawyer

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: dementia, Massachusetts, Elder Law, Attorney, senior, Alzheimer's, care unit

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | How Beneficial is a Dementia Care Unit for Someone with Alzheimer's?

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Tue, Dec 11, 2012

How Beneficial is a Dementia Care Unit for Someone with Alzheimer's?

As an Elder Law attorney, I get asked this question a lot. And I tell my clients that it can be very beneficial...if the unit is designed and staffed appropriately.

The goal of such a unit, of course, is to provide specialized care. Personnel should have specialized training for dementia. The unit itself should have smaller spaces, so patients don't feel overwhelmed. It should be a quieter environment, to prevent over-stimulation. It should be locked securely, as many Alzheimer's patients move around or pace.dementia, elder law, massachusetts

I tell my clients to pay attention to the design of the unit at which they're looking. Good dementia units are designed to provide more specialized care and less stimulation. In fact, many no longer have intercoms or p.a. systems.

A dementia unit should also have its own Activities Director, who designs specialized programs. Staff are often trained in how to help the seniors participate and enjoy themselves more.

Your state's Department on Aging might provide you with a list of facilities in your area, or else point you toward the proper agency.

Another thing I tell my clients: Visit at least three facilities! Take a friend who can be objective. Then...

  • Meet the staff - and observe their interaction with the patients.
  • Is the facility clean? Are the grounds well-tended? (And secure??)
  • Ask to see their most recent state survey.
  • If the survey indicates deficiencies., what were they?
  • Were they addressed? How?

After speaking with the friend who accompanied you, make a list of pros and cons. AND LISTEN TO YOUR GUT!!

If you have a loved one with dementia, you'll be asking yourself new questions every day. 

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.

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

Tags: dementia, Nursing Home, Elder Law, Attorney, Alzheimer's

Massachusetts Alzheimer's Attorney | Are Group Homes With Four or Five People Appropriate for Alzheimer's Patients?

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Wed, Dec 05, 2012

First of all, it's important to define exactly what we mean by "group homes." Some states call them "boarding care homes," instead. Some states require licenses. So, to start your search, call your state's licensing department and ask if licensure is required; and, if so, get a list of the homes in your area.describe the image

I'd consider only those homes experienced with dementia patients. These facilities will have very specific safety measures, and staffs with special training in working with this population.

Also, when making this decision, consider whether your loved one can stay in the home for the rest of her life. For example, if she runs out of money, will the home accept Medicaid? (And will she be eligible for it?) What if she eventually needs a wheelchair, or becomes bedridden, or incontinent. Will she be able to remain there?

In my opinion, smaller homes (with just four or five residents) are best for dementia patients. They're more "homey." There's more contact between the staff and residents. And staff are generally more versatile, as they often have to do a wider variety of jobs.  

I believe that residents of smaller homes are often happier. The smaller homes often make it a point to involve residents in daily activities such as cooking and cleaning, folding laundry, helping with the trash, watering plants, and setting the table. Activities such as these allow your loved one to feel a sense of responsibility, and self-worth. And they allow her, as well, to develop a sense of community with the other residents.  

When you're dealing with Alzheimer's, it's inevitable that more and more questions will come up in your mind. That's why we developed the Complete Alzheimer's Resource Kit, which contains care tips as well as other useful information on Alzheimer’s disease.

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.

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Tags: Medicaid, dementia, Massachusetts, Elder Law, Attorney, Alzheimer's, group homes

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