Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

How Do I Know What Training a Caregiver Needs To Care for My Loved One? | Boston Elder Law Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Wed, Aug 29, 2012

 

No one who's ever handed the care of a loved one to a stranger has been without doubts as to whether they've picked the right person. But we can give you a few tips to make the choice easier.

 

elder care, nursing home, seniors

 

The first question you need to ask yourself if simple. What level of care does my loved one require? You may be able to arrive at the answer with the help of a home health/private duty agency.

 

If it's just a matter of getting you some assistance with daily chores, a housekeeper would work. If your loved one is still somewhat independent, but you don't want to leave them alone, a sitter would be the right choice. (Note: It should be a sitter with experience in dementia.) If your loved one needs assistance with simple personal tasks - it's time for a certified nurse aid. And once she's in the stage where she needs medical services, your logical choice would be a nurse.

 

A home care agency will do all the dirty work - background checks, hiring, training, payroll, benefits, and, if necessary, dismissal. There's a fee, of course. But it's money well-spent. And it will relieve you of the burden of trying to find help yourself.

 

Then there's the option of an adult day care center... which would free you during the daytime.

 

When making these decisions, go with your gut. If it doesn't feel right... don't do it!

 

You'll feel a tremendous responsibility - and burden - when making these decisions. But we can help.

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

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.

and receive a free Unique Self-Guided 19-Point Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection

Legal Guide with accompanying DVD

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

       To register or call (800) 964-4295 (24/7 or online at www.SeniorWorkshop.com 

 

 

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

Tags: Estate Planning, Nursing Home Costs, Alzheimer's Disease, Elder Law, Nursing Home Guide, Nursing Homes, elder care, Wellesley, dementia

Anger Towards Alzheimer's | Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Wed, Aug 22, 2012

Grief is natural when a loved one's diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Grief for the person they used to be. And grief for life you used to have.

alzheimers, elder law

 

And one of the stages of grief is anger...anger at the situation, and even anger at your loved one for getting caught in the situation.

 

Researchers have identified ten different stages of grief. Each person goes through these stages at his/her own pace; and not everyone goes through all of them.

 

The ten stages of grief:

 

  1. Shock - Disbelief that a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
  2. Denial - It's not really happening. Dad will snap out of it, and be his old self again.
  3. Depression - Overwhelming sadness, feelings of isolation.
  4. Physical Distress - Symptoms of illness, or incapacitating fatigue.
  5. Anxiety - Worrying about the future...from the next minute to the next decade.
  6. Anger - Anger at the disease. Anger at the doctor. Anger at your loved one. And anger at God.
  7. Guilt - "Why was I always yelling at Dad?"
  8. Withdrawing from Friends, Normal activities - How will they treat me? How will they treat Dad?
  9. Dealing With memories - Happy memories can actually help you heal.
  10. Acceptance - Your Dad has the disease. There's nothing you can do about it. But there is something you can do to make the best of it.

 

One thing about grief - there are no short-cuts. And if you ignore your feelings now, they'll come back to bite you later.

 

You may have to deal with new stages of grief each time your Dad/Mom goes through new stages of Alzheimer's. Don't fight the feelings; let yourself experience them. Whatever you do, though, realize that your feelings are normal! And that you have to let yourself experience them before you can move on.

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.

Register Now and receive a free Unique Self-Guided 19-Point Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection Legal Guide with accompanying DVD

Nursing home care is more than $140,000-$180,000 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

       To register or call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or online at www.SeniorWorkshop.com

Tags: Estate Planning, Nursing Home Costs, Alzheimer's Disease, Elder Law, Nursing Home Guide, Nursing Homes, elder care, elder care journey

Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Lawyer | Hallucinations and Delusions

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Tue, Jul 10, 2012

Are hallucinations or delusions a part of Alzheimer's disease?

Hallucinations are sensory experiences that cannot be verified by anyone other than the person experiencing them. Any sense may be involved, particularly seeing and hearing.
Delusions are beliefs that are contrary to fact which remain fixed or persistent despite all evidence to the contrary. Both can result from either the disease process or drug side effects. alzheimers disease

If you suspect that a medication might be causing these symptoms, talk with your physician. You can research this information yourself by talking with your pharmacist or by visiting the medication website. (Type in the name of the medication in your search engine, and you should find what you are looking for.) Even if you think the medication is causing the hallucinations or delusions, consult your physician before discontinuing use, as many medications can not be stopped abruptly; they need to be tapered off.

Hallucinations and delusions can also simply be symptoms of dementia. People who have Alzheimer’s each experience the disease in a different way. Some have hallucinations, some have delusions. Some have both, some have neither.

The rule of thumb is if the hallucinations are friendly ones, meaning they don’t upset or frighten your loved one, then the caregiver and those around the loved one need to just “go with the flow.” Validation is important when dealing with hallucinations. When your loved one thinks he or she sees or hears someone who isn’t really there, you can say, “What are your friends’ names?” “Are they nice?”

If the hallucinations are not friendly, the situation becomes much more difficult. Your loved one may believe that someone is trying to kill them, break into the house, or cause harm in some other way. Validation also works in this situation, but it is more tricky. You may have to use what is called “therapeutic fibs”—meaning you may not be telling the whole truth, but it’s for your loved one’s own good. For instance, you may say you are afraid too, but you called 911 and police took the intruder away. This response may or may not put them at ease. If it does, it may be only for a short time. The hallucinations will start up again, and you will have to respond again. If unfriendly hallucinations continue, consult your physician.

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.

Register NOW for a Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection Workshop and receive a free Unique Self-Guided 19-Point Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection

Legal Guide with accompanying DVD

Nursing home care is more than $140,000-$180,000 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

       To register or call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or online at www.SeniorWorkshop.com

Tags: Estate Planning, Nursing Home Costs, Alzheimer's Disease, Nursing Home Guide, Nursing Homes, elder care, elder care journey

Boston Elder Law Attorney | Part Two - Feeling the Pressure of Caring for Mom & Dad?

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Jul 06, 2012

ANSWER:

Dear Feeling Pressured,

elder law, estate planning attorney, boston lawyer, massachusettsIsn't family wonderful.  Your sister's enthusiasm to pass responsibility on to you and your children is comical.  One of the caregiver tips from Alzheimer's Master Caregiver Jo Huey, in the Complete Alzheimer's Resource Kit, is to maintain your sense of humor.

You mentioned in your letter that you noticed a "significant decline" in your father's mental heakth.  It is critical for your family to stay on top of the situation, it is possible that your mother may be hiding her concerns from the family.  She is dealing with many new challanges as a result of your father's declining mental health.  Perhaps she does not want you to think she feels you should be responsible for their care.  I want to be sure that you and your mother are clear that she does not have to handle your father's care alone.

After a lifetime of caring for each other, spouses are often reluctant to ask for help from children or an outside agency.  The epxectation, responsibilities and even the change in roles can be overwhelming.  In your father's case, he has become dependent rather than a provider. 

As Elder Law professionals, our main conern isn't that you move in with your mother and provide support but that your mother receives support from somewhere.  Your parents may be at "that stage", when it is time for you and your family to make a family plan.  We have helped a number of families in Massachusetts with our unique Life Care Plan.  We like to think of the life care plan as a GPS that guides you and your family along the often times difficult Elder Care Journey.  For more information on how a Life Care Plan from Dennis Sullivan & Associates can provide peace of mind for you and your loved one register to attend a free educational workshop hosted by our team of Estate Planning & Elder Law professionals. 

Your mother may be so upset by your sister's phone calls because the calls make her aware of the seriousness of the situation.  The behaviors you see on a visit are likely very different from the burdens of day to day care.

Remember, being a good daughter does not mean you have to surrender your own life.  It does however, require that you take some action to ensure your parents are safe and comfortable as the progress down the Elder Care Journey.  There are resources and help available, and our job as elder law professionals is to help families find and make the best choices for their unique situation.

Feeling Pressured, we wish you and your family all the best.

Sincerely,

The Dennis Sullivan & Associates Team

 

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, long term care, Baby Boomers, Nursing Home Guide, in-home care, Health Care, family, elder care, assisted living, life-care plan, elder care journey

Life Expectancy of Alzheimer's Patients | Boston Elder Law Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Thu, Jun 28, 2012

Each person with Alzheimer’s progresses at a different rate, and not everyone experiences every symptom or stage. Some will plateau at a stage for quite some time, while other will progress very rapidly.alzheimers disease, elder law attorney, alzheimers disease lawyer

Alzheimer’s disease does not cause death. However, the disease progresses to the point that many of the body’s organs begin to shut down. If the patient becomes bedridden, he or she can develop an illness such as pneumonia and be unable to fight it off.

According to several resources, a person with Alzheimer’s can survive from three to twenty years after the first symptoms begin, with an average of eight years.

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 join us for a free educational workshop. By attending a workshop you will learn more about how you and your family can take advantage of community programs that can soften the financial impact of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. To register for an upcoming workshop please visit www.SeniorWorkshop.com or call (800) 964-4295 (24 hours a day).

Tags: Estate Planning, Alzheimer's Disease, Elder Law, Nursing Home Guide, Nursing Homes, elder care, elder care journey

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | Medicaid & The "Murky Paper Trail"

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Wed, Jun 20, 2012

elder law attorney, elder law lawyer, elder lawMedicaid applications are beginning to be more closely monitored and as a result are getting tougher to get approved. Eve called us when Mom had just entered the nursing home after having lived with her for several years.  Mom had 2 months of funds remaining.  Eve called us to handle the Medicaid application.  We told her we had to work quickly.

For starters, we had to review what was in the 5 years of financial records that we would need to produce for Medicaid under its 5-year look back period.  As detailed in previous posts, you should not wait until the State asks for the documentation because they typically give you 10 days to produce it under the threat of a denial for lack of documentation. Now you might think, “what’s the big deal?  We’ll just refile.”  However, if Medicaid denies our application 5 months after we file it, for example, we can only refile and ask for 3 months of retroactive benefits, losing out on 2 months.

So, we got right to work.  And we found a “muddy” paper trail.  Eve told us that Mom’s dementia had caused her to be destructive.   Mom had destroyed furniture, carpet, walls and appliances in Eve’s home, all which Eve, over the past several years, had replaced.  Except that she didn’t keep good records of how she paid for the items she purchased and she did much of it from her account, not Mom’s.

Eve told me that Mom had $50,000 of stock, which she cashed in over a 2-year period.  Eve deposited it into her own account and then paid for expenses from there.  I told her that was going to be a problem.  Unless we could establish by a clear paper trail that the money was spent for Mom, Medicaid would likely assess a period of ineligibility, and that’s exactly what happened.  Eve struggled to find receipts showing the repairs and purchases she made.  Some of the contractors she hired and paid cash.  Work that was done wasn’t documented clearly.  In some cases, additional work was done that was not related to the damage caused by Mom.

Eve also had a tough time producing documentation to show where the cash from the stock sale went.  That account had been retitled in Mom’s name jointly with Eve’s son, Bob, some 20 years ago.  But, I told Eve that we would have to prove that.  If Bob’s name was only added within the last 5 years then we were dealing with a Medicaid penalty.

After months of back and forth communication with Medicaid, they reached a decision.  We received approval with a 6 month penalty, meaning Eve would need to cover another 6 months of Mom’s nursing home care at the nursing home’s private pay rate.  “It’s so unfair,” she told me.  “I have spent much more than $50,000 on Mom’s care and repairing the damage caused to my home as a result of her dementia.  Now I have to pay even more?“

At Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we practice Elder Law, and we have ways to help you get through these difficult times.  For more information on Medicaid qualification access our FREE GUIDE “Don’t Go Broke in a Nursing Home” in which you will discover secrets for surviving the nursing home spend down.  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, please visit www.BostonMemoryLawyer.com.  We also encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops hosted by our team of professionals in Wellesley, Massachusetts.  To register for a seat at an upcoming workshop call (800) 964-4295 (24/7). 

Tags: Nursing Home Costs, Elder Law, Medicaid, MassHealth, Nursing Home Guide, Nursing Homes, family, elder care, elder care journey

Massachusetts Alzheimer's Lawyer | Do I Tell My Loved One They Have Alzheimer's?

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Jun 15, 2012

This is a topic that’s been debated for years, and the experts are no help. Some feel that people with Alzheimer’s should be told, and some feel they shouldn’t.

Perhaps the best way to decide is to think about your loved one’s possible reactions. Will they take it in stride, or will they fall into a deep depression? Will knowing enable them to cope better, or will it make them give up?

 Alzheimer's Disease, elder care, elder care journey, family, life-care plan, Nursing Home Costs, Nursing Home Guide, Medicaid, MassHealth, veterans benefitsIt’s probably best to assume that if you don’t tell them, someone else might slip which might be devastating. Their doctor may be the best one to tell your loved one, if there’s a good relationship (with a family member present). Afterwards, it’s a good idea to call a family meeting and tell everyone at once.

These days, family meetings, especially when legal or financial matters are involved, are not always love-fests, so you might want to hold meetings dealing with these issues without your loved one present; the last thing they needs now is more stress.

Allow your loved one to grieve, allow your family members to grieve, and allow yourself to grieve. You may want to speak with them about early-stage Alzheimer’s support groups, to give them a forum to express their feelings, and to hear other patients’ feelings as well. This will likely help you as well because you’ll meet other people taking care of their own parents.

A few quick tips: Family-members should work as a team. Choose your battles and allow yourself the luxury of an occasional laugh because you’ll need it.

At Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we practice Elder Law, and we have ways to help you get through these difficult times.  To access the Complete Alzheimer’s Resource Kit and gain free online access to more Alzheimer’s care tips as well as other useful information on Alzheimer’s, please visit www.BostonMemoryLawyer.com.  To listen to an interview with master Alzheimer’s caregiver Jo Huey in which she covers several tips on providing the most effective care for a love one with Alzheimer’s visit our Podcast page.  We also encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops hosted by our team of professionals in Wellesley, Massachusetts.  To register register online or call (800) 964-4295 (24/7). 

 

Tags: Nursing Home Costs, Alzheimer's Disease, Medicaid, MassHealth, Nursing Home Guide, family, elder care, veterans benefits, life-care plan, elder care journey

Checklist for Families With Loved Ones Who Need Nursing Home Care

Posted by Wellesley Estate Planning Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, May 11, 2012

If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s, he or she may eventually need nursing home care. The challenge is in finding the right facility not only for your loved one, but also for the family.

Below is a sample checklist that has been developed to help you and family members make these important decisions. Make copies, and compare different homes. Don’t expect every facility to score well on every question; simply consider which items are most important to you. But, don’t rely only on a number. Ask to speak to family members of other residents. Also, contact the local or state ombudsman, and get a copy of the state inspection report.

Sample Nursing Home Evaluation Form
Name of Nursing Home: ________________________________________
Date Visited: __________________________

  • First impression? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Exterior: paint, gutters and trim? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Are the grounds pleasant and well kept? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Views from residents’ rooms and other windows? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Alzheimer’s Special Care Unit? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Secure outdoor area? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Secure area with walking paths? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Appropriate areas for physical and occupational therapy? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Are barber or beauty salon services available? 1 2 3 4 5

  • A well-ventilated room for smokers? 1 2 3 4 5

  • General cleanliness? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Clean smell? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Enough space for residents? 1 2 3 4 5

  • How noisy are hallways and common areas? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Is the dining area clean and pleasant? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Is there room at tables for both residents and aides, if necessary? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Are residents using common areas? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Can residents bring furniture and personal items for their rooms? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Does the administrator know residents by name, and speak to them in a pleasant manner? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Does staff speak to residents with cheerful, respectful attitudes? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Do staff and administrators work well together? 1 2 3 4 5

  • What special training has the staff received for Alzheimer’s residents? May I observe a training session? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Do nursing assistants participate in the resident’s care process? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Employee retention? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Does a state ombudsman visit regularly? 1 2 3 4 5

  • How likely is an increase in private pay rates? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Any additional charges not included in the daily or monthly rate? 1 2 3 4 5

  • How are roommates selected? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Describe a typical day? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Can residents choose when to go to bed and wake up? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Are meaningful activities available for Alzheimer’s patients? 1 2 3 4 5

  • If activities are in progress, what’s the level of resident participation? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Can Alzheimer’s patients continue to participate in interests like gardening or contact with pets? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Is there safe, well-lighted parking? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Are hotels/motels nearby for out-of-town family members? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Area restaurants suitable for taking residents out with family members? 1 2 3 4 5

  • How convenient will care planning conferences be for family members? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Is an effective family council in place? 1 2 3 4 5

  • Can meetings be scheduled to discuss any problems? 1 2 3 4 5

Putting your loved one in a nursing home can be a very traumatic process. But it doesn’t have to be. We can help.Nursing Home, Alzheimer's, dementia, family guide, long term care

At The Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we’re Elder Law attorneys. We have walked families through this process successfully before. In fact, we have helped several families with estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long-term care planning, asset protection, isses qualifying for Veteran’s Benefits and MassHealth.

To learn more about how the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center can help you register online to attend one of our upcoming Trust, Estate, and Asset Protection Workshops or register by calling (800) 964-4295 (24/7).  You will discover why traditional estate planning may not work and the Life Care Planning steps you should be taking instead so you will not outlive your savings, the asset protection language that most people don't have in their power of attorney documents which can help protect their life savings, how to qualify for the hidden Veteran's benefits that most people know nothing about, and How Medicaid works...and the steps you need to take now to protect yourself and your family under the new rules. 

 

Tags: health care proxy, Estate Planning, Estate Planning, Alzheimer's Disease, Elder Law, Nursing Home Guide, Nursing Homes, Health Care, durable power of attorney, family, elder care, assisted living, veterans benefits, elder care journey

Loved One in a Nusing Home? Be Your Family Member's Care Adovcate

Posted by Wellesley Estate Planning Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, May 11, 2012

Once your loved one is admitted to a nursing home, the most important thing you can do is ensure they receive good care.  The best way to do that is to be involved and be your loved one’s care advocate. Your role is to actively participate in planning your loved one’s care, and maintain frequent contact with nursing home staff.

This process begins with a baseline assessment, generally done within two weeks after the Family Member in a Nursing Home?new resident moves in. A team – possibly a doctor, nurse, social worker, dietitian, and physical, occupational, or recreational therapist – assesses information from both resident and family. This assessment then becomes the baseline against which progress is measured.  As part of the assessment family members are asked about the resident’s medical, psychological, spiritual, and social needs. You can also tell them about their preferences and routines.  It is advisable for the family to make their own list of needs, and to give it to the assessment team. For example, you may have noticed signs of depression, along with symptoms of Alzheimer’s. This information is important to help your loved one get the care they need.  Important information to consider includes your loves one’s medical needs, psychological needs, spiritual needs, and social needs as well as their preferences and routines.

The assessment team then develops an individualized care plan, specifying the care required, and the strategies to address it. You should know that family members and the resident are allowed to participate in any planning meeting.

Federal law requires that nursing home care result in improvement in the resident’s condition, if possible. If improvement isn’t possible, the care must maintain abilities or slow the loss of function. If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia the purpose of care should be to maintain mental and physical abilities for as long as possible. For example, if your mother still has the ability to communicate clearly, the care plan should encourage her use of language.

**PLEASE NOTE: The care plan may be part of the nursing home contract. According to federal law, nursing homes must review a plan every three months, or whenever the resident’s condition changes. There must also be an annual reassessment. At these times additional meetings are held to update the plan.

It’s your job to monitor your loved one’s care and ensure adherence to the plan. If you want your loved one to get the most personal attention possible be a forceful advocate.

At The Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we’re Elder Law attorneys. We have walked families through this process successfully before. In fact, we have helped several families with estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long-term care planning, asset protection, qualifying for Veteran’s Benefits and issues with MassHealth.

To learn more about how the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center can help you register online to attend one of our upcoming Trust, Estate, and Asset Protection Workshops or register by calling (800) 964-4295 (24/7).  You will discover why traditional estate planning may not work and the Life Care Planning steps you should be taking instead so you will not outlive your savings, the asset protection language that most people don't have in their power of attorney documents which can help protect their life savings, how to qualify for the hidden Veteran's benefits that most people know nothing about, and How Medicaid works...and the steps you need to take now to protect yourself and your family under the new rules. 

Tags: Estate Planning, Nursing Home Costs, Elder Law, MassHealth, Nursing Home Guide, Health Care, durable power of attorney, family, elder care, seniors, elder care journey

Elder Law & the Uncertainty of Alzheimer's Disease

Posted by Wellesley Estate Planning Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Thu, Feb 16, 2012

So often, when working with families who are struggling to care for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer's, the most frustrating aspect is the uncertainty of their loved one's condition from day to day.  The recent case of Verne G. from Minnesota highlights these uncertainties very clearly.

Verne was a prominent professional wrestler in the American Wrestling Association (AWA) 1960's and 1970's, and later became a wrestling promoter.  The AWA eventually lost all its big starts, such as Hulk Hogan and Jesse Ventura, to the World Wrestling Federation.  Verne is now 82 and suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Elder Law, Alzheimer's Care He lives in a nursing home where he had an altercation with a 97 year old patient.  Verne put the 97 year old man in a wrestling hold and slammed him to the ground, breaking the man's hip.  The man Verne slammed to the ground eventually died a few weeks later.  The police investigated the incident, but there was a consensus of opinion that Verne should not be charged with a crime because he didnt know what he was doing. 

Verne's story is tragic, but it is all to familar to stories that many families dealing with Dementia or Alzheimer's.  It is the uncertain, sometime violent and erratic, behavior that can be most frustrating and frightening.

Although no one can be sure what caused Verne to act the way he did, we do know that Alzheimer's patients very often lose their short-term memory but are able to conjure memories of events and people from 40 or 50 years ago.  Verne's skill as a wrestler made him more dangerous than the average resident.  He was more physically fit than most of the other residents and while Verne was losing he short-term memory he was able to recall his days wrestling.  Perhaps it was those memories, programmed into his brain, that caused Verne to perform a wrestling move on his roommate.

It is this type of unpredictability that can turn a family's world upside down.  Dad can be living comfortably in a nursing home one day and become extremely aggitated and aggressive, causing the facility to ask the family to move him because they cannot accomodate his needs or because they are concerned for the safety of the other residents.

Families simply cannot sit back, wait, and react to a loved one's long-term care needs.  Whenever possible, preventative measures need to be taken.  So often, we see families plan as if Mom or Dad's current condition, while tragic and upsetting, will remain static and unchanged.  That is just not the case, and misjudging the situation can be worse than anyone imagined. 

Seeing families go through this time and again is why we have made the Complete Alzheimer's Resource Kit available for free online.  The helpful guides and reports included will help families and caretakers learn what to expect when a loved one has Alzheimer's or other for of dementia.  To order your free copy of the Complete Alzheimer's Resource Kit, a $200 value, go to www.BostonMemoryLawyer.com.  We also encourage anyone who has a loved one with long-term care needs to register to attend one of our Free, Educational Workshops hosted in Wellesley, Massachusetts by registering online or by calling (800)-964-4295.  Upcoming Dates Include:

Thursday March 1 @ 10 a.m. & 2 p.m.

Thursday March 15 @ 10 a.m. & 2 p.m.

Tags: Nursing Home Costs, Alzheimer's Disease, Elder Law, Nursing Home Guide, Nursing Homes, Health Care, family, elder care

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