Articles Posted in Elder Law

This is the first in a 3-part series about the process and practice of becoming your parent’s healthcare advocate. In this part one, we talk about how to lay the groundwork for a smooth transition. 

As Bette Davis once said, “Getting old is not for sissies.”

It’s also not something that anyone should have to do alone, especially when it comes to navigating the exhaustingly complex and sometimes downright intimidating territory of personal healthcare.

AdobeStock_86658626-300x190Few crises are more stressful than those related to health and long-term care. It is hard enough to navigate these complex issues during the best of times. In a world full of uncertainty, they become even more stressful and urgent.

As we all wrestle with the day-to-day reality of COVID-19, the already daunting task of figuring out how to sustainably support necessary home care, medical services, nursing home costs, and other critical expenses quickly becomes overwhelming.

And the situation is exponentially worse if you’ve waited until you’re in crisis to address the important questions of how to pay for critical services, protect your assets, and ensure your comfort, security, and quality of life.

Brendan-mug-shot-e1595015692932-281x300By Brendan Daly

As an elder law attorney, I’ve been advocating for my senior clients for twenty years, but I recently discovered that my 78-year-old dad still has a few things to teach me.

It was a lesson I maybe should have seen coming.

dollars-1412644-mThe Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. While these two programs are different in many ways, both are administered by the Social Security Administration and only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program.

SSDI pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are “insured,” meaning Continue reading

home-sign-300x200“Promise me you won’t ever put me in a nursing home.” Our parents would make us sign in blood if they could.

Fear of losing their independence and way of life is a tremendous concern among Connecticut seniors. And, in today’s COVID-19 environment – knowing how the virus can easily spread throughout a nursing home and to its vulnerable population – staying at home is a preferable option for many.

But if you’re like so many Connecticut residents, you may not know that there is Medicaid coverage for receiving care at home – that Medicaid benefits are not just for nursing home residents. This is great news!

iStock_000018435449SmallIf you’re like most people, you may believe that once you’re in a nursing home, you’re there for good. Thanks to a federally funded program, Connecticut residents who have been institutionalized in a nursing home now have the option of transitioning back to the community. The program is called Money Follows the Person.

If you are a resident of a nursing home, the facility is required to ask you: “Do you want to talk with someone about the possibility of leaving this facility and returning to live and receive services in the community?”

If you answer yes, you can be referred to Money Follows the Person. You must be in a nursing home for 90 days to be eligible, but you can start the process any time before discharge. Anyone can refer you – the facility, a family member, your attorney or you. Continue reading

AdobeStock_33109325-300x200This is the final installment of our 3-part series on becoming your parent’s healthcare advocate. In the first part, Being a Healthcare Advocate: How to Get Started, we learned how to lay the groundwork for a smooth transition. In part two, Being a Healthcare Advocate: 9 Important Tips, we tackled how to manage documentation and record keeping. In this final piece, we address best practices for working effectively with healthcare professionals.

The first time you attend a doctor’s appointment as your parent’s healthcare advocate, you might feel a little awkward. That’s natural. You’re kind of like a third wheel, stepping into what was previously a very private and intimate conversation.

To prepare for this, it’s helpful to establish preferences and expectations with your parent up front. Does your parent want to take the lead and just have you present as an extra set of eyes and ears, or will you be taking a more active role in communicating with the doctor. Talk with your parent in advance so you are both on the same page with your game plan.

Helpful-tips-300x199This is the second installment in our three-part series on becoming your parent’s healthcare advocate. In the first part, Being Your Parent’s Healthcare Advocate: How to Get Started, we learned how to lay the groundwork for a smooth transition. In part two, we tackle how to manage documentation and record keeping. In part 3, we explore how to Best Engage with Healthcare Professionals.

As you embark on your journey as a healthcare advocate for a loved one, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got as much information at your fingertips as possible.

Emergency can strike at any time, and you want to be prepared; but even simple routine care can require a high level of organization and knowledge. It’s best if you give yourself time (by starting early) to pull all the information together. Don’t wait until something happens.

grandfather-on-the-porch-519288-mBy Carmine Perri

“Can they do that?”

“I don’t think that’s appropriate.”

“Can we do something about it?”

For some time now, I have been receiving calls from residents in long-term care facilities, and their family members, asking these types of questions.  Ultimately, interested parties want to know if there are any legal requirements imposed upon these facilities.

Oftentimes, I swivel my chair to one of the bookcases in my office and look at the two bottom rows, both of which are fully stacked with treatise, legal publications, and other relevant documents that exclusively address resident rights and responsibility party liability.

Although I certainly welcome your calls, I wanted to share with you one place that you could begin your research to determine whether you or a family member is being properly treated in a facility. Continue reading

iStock_000018435449SmallIndependent Living. Assisted Living. Nursing Home. What do these terms mean? How are they different from each other? And which one is right for you? Take a look here to learn what each one is all about.

Independent Living

Maybe you’re starting to think that a little more help would make life easier. You’re still living in the two-story house you raised your kids in. Maybe your spouse is gone, or maybe not, living is just getting to be too much.

Your daughter wonders aloud if you’d be happier in a retirement community where everything is Continue reading

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