Wealth Planning and Long-Term Care Planning for Aging Parents

If you have the responsibility of taking care of your aging loved ones, this is an extremely common situation that is facing more people in the sandwich generation. The sandwich generation often has children of their own, while they are also helping with the health care management or the costs associated with the loved one.
Many people don’t like to think about incapacity, money or death, but this is extremely important for any situation in which you are helping a loved one work through the issues of aging. There are several different steps that you can take in order to minimize the negative impacts of failing to plan. Failing to plan can make things more complicated for everyone, in the event that your loved one suffers from incapacity or suddenly passes away. Several different things should be discussed with your aging parents, including:

  • Putting together a living trust.
  • Planning for the possibility of long term care, including long-term care insurance.
  • Evaluating housing options.
  • Determining transportation needs.
  • Ensuring proper documents are in place.

Having a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you address many of the issues associated with the estate planning and the elder law planning process. Learn more about how estate planning Virginia can help you by setting up a consultation today.

What You Should Know About the Rise in Costs of Long Term Care

Over the course of 2015 and 2016, long term care is on the rise. Long term care refers to any situation in which an individual has suffered an incapacitating event or significant healthcare event prompting a stay in a nursing home or another type of medical assistance. According to surveys from Genworth Financial, in 2015 a private nursing home room cost edged up to $100,000 per year.
Americans on an average are paying more for care options such as assisted living communities and health aides. Private nursing home rooms come with a median annual bill of just over $92,000. That’s an almost 20% increase since 2011. Planning ahead for long term care is important, not just as it relates to purchasing insurance but also for identifying the healthcare documents you need from your estate planning lawyer to assist you with protecting yourself and your loved ones.
Should you become incapacitated, this could trigger a broad range of legal questions that can only be answered by another person in the event that you have set up your estate planning documents to empower another individual to make these decisions on your behalf. Consulting with an attorney as soon as possible if you find yourself in this situation is strongly recommended.

Caregivers Should Take Care To Get Care Themselves

Home care
Home care
People who are willing to become a caregiver to a loved one, regardless of the circumstances, are taking on an awesome responsibility.
Consider this set of guidelines offered at Preserve dignity

  • Involve your loved one
  • Promote independence
  • Ask for help
  • Be an advocate
  • Take care of yourself

That last guideline might sound simple, but it’s perhaps one of most overlooked on the list, according to the website.
“Many caregivers are so accustomed to providing help and seeing to another person’s needs that they don’t know how to ask for aid themselves,” the article notes. “Take advantage of the help that’s available. Your family is your first resource. Spouses, brothers and sisters, children and other relatives can do a lot to ease your caregiving burden. Let them know what they can and should do.
Look to your church for aid and counsel. Make your minister or religious leader aware of your situation. Turn to caregiving support groups, or support groups for specific illnesses like Alzheimer’s or heart disease.“Encourage your loved one’s friends and neighbors to provide what comfort they can.”

AARP Seeks To Help More Than The Retired

Talking to employee
Talking to employee
The American Association of Retired Persons has launched a new service to help people with work issues, which may seem weird since “retired” kind of implies that’s all in the rearview mirror.
But for many people are approaching, have arrived at or are past retirement age, no longer working may not be an option, whether it’s for financial reasons or a need to continue to keep busy.
“Work matters,” according to http://www.aarp.org/work/. “Wherever you are in your work life – looking for a new job, negotiating a job offer, thinking about a second act, or wanting to learn a new skill – AARP Work & Jobs can be your ally. With AARP Work & Jobs, you’ll find a wealth of resources at your fingertips that can help you take control and plan a winning strategy for what comes next in your work life. The site has been especially created for experienced workers to help you navigate the workplace.”
One recent article, written by Kerry Hannon, was titled “8 Common Mistakes Older Job Seekers Make,” and it was highly informative.
“If you are job hunting in your 50s, and some of these ‘don’ts’ describe you, here’s what to do,” according to the story.

  • Keep busy. Employers look for self-starters. Remain active by consulting or blogging in your field, so you can raise your profile.
  • Using Dated Email Accounts
  • Missing a Digital Presence
  • Lacking Salary Flexibility
  • Overlooking Contacts
  • Overdoing Your Résumé. Limit yours to two pages. Recruiters will scan it in 20 or 30 seconds
  • Ruling Out Jobs. Don’t overthink the job description. Treat a job posting as an ideal.
  • Waiting for the Perfect Job. Don’t pass on a job because you don’t think it’s an ideal fit. It might be.

Law Helps Provide Patients With Proper After-Care

It made little sense: Treating people in the hospital for serious health problems, only to discharge them without making certain some form of after-care was in place.

Now in Virginia and several other states, laws are in place that seek to prevent this revolving-door situation from continuing to exist.
The Virginia General Assembly earlier this year passed what was initially called the CARE Act.
“Every hospital shall provide each patient admitted as an inpatient or his legal guardian the opportunity to designate an individual who will care for or assist the patient in his residence following discharge from the hospital and to whom the hospital shall provide information regarding the patient’s discharge plan and any follow-up care, treatment, and services that the patient may require and upon admission, shall record in the patient’s medical record the name of the individual designated by the patient, the relationship between the patient and the person, and the person’s telephone number and address,” the law, which took effect July 1, states. “If the patient fails or refuses to designate an individual to receive information regarding his discharge plan and any follow-up care, treatment, and services, the hospital shall record the patient’s failure or refusal in the patient’s medical record. For the purposes of this subsection, ‘residence’ does not include any rehabilitation facility, hospital, nursing home, assisted living facility or group home.”
The measure, which would also apply when the patient is a “she,” is intended to ensure that people go to their homes, not to their doom. The law more or less acknowledges that hospital patients can be easily confused and overwhelmed by the plethora of after-care and follow-up treatment that will go with them upon their discharge.
Patients may change the designated caregiver at any time before leaving the hospital.
“Prior to discharging a patient who has designated an individual …, the hospital shall notify the designated individual of the patient’s discharge and shall provide the designated individual with a copy of the patient’s discharge plan and instructions and information regarding any follow-up care, treatment or services that the designated individual will provide and consult with the designated individual regarding the designated individual’s ability to provide the care, treatment or services,” according to the act. “Such discharge plan shall include the name and contact information of the designated individual; a description of the follow-up care, treatment and services that the patient requires; and information, including contact information, about any health care, long-term care or other community-based services and supports necessary for the implementation of the patient’s discharge plan. “
Demonstrations of specific follow-up care tasks are also required of hospital personnel.

Article Predicts Technology May Change How People Age

Technology can’t halt the aging process, but a Huffington Post piece points out that it may change the way people grow older.

“Technology is changing everything, including how we will age and the quality of our senior years,” begins the story by Ann Brenoff ” Mobile devices, wearable gadgets and Internet-based technologies will help older adults age in place while monitoring their health and safety.”

  • The piece went on to site these specific coming advancements as having an impact on older Americans:
  • Talking street signs
  • Cars that drive themselves
  • Video-call doctor visits
  • Remote patient monitoring.
  • Online medical records.
  • Robots as caregivers.
  • A proliferation of LED lights in unexpected places
  • Safety monitors that “go way beyond nanny-cams
  • Homes that age along with the occupants
  • More apps to help people better understand their bodies

For Retirees, Deciding Where To Live Takes On Major Importance

One of the heady joys, or possibly one of the headaches, of retirement is deciding where to live.

Once work no longer dictates location, people embarking on the next phase of their lives are free to choose another locale.
“Choosing where to live could be the single most important and difficult decision retirees will make,” according to a recent story in The New York Times. “While it’s not impossible to undo a wrong decision, making the right one the first time is far less painful, emotionally and financially.
“As baby boomers move toward retirement or plan for it, 4.5 percent of those ages 55 to 65 move each year, according to Margaret A. Wylde, president and chief executive of the ProMatura Group, a market research firm in Oxford, Miss., which specializes in older consumers. In addition, she said, 20 percent of people in that age group looking for a home want to live in a 55-plus community, 30 percent would consider it and 40 to 50 percent prefer an all-age community but might change their minds.”
The key to making the right choice, the article points out, is establishing what are the most important aspects of one’s setting.
“When considering a move, experts say, the most important things are to know the kind of environment in which you will feel comfortable, your needs and what you can afford now and in the future,” the writer states.
“Know yourself,” advised Susanne Matthiesen, managing director of aging services at CARF International, an organization based in Tucson that accredits services for older people. “Know where you want to live. Are you the kind of person who is looking to be in a community with peers?”
“Determine your priorities,” the story goes on to say. “Do you want to be near family members? What kind of climate would you prefer? Would you like to live in an urban environment? Do you want services like lawn and landscaping included in a homeowners’ association fee? Do you prefer amenities like indoor and outdoor pools, scheduled activities and clubs, tennis courts and a golf course nearby? Are a variety of classes, university or otherwise, more important? Do you prefer walking trails or a lake or other body of water?”

Devices Make It Easier To Monitor Mom And Dad’s Activities

When adult children live far from their older parents, they’re likely worried about how active mom or dad is being.
As the saying increasingly goes, there’s an app for that.
“Technology is making it easier for us to monitor our loved ones,” according to a recent story in The Washington Post by Matt McFarland.

The story goes on to examine products from two companies that enable caregivers a way of remotely staying on top of how well older loves ones are doing.
“GreatCall, which offers devices that keep the elderly in touch with their caregivers, has partnered with an artificial intelligence company to send automated reports to concerned children and grandchildren,” according to the story. “The idea is to empower the elderly to live more safely on their own, while easing the worries of caregivers.
“Automated Insights, which specializes in turning mountains of data into plain English, will be providing weekly recaps to caregivers, so they have a better idea of how their loved one is doing. While a grandparent might at times be reluctant to share bad news, the device and automated emails never mince words. Automated Insights’ algorithm is currently used for generating everything from snarky fantasy football recaps to write-ups on Edmunds.com.”
“We’re able to show some of the promise of what is going to be possible in the future as we get access to data that’s available on other devices, sensors or things of that nature,” Automated Insights chief executive Robbie Allen told the writer. “We’re able to tell a story about data in a way that’s engaging and provides a layer of value on top of that data.”

Caregiving: Stress, Yes, But Also ‘Joy And Enrichment’

There are two sides to the coin of becoming a caregiver for an aging parent, something more and more people are discovering.
On the one hand, almost everyone would expect this to be enormously stressful, both physically and emotionally.
But on the other hand, as pointed out in a recent article on the website of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, there are some very real rewards, as well.
“The time of caring for an older parent or relative can be one of joy and enrichment,” according to the article. “It can be a period of increased sharing, a renewal of that special closeness that has perhaps slipped away over the years; a time of rediscovering the family history. It can be a time for the healing of those old wounds left festering from childhood or adolescence. It can be a time for renewing old friendships or gaining wisdom from an elder.
“The majority of caregivers actually report that providing care makes them feel useful. Many anecdotal reports attest to caregivers’ satisfaction knowing that their older relative is receiving help while remaining in the community. For many caregivers the giving of assistance is not a one-way street. Rather, it is part of a mutual aid pact, as approximately one fourth of caregivers report that the older person for whom they care helps financially or with household chores.”
To be sure, the role-reversal of the children taking care of parents is not all sharing and renewal, as the UMKC researchers point out in citing numerous academic studies
“A pervasive theme found in the research centers on the burden and the stress of caregiving,” the article continues. “The caregiving process can be a time of increased anxiety and difficulty, particularly when the responsibilities of working, marriage, child rearing and parental caregiving collide. When the demands of work, spouses and children are juxtaposed against those of an aging parent with many needs, severe emotional drain can occur. Some research even reports that although most caregivers feel ‘close’ to their care receivers, an inverse correlation exists between the closeness of kin relationship and the ability to get along without rancor.
“If there are prior family problems lurking in the background, such as abuse, neglect or denial of emotional or financial support, there can be a potentially dangerous situation because the caregiver who was abused now is in the position of power.”

Medicare And Veterans Administration Benefits Don’t Work Together

Veterans trying to decide between using their VA benefits or Medicare can use both, but only to a limited extent, according to the website Medicareinteractive.org.
“You can have both Medicare and Veterans Affairs benefits,” the site states. “However, Medicare and VA benefits do not work together. Medicare does not pay for any care that you receive at a VA facility. In order for Medicare to cover your care, you must receive care at a Medicare-certified facility that works with your Medicare coverage.
“In order for your VA coverage to cover your care, you must generally receive health care services at a VA facility.”
A lot of veterans, according to the site, use their service-related benefits for things like over-the-counter medications, annual physical exams and hearing aids.
“However, you may want to consider enrolling into Medicare Part B, medical insurance, even if you have VA coverage,” the story states. “Part B may cover services you receive from Medicare-certified providers and provide you with medical coverage outside the VA health system. In addition, if you do not enroll into Part B when you are first eligible to do so, you will most likely incur a Part B premium penalty for each 12-month period you were without Medicare Part B coverage.
“Some veterans only use their VA drug coverage to get their medications, since VA drug coverage may offer more generous prescription drug coverage than Medicare Part D, the Medicare prescription drug benefit. Since VA drug coverage is considered creditable, meaning it is as good as or better than the Medicare prescription drug benefit, you can delay enrolling into Medicare Part D without penalty. If you do lose VA drug coverage, make sure you enroll into a Part D plan within 63 days of losing your VA benefits.”