Caring for the elderly is a difficult task. It is physically demanding and emotionally challenging. The closer you are to the elderly person, the more difficult you may find the job. It’s hard watching someone who used to take care of you wither and slide as age and disease begin to take their toll. Hiring a home health care worker can take the burdens off of you, allowing you to spend this time simply enjoying each other’s company. Here are some things you should know about elder care law when you start this journey.
Power of Attorney
There are legal issues associated with caring for an elderly person who can no longer can for himself or herself. It is important to have a Power of Attorney to provide care for the person. This will allow you to make important medical decisions when loved one can no longer make those decisions.
The Power of Attorney can also grant financial access, allowing you to keep the medical and other bills paid. Whoever is chosen for the Power of Attorney should be absolutely trustworthy and should have your loved one’s best interest at heart.
It is also important to put a living will in place now, before a major medical problem arises. Decisions regarding life support and quality of life are best made when everyone is calm to avoid the drama of having to make those decisions at the hospital later.
When this important decision is made ahead of time, it will be easier to follow through with it when the time comes. The emotions and drama of the moment will be removed, allowing you to follow through with what your loved one would really want.
There are public benefits available that can help cover the cost of care. These include Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. However, receiving the benefits is not as simple as filling out a form and waiting for a check. Those people with the means to pay for their care are expected to do so. Educate yourself about these programs before they are necessary so you know how to help the elderly in your life plan.
The government will look back on asset transfers and sales for several years, so waiting until it’s time for assistance and then moving assets into someone else’s name won’t work. Insurance programs are available, however, to help pay for the time in between when assistance is required and when the government will actually provide benefits.
Nursing Homes Not Required
There are many wonderful elder care agencies that specialize in providing individual elder care. Unless your loved one requires ongoing, specialized care, he or she will probably qualify for in-home care. The great allure of these services is that your parent can stay in the home that he or she loves, allowing them to maintain some feeling of independence.
Standard of Care
Elder care law does set a certain standard of care. If you decide to take care of your loved one on your own and are unable to meet those standards, Adult Protective Services could step in and force you to put your loved one in a nursing home. Whether the elderly person is in a facility or cared for at home, doctors and public servants alike are constantly watching for signs of physical or mental abuse. If there is a belief that an elderly person is being robbed financially, abused, intimidated or otherwise harassed by a caregiver then they can – and will – call the authorities.
Not all harm occurs intentionally. Neglect can be just as damaging as abuse and is just as serious. Take the time to make a serious assessment of your skills, time, and patience level before deciding whether you will be the primary caregiver. You may decide it is truly in everyone’s best interest to hire an elder care provider.
It is important to understand the laws and all the ramifications that come along with elder care management. Every state has different laws, so before making decisions about moving your loved one, or allowing a family member to move in with them, speak to an elder care law attorney in your area. Know what the laws are so you can make informed decisions that are truly in the elder person’s best interest.