Caring for Elderly Parents
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Caring for Elderly Parents

Worried About Your Elderly Loved Ones?

Austin Elder Care Lawyers Help You Care for Them

Statistics from recent reports show that the population of people age 65 and older has increased by 80 percent in America between 1975 and 2010. Those over 85 have tripled in that same span of time. It is estimated that by 2050 that one-fifth of the US population will be age 65 and older, a 12 percent increase from 2000. With an increasingly older population comes many legal and social issues that affect the elderly, their children and close family members. Many elderly people will wish to draw up a will and estate plan, though their family members and friends might have a say in both. Health will always be a top priority, as with aging comes concerns about if someone is able to take care of themselves or if they will need help. If your loved ones do need a live-in nurse or live in a group home or retirement community, the question then looms of how to pay for that. Legal action might be required if you are dealing with Medicare, Medicaid or an insurance company. If this happens, you will benefit from having Austin elder care lawyers by your side.

In this article, we will discuss various legal issues that affect the elderly. Austin elder care lawyer Farren Sheehan can help prepare an estate plan and assist your family with guardianships, long-term care planning and other issues concerning long-term care for the elderly. For the last 15 years, she has focused on estate planning, wills, probate law and other concerns that affect the elderly and their quality of life. She gives each case personal and genuine attention, so she can focus on her clients’ goals. She can provide a wealth of information about setting up a guardianship, estate planning and what someone can expect from Medicare or Medicaid.

What Are Common Legal Issues Affecting the Elderly?

Seniors tend to have questions about end-of-life decisions and estate planning. Many elderly people will seek legal guidance from probate and elder law attorneys for help with estate planning documents, such as drafting a will, statutory durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney and an advance directive or living will.

Sometimes, an elderly person has not planned ahead. In the event that the elderly individual becomes incompetent and unable to make decisions for him or herself, someone will need to step in and make those decisions for the individual. In situations where the senior has not named representatives to make healthcare or financial decisions for him or her in Powers of Attorney, the family may need the assistance of an Austin elder care lawyer familiar with probate matters to set up a guardianship.

Guardianships are legal proceedings where a court designates a person to make decisions for an incapacitated individual, with the court overseeing their actions. A guardian may be appointed to act on behalf of the person, the person’s estate or both. Guardianships can be expensive and time-consuming because the court is actively involved in the findings and services authorized by the guardian on the ward’s behalf. Experienced Austin elder care lawyers can help you determine if a guardianship is the right move for your situation.

What are Several Healthcare Options for the Elderly?

The expectation in healthcare is that the growth in elderly will bring a surge in people with functional and cognitive challenges. Functional limitations are the inability to perform daily activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, preparing meals and paying bills. Cognitive limitations might include loss of mental capability that restricts a person to act independently. The Congressional and Budget Office (CBO) reports that approximately one-third of people aged 65 and older and two-thirds of people over 85 have functional limitations.

The burden of caring for the elderly population typically falls upon their children. Healthcare for the elderly has become a huge concern. The CBO report found that more elderly are using home and community-based service options, which are privately paid and Medicaid-funded. Such options include residential care facilities, community-based housing and at-home care provided by family. Use of community options is particularly prevalent for people 85 and older.

The report found that more than half of the care given to the aging population is donated or informal care. This is care by family members and friends at home at their own expense, often provided by children and spouses.

How Does Medicaid and Nursing Home Care for the Elderly Work?

Many seniors reach the point where they need long-term care in a nursing facility. Some have long-term care insurance, or can privately pay, but often the cost of care exceeds their personal savings. The Medicaid program is a safety net health care payer for people who have exhausted their life savings. The largest Medicaid cost for the older population is nursing home care. Over half of Medicaid expenditures for aged beneficiaries (55 percent) go towards paying for nursing home care.

Medicaid is a means-tested, federal-state individual entitlement program, with extensive financial and non-financial rules for determining eligibility. The Medicaid program’s emphasis is on helping certain categories of low-income individuals based upon income and resources (asset) levels.

Medicaid is a very complicated area of the law, with a wide range of statutes, rules and regulations that govern the program. Since Medicaid is not a uniform federal program like Medicare, there are substantial variations in eligibility policy from state to state. Also, the federal laws are combined with each state’s laws, which results in rules that differ in each state. These laws and rules change over time, and a state governmental agency oversees the administration of the program, ensuring that the specific state rules are followed.

Questions? Speak with an Austin Elder Care Lawyer

The Austin elder law lawyers at Sheehan Law, PLLC are well experienced in traversing the maze of federal and state laws and regulations and finding a way through it to help their clients become eligible for Medicaid assistance to pay for long-term care costs. Contact our offices for the legal assistance you need in caring for your elderly parents.