Filling the role of caretaker to an older adult who you love, such as a parent, can sometimes be a difficult job. Needs vary, but you might find yourself driving to medical appointments, handing out medication or even providing mobility assistance and daily grooming care.
No matter how much you love the older adult in your life, the responsibility that comes with their care can be difficult to manage while also balancing your personal life and career. There are often unexpected issues that can arise, such as the cognitive deterioration of your loved one or an intense disagreement about treatment options for a medical condition. Partnering with an elder law attorney can help you provide the best care for your loved one.
An elder care attorney can help you handle financial issues
If your parents or older loved one is dependent on you for care, there may come a point when you can no longer provide all the services they need. That might mean bringing in skilled nursing help to your home or placing your loved one in an assisted living facility.
Both of those situations require substantial financial investment. Skilled nursing care can cost hundreds of dollars a day, and nursing homes charge thousands of dollars for rent each month. It doesn't take long for those expenses to eat up the financial reserves your loved one had set aside for their golden years. If your loved one is likely to need skilled services, planning can increase their chances of qualifying for Medicaid in the future.
An attorney can help you plan for future care needs through the use of a trust or planned gifts to loved ones to minimize financial losses. You can help your older loved one protect their assets and legacy with careful planning now.
A lawyer can help you if your loved one can't make decisions
Guardianship is a difficult topic to broach, as no one wants to limit the freedoms of the people they love. Sadly, many people find themselves caring for a loved one who can't make decisions on their own behalf anymore. Especially for those with a family history of conditions like Alzheimer's disease, the potential exists for cognitive decline with age.
If they don't already have documents in place, such as a durable power of attorney, it may be time to discuss the creation of one. If their mental acuity has already reached a point where they may not be able to execute documents on their own behalf, you may need to talk to an attorney about their competence and whether you can assume guardianship. Guardianship may become important to protect them from making questionable decisions as a result of their age or health condition.
Having an attorney you trust to guide you through long-term care planning can benefit you and your loved one, as well as the relationship between the two of you.