ElderLaw News

ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

From Nursing Home to Home

A recent article in the AARP Bulletin discusses the growing trend of nursing home residents regaining their independence.

In part, the growth is happening because more state and federal programs are designed to help them do it.  According to the National Center for Assisted Living, spending for home and community-based care rose 81.5% between 2001 and 2007, while Medicaid spending for nursing home care rose 9.8%.  A federal program that encourages states to use Medicaid funds to transition nursing home residents to independence received a five-year, $2 billion extension in the health care reform bill.

Making the transition from nursing home to independence is a complicated journey.  Some communities, such as Philadelphia, have counselors who assist nursing home residents in making the transition.  Some seniors need to start from scratch, getting new identification, setting up bank accounts and finding places to live.  Often they need to adapt apartments for their needs, find furniture and household items, and care in the home.  Nursing home residents who are on Medicaid are usually able to transition that assistance to help in the home; the main question is whether the senior can receive the level of care and services that the senior needs if the senior moves into the community.  Elder Care Coordinators, such as The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm’s Allyson Jones and Sherry Gordon, can assess the senior’s current circumstances and provide recommendations regarding whether such a transition is advisable.  They can assist with finding resources in the community to support a return to independence.

Experts recommend that seniors considering a move from a nursing home to the community ask these questions:

-- Do you want to live independently?  A senior must be motivated to overcome the obstacles to independent living.

-- Are you physically able to live on your own?  Mobility is a key element of independence.

-- Can you afford to live outside of a nursing home?  Elder law firms can assist in researching various funding options.

-- Is in-home care available?  An Elder Care Coordinator can assist in compiling a list of needed services.

-- Can you find appropriate housing?  Issues such as access, safety features, security, kitchen or dining facilities should be considered and vary with health and mobility.

-- Does the home have everything that you need?  You will need items such as emergency contacts, a telephone, kitchen equipment, and personal care items.

-- Does your community have necessary medical services?  It is critical to identify this in advance, and if possible, contact providers in the community to ensure that services are available.

-- Do you have the skills needed to live at home independently?  This may include everything from preparing meals, shopping and paying bills, to showering or bathing.

-- Do you have transportation available?  Many communities have transportation programs for seniors.

-- Do you have social support?  Senior day care, activities in senior housing, religious programs, and visits from family can prevent isolation if returning to the community.

Transitioning from a nursing home to the community will not work for everyone.  The key is to assess the current situation and potential options, research available support, anticipate unexpected circumstances, and plan well in advance of a move.  Elder Care Coordinators and elder law attorneys can be key advisors in this process.

The attorneys at The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. can assist clients and their families with their financial, estate, long-term care, life care, and special needs planning issues.

Speakers

If you are interested in having an Elder Law attorney from The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. speak at an event, then please call us at:

Maryland (301) 214-2229
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The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C.

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

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This newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. While every precaution has been taken to make this newsletter accurate, we assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or damages resulting from the use of the information in this newsletter. The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. thanks the law firm of Hook Law Center for their input to this newsletter.

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