During the holiday season are you planning to visit the senior members of your family who have retired to Florida? Has it been a few years since your last visit? Are you concerned about their health and well-being? In fact, are you planning to discuss long-term care planning with your senior loved ones during the holiday season? What exactly is long-term care planning? The National Institute on Aging defines long-term care planning as the ways to meet a person’s health or personal care needs during a long or short period of time. With the help of these services, many Florida seniors may be able to live as independently and safely as possible even though they can no longer perform everyday activities on their own.
Often the type of estate planning best suited for a person is impacted by both personal wishes and financial means. When you visit your Florida senior loved ones during the holiday season we would like to share some helpful questions for you to ask them and key things to look for.
Do the Florida seniors you are visiting have any mobility issues? For example, are you noticing that they walk very slowly, seem very unsteady and need to hang on to furniture or the walls as they walk? Are the floors cluttered, are there step-ups or any rails in the bathrooms? Do your loved ones want to stay in their home at all costs? If they do, what needs to be done to help them remain in their home as long as possible and remain safe? There may need to be a discussion about modifications to their home to make it safer and easier to move around. There may also need to be a discussion about part-time in-home care help or possibly having a family caregiver move in with them or make daily visits.
Do the Florida seniors you are visiting still drive their cars? As delicately as possible, ask them about driving. Do they feel anxious about driving? Have there been any car accidents, even minor ones? These may be signs that it may be time for your senior loved ones to stop driving and discuss alternate means of transportation.
Do the Florida seniors you are visiting want to live in assisted living or do they want to remain in their home? Assisted living can offer a wide range of amenities that may make it an attractive option to some. Other times, people want to stay in their own home at all costs. Based upon their current health and finances this is a discussion you should have during the holidays.
Do the Florida seniors you are visiting have any plans for how to pay for a nursing home if the need should arrive? You and your senior loved ones need to be aware that Medicare may cover a short stay in a nursing home, but beyond that, your senior loved ones will need to cover the cost. Do you know whether they have the money or long-term care insurance? Another avenue may be Medicaid planning. This planning may be able to preserve the assets of your loved ones and make them eligible for Medicaid to cover the cost.
Do the Florida seniors you are visiting have a trusted family member, friend or neighbor they trust who will handle their financial matters if they are incapacitated? As a word of caution, as people age, they are more prone to a medical event, such as a stroke, which can leave them mentally incapacitated without warning. A durable power of attorney can be an important legal instrument to have executed and will give the designated person access to bank accounts and allow the person to make financial decisions. Ask your loved ones about what plans they have in place for the management of their affairs in the future.
Finally, do the Florida seniors you are visiting need assistance locating a qualified Florida elder law attorney? Once you have had the conversation with your loved ones regarding long-term care planning, they should locate a qualified Florida elder law attorney to help with long-term care planning.
We know you may have questions. The Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys (AFELA) is the pre-eminent organization of Florida elder law attorneys providing advocacy, education and action on behalf of seniors and people with disabilities. We encourage you to contact one of our attorneys in your area using our Find a Lawyer website for assistance on what to do next if your aging parent has developed memory loss.