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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Important CMS Changes

The Center for Medicare Advocacy has changed its policy for homebound patients. As of November 19, 2013, however, CMS will require Medicare beneficiaries to meet two sets of criteria before their home health agency even considers whether they have an ordinary inability to leave home. Medicare only covers home healthcare if, among other requirements, the beneficiary is homebound. The new policy states the patient must meet two criteria with subfield stipulations:          

            1. The patient must either:

                            - Due to illness or injury, need the aid of supportive devices such  as crutches, canes, wheelchairs, and    walkers; the use of special transportation; or the assistance of another person in order to leave their place of residence

                        - Have a condition such that leaving his or her home is medically contraindicated.

             2. The patient must meet one of these criteria and also meet both of the following:

                            -There must exist a normal inability to leave home;

                        -Leaving home must require a considerable and taxing effort.

 For more information about this new policy please reference the CMS website: http://naela.informz.net/z/cjUucD9taT0zNjIxNzY1JnA9MSZ1PTEwMjQyMTAzMjYmbGk9MTk5MjMxMDQ/index.html


Friday, November 8, 2013

Save Our Seniors Conference

I was honored to be one of the speakers Thursday at a Save Our Seniors event that focused on how we can protect or elders from abuse and neglect. There was some great advice given during the session. Here’s a link to the Gainesville Sun story on the event: http://www.gainesville.com/article/20131107/ARTICLES/131109656?p=1&tc=pg


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

National Caregivers Month

November is National Caregivers Month. I want to take this time to acknowledge the important role that family, friends and neighbors play in caring for sick, elderly and disabled friends and relatives.

           According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, a caregiver refers to “anyone who provides assistance to someone else who is, in some degree, incapacitated and needs help. This can mean taking care of your sick partner, an aging parent or a child with a disability. It is a hard job that often goes without much reciprocity. Caregivers offer a range of services, including emotional and spiritual support, assistance with financial matters, transportation and home- and health-related services.

           I encourage you to show your appreciation with a simple social media posting or organize an event to bring awareness to the growing number of caregivers in our communities across America.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Save Our Seniors Event

I will be one of the speakers at Save Our Seniors event being hosted Thursday, Nov. 7 from 9 am to noon. The topics of discussion will include abuse prevention, neglect prevention and exploitation prevention of the elderly. This event, hosted by Home Instead Senior Care, Elder Options and Westside Baptist Church, will take place at the church. The topics are vital for our seniors and their caregivers. The event is open to the public. Call 333-7700 to RSVP.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

John Hopkins Study on Caregivers

A recent study revealed a truth that contradicts the long standing belief that becoming a caregiver leads to high-stress and a shorter lifespan. The exact opposite is true. The John Hopkins results used the analysis of data previously gathered on more than 3,000 family caregivers. It suggests that those who assist a chronically ill or disabled family member enjoy an 18 percent survival advantage compared to statistically matched non-caregivers. 

            David L. Roth, Ph.D., is the director of the Johns Hopkins University Center on Aging and Health.  He says that the study has uncovered new information on the issue of whether formal or informal caregiving is associated with a higher or a lower mortality rate.

            "In many cases, caregivers report receiving benefits of enhanced self-esteem, recognition and gratitude from their care recipients. Thus, when caregiving is done willingly, at manageable levels, and with individuals who are capable of expressing gratitude, it is reasonable to expect that health benefits might accrue in those situations," added Roth.

            The research is still underway and a greater pool of caregivers should be taken into account. If you are interested in reading the article in its entirety please see the link below.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-10/jhm-jhs101513.php


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

No one plans for cancer

No one wants to think about the possibility of getting cancer. Therefore no one sets aside funds to deal with the financial strife that comes with the side effects of treatment.

            I found a very useful resource that can help you or a loved one deal with all that comes with a cancer diagnosis, especially the finances. Having the resources is critical, Cancer Care’s guide; “A Helping Hand” has a new and improved edition.

            This comprehensive handbook features the most up-to-date contact information and descriptions for hundreds of national and regional organizations offering financial help to people with cancer.

The new edition also provides valuable tips patients and caregivers can use to manage finances and easily access resources. They can take these helpful hints and use them in their specific community.

Healthcare professionals too can utilize "A Helping Hand" to understand the latest accurate information about services that can benefit their patients.

Order copies of "A Helping Hand"completely free of charge today at www.cancercare.org/publications/order.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Interning at the age of 60

Millions of baby boomers cannot afford to nor want to retire and sit restlessly at home. In an article by The Atlantic, a new program was mentioned. It was started by Encore.org and gives older workers the opportunity to stay busy by working with a nonprofit in need of their private-sector expertise for a year.

               The era of long, vacation-style retirements is over, says Marc Freedman, CEO and founder of Encore.org. "That ideal is no longer attainable for individuals, and it's not sustainable for society,” He said.

               Anyone can apply for Encore fellowships, but the majority of so far have spent their careers in the private sector, drawing on expertise in areas like marketing or performance management. Organizations affiliated with Encore.org's fellowship network vet candidates and set up interviews with employers. Nonprofit partners generally provide stipends for the work the interns do, although some are supported by former employers or by foundations. Many of the elderly interns go on to take full-time or part-time nonprofit jobs.

               Encore fellowships help workers get back into this competitive job market. It is usually more difficult for older workers to find new jobs than younger workers, and a bad economy has exacerbated the trend.

               If you or someone you know might be interested, and want to learn more about the program click on the link below.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/09/work-forever-why-interning-at-60-is-the-new-retirement-plan/279381/

 


Thursday, September 19, 2013

National Preparedness Month

We still have a few weeks left in the month of September, and that gives us time to observe, National Preparedness Month.

I came across an article from the Administration for Community Living recognizing what this month marks for those such as myself who spend their career ensuring that everyone is ready for what life throws their way.

No matter your age or health you can be affected by health crises. Whether it is a family member with a disability, an uncle who is suddenly diagnosed with cancer or the caregiver whose needs could become pushed aside – every person has to have a plan.

This article is full of valuable information that can help you be prepared for a health crisis. Please do not wait. Join me in observing National Preparedness Month.

 http://www.acl.gov/NewsRoom/Blog/2013/2013_09_03.aspx


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Estate Planning? But I am alive and well…

In a day and age where financial decisions are treated like open-heart surgery, many people are uncertain where to begin. How about start with something you can see – your estate? This can include your home, your money, even your hobbies. I found an article recently written by professional financial planners.

 

The article talked about the top 10 mistakes that people tend to make during the process of estate planning.  The first dealt with taking the initiative to begin making your estate plan. Most of us don’t consider making a plan; after all we are so young. Why would we need to worry about death and what we leave behind?

 

We must also consider all of the “what if scenarios.” This can be the most daunting task, not many people want to think about the possibility of getting cancer or getting divorced from their spouse.

 

Don’t forget about your pet when making an estate plan. Your pet may outlive you in a sudden accident and you wouldn’t want them without a secure place to go. People rescue animals from shelters; you wouldn’t want to be the one to send a pet there.

 

Most importantly when making an estate plan you need to read all of the fine print. Analyze everything, for this is dealing with all of your belongings that you have worked so hard to get. If you don’t understand something be sure to ask. Believe me, litigation jargon can be very unclear.  


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Who Cares for the Caregiver?

Many times the caregiver role was not one they neither expected nor intended to play. Family caregivers especially, may feel an obligation to care for their aging loved ones to the point of harming their own health. But it can become dangerous and quickly. They start out not eating enough, getting less sleep and in the end stress themselves out further. Becoming consumed in their newly found caregiving duties, family caregivers don’t often stop to think about what happens after their own children are grown, and those they’ve spent so much time caring for have passed on. In the end, who cares for the caregiver?

            There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers. According to USA Today, in one out of every three households in the U.S., at least one member is a considered a caregiver. The need to give care and receive care is in our nature. But at the same time, caregivers cannot forget that as they help others they must also take care of themselves. After all one day, they too will be the ones in need of a caregiver.

            Caregivers especially, should make a long-term care plan for themselves and make sure that finances and legal issues are in order while they are still young and able to do so. In a perfect world, there would always be willing younger family members to take on the caregiver role and care for the caregiver who is no longer able to care for themselves. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world and in many family situations this is not the case. Children, caught up in their own lives are not always so willing to take on the tough role of a family caregiver.

Often in family situations, one child will step up and take on the caregiving role because the others would not. This not only makes this child the sole caregiver but it also leaves them without much family support.

            As they continue to dutifully provide care to their loved ones, family caregivers need to recognize that they may need someone watching out and caring for them even before they reach their older years. You must be prepared for the uncertain. We can help you ensure you have a stable future and a well thought out plan.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beneficiary Plans

Having recently married Kate, Michael realized it was a good time to get their estate plan in place. He had the intuition to be prepared, even as early on in their life together as it was.  Michael remembered seeing a lawyer's office on the way to work, so one day over their lunch breaks, Michael and Kate stopped by to talk with the lawyer. They wanted to discuss the preparation of their wills. They explained to the lawyer that if something happened to one of them, they wanted to leave everything to each other. They knew that as their lives evolved they could alter the wills accordingly. After the wills had been executed, they tucked the documents into their filing cabinet knowing that their affairs were now in order, and that they could rest easily.

This story always makes an attorney such as myself very happy to hear. I want to ensure that everyone is properly prepared for anything life throws at their household.


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