Way You Can Protect the Elders You Love From Exploitation

Every year, many Older Americans are targeted by criminals who try to manipulate seniors into giving them their personal information. The criminals then use this information to access bank accounts and other important services. As a senior or the child of an aging parent, exploitation should be taken seriously. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for seniors to identify when they are being targeted.

Recognizing the common elements of a scam is the first step to help ensure your senior loved one does not become a victim of financial exploitation. To help you learn more, we want to share some tips about protecting your loved ones from exploitation.

1. Talk to your senior loved one.

When trying to protect your senior loved one from exploitation, it is important to take the time to educate him or her about common scams and how to identify them. Often, we see that seniors are embarrassed about falling for a scam and do not want to share this with anyone. Encourage your senior loved one to talk to you if someone unfamiliar asks for their personal details. In addition, ask them to verify with you if someone asks them to send money to help with a family emergency. Together you can work to identify criminals and any potential scams.

2. Monitor your loved one’s finances.

Another way to help keep your senior loved one protected from scams is to monitor their finances. Either you or another close friend or family member should regularly check to ensure that there are no suspicious charges or sudden decreases of funds in your loved one’s bank account. Sharing this information with your senior loved one can help everyone involved feel more at ease.

3. Talk to your loved one about creating a durable power of attorney.

A durable power of attorney is a powerful legal tool that can help protect your loved one from financial exploitation. If monitoring your loved one’s finances is not enough, we encourage you to discuss this planning option with your loved one. This document allows a close friend, family member, or trusted advisor to take appropriate actions on your loved one’s behalf if something suspicious is happening to your loved one’s funds.

Sadly, financial exploitation is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. We encourage you to talk to your aging loved ones about common scams and how to protect themselves from becoming a victim of exploitation. If you have any questions or concerns about the senior loved one in your life or about the estate planning tools they need both now and in the future, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

6 Questions to Use When Interviewing a Long-Term Care Facility

It is never easy to realize that a loved one may no longer be able to live safely alone. Should this time come you may be faced with the challenge of helping him or her choose a long-term care facility or finding the right one to place your loved one in, if he or she is unable to participate in the choice.

While finding the right long-term care facility for your loved one may feel like an insurmountable challenge, it does not have to be. Let us share with you six key questions you may use during your interview process to ensure that you are finding the right care facility for your loved one both now and well into the future.

1. How does the facility handle changes in care? While we all wish that our loved ones would stay healthy, both mentally and physically, the likelihood of this wish decreases over time. Unfortunately, as we age, it is expected that we may experience both cognitive and physical decline. Ask the facility, now, how it will handle these issues and what conditions, if any, it is unable to manage.

2. How will a crisis be handled? In a similar vein, you want to inquire how the facility will handle a crisis. Should your loved one need a hospital, which one will he or she be transported to? How will transportation work? Is there a doctor onsite or on-call? Asking these questions early can help you have a better understanding of how this will be handled in the event a crisis should happen.

3. Do they accept long-term care insurance or other public benefits? Long-term care costs are expensive and Medicare will cover very little of it. If your loved one has a long-term care insurance policy ask if the facility has worked with this policy before and what is the result. If your loved one is a veteran or receiving public benefits such as Medicaid, ask if the facility accepts these payments, too.

4. What were the results of the facility’s last inspection? Although this is public record, ask for information on the facility’s last inspection. Were there improvements that needed to be made? Were they? Were there any glaring issues you should be concerned about or aware of?

5. How is socialization handled? One of the leading causes of illnesses for Older Americans is isolation. It may be emotionally hard for your loved one to move to this facility. Ask what a daily agenda looks like for a resident and what efforts will be taken to get your loved one involved. If there is a particular activity that your loved one enjoys but needs transportation to, ask if this may be arranged and handled by the facility.

6. What is the staff to patient ratio? It is critical to understand how quickly your loved one’s needs can be met. While a low staff to patient ratio does not ensure his or her needs will be met, it can help to know in advance. Be sure to ask and observe for yourself while you tour the facility, in addition to the answers you were provided during your initial research.

We know that these are just a few of the questions you want to ask when you begin to compare long-term care facilities. We also know that this article may raise more questions than it answers. Do not hesitate to contact us to schedule a meeting so that we may help you plan for the need for long-term care for a loved one both right now, and in the future.

Have You Begun to Plan for the Rising Long-Term Care Costs in the New Year?

The New Year encourages many of us to think about the future. What we want to accomplish for ourselves, our family, our friends, and our legacy.  As we age, it is only natural that our needs, and our resolutions in the New Year, tend to evolve. While many of us may have been focused ten years ago on retirement goals, many Older Americans today finding themselves contemplating a potential need for long-term care in the future.

Unfortunately, the costs of long-term care have steadily increased over the last decade and show no signs of stopping this year. In fact, these costs are up over five percent from last year and over fifty percent since 2004. Regrettably, many Older Americans do not realize that Medicare will not cover the costs of much of the long-term care they may need in the future. As an acute payor system, Medicare is not designed to be able handle the need for this type of care. This means that seniors and their loved ones, should begin to plan for how they will pay for long-term care as soon as possible.

We know that this may not only raise questions for you and your loved ones, but also be confusing. Where should you start this conversation? How do you ensure you can obtain the help you need? What should you focus on? Let us share three key insights that we share with our clients, family, friends, and local community professionals when we are discussing long-term care needs.

What is long-term care? Unfortunately, many of the seniors we speak with do not understand what long-term care really is. While they have a vague understanding that there are nursing homes and assisted facilities in their community, they do not know what it means to need to live in one or the differences between the two. They also believe that, no matter what should happen in the future, they will be able to live out their lives in their home. While this may be true for some seniors, too often, it is not the case. We encourage our senior clients and their loved ones to start learning about the types of long-term care as soon as possible.

Will you need long-term care in the future? More and more studies report that over seventy percent of all Older Americans will need some form of long-term care in the future. Whether it is help with light housework and grocery shopping or 24/7 hands on care and assistance with bathing, the future could hold the need for long-term care assistance. We encourage all of our clients, friends, and family to not wait for a crisis to happen to begin to plan for this potential need in the future.

How do I prepare now? One of the first steps in preparing for a future that could include long-term care is to learn what is available in your community. Are there home health care providers? Are there assisted living facilities nearby? Nursing homes? Are they in close proximity to the hospital that is able to best meet the needs of Older Americans? After assessing what is available in your community, take the time to research the cost of long-term care in your community. You can use the Genworth Cost of Long-Term Care Study that we want to share with you to begin your research on the long-term costs of care in our community.

After these three steps, you can begin to plan forward. We work with seniors and their loved ones everyday who are looking to create a plan to address potential long-term care needs. One of the keys to a successful plan is to ensure it can help you both now and well into the future. We encourage you to contact our office to schedule a meeting to answer your long-term care related questions.

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