Elder Care

November 4, 2013   Elder Care

The Shocking Statistics of Financial Elder Abuse

In 2008, Brian Litwak received a letter from Medicare stating that he was suspended from the program because he had not paid his Medicare fees for five months. This was just the beginning of the nightmare for Litwak, who also discovered his assets whittled down from $250,000 to $12,000 after moving into an assisted living facility in Tuscon. Litwak soon realized that he was the victim of financial elder abuse at the hands of his brother and power of attorney, who stole much of Litwak’s assets and neglected to pay Litwak’s Medicare fees.   The statistics of financial elder abuse are staggering. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that over 500,000 elder Americans suffer from financial elder abuse annually. Moreover, this number is likely higher due to th...
October 16, 2013   Elder Care

How to Seek an Assisted Living Waiver

Many aging Americans would like nothing more than to live out their days in their own homes. Unfortunately, as individuals age, this goal becomes more and more unrealistic. This is because the older an individual gets, the more difficult everyday functions, such as preparing meals, toileting, and paying bills, becomes. For these individuals, a good option may be Assisted Living. Assisted living allows seniors to live in a home-like setting, while also receiving necessary personal support services. Assisted living is a good alternative to a nursing home because it is less expensive and allows seniors to retain a degree of independence. The Assisted Living Medicaid Waiver program assists seniors who choose assisted living but may be at risk of requiring nursing home placement. In order to...
October 14, 2013   Elder Care

The Rising Costs of Dementia Care

Studies reveal that the cost of dementia care is rising. Moreover, it is expected to double again by 2040. Comparatively, the cost of caring for an elderly citizen with dementia is similar to or higher than that of caring for an individual with heart disease or cancer. Making the situation worse, the number of individuals suffering from dementia will continue to grow over the coming years.   The RAND Corporation recently published a study indicating that the average annual cost to care for a single dementia patient is $41,000 to $56,000. Included in this cost is medical spending, family care, lost productivity, and long-term care. The largest portion of this cost is long-term care, which accounts for 84% of the total care costs for individual suffering with dementia. Alarmingly, this...
October 7, 2013   Elder Care

How It Costs You: Medicare Fraud in Nursing Homes

Medicare fraud is currently running rampant, and American taxpayers are left holding the bag. In 2010, for example, it is estimated that Medicare and Medicaid paid out over $65 million for what were revealed to be fraudulent claims. Perhaps more alarming, those who create and submit these false claims often endanger the lives of the elderly patients that they are supposedly caring for.   Some of the largest perpetrators of Medicare fraud are nursing homes. When engaging in Medicare fraud, nursing homes provide patients with services that they do not need, and bill Medicare for the reimbursements. In one particularly egregious case, a nursing home within in a national chain billed Medicare for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy for a single patient all in the sa...
September 16, 2013   Elder Care

Caring for Parents with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease

Currently, approximately 10 million Americans are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, a crippling form of dementia. Caring for a loved one with dementia is a very difficult task.   The first step is recognizing when your elderly parent begins to exhibit the signs of dementia. For family members, it is often difficult to be sure when parents become truly disabled. This occurs when a person cannot change his or her behavior. If a person exhibits dysfunctional behavior that he or she cannot modify or adjust, he or she likely has dementia.   Understand that in addition to being a loved one, you’re also often a caregiver. You become a caregiver when your visits are a necessity, rather than purely social. For example, if you need to stop by several days per wee...
August 21, 2013   Elder Care

Planning for Seniors: Long-Term Care and Medicaid

As we age, a vast majority of us will require long-term care at some point in our lives. Long-term care may be provided in residential facilities or in the comfort of one’s own home, and includes services required to assist elderly Americans with everyday tasks such as eating, dressing, bathing, and toileting.   Medicaid is a program provided by State and Federal Governments in order to assist Americans with paying for health services and nursing home costs. Depending on what state you live in, Medicaid my also cover long-term care costs for care received within your home. Medicaid, however, is a need-based program. In order to qualify for Medicaid, citizens need to meet the asset and income-level requirements for their state.   Because Medicaid is a need-based program, man...
August 9, 2013   Elder Care

3 Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore: Spotting Nursing Home Abuse

Unfortunately, elder abuse in elder care facilities and nursing homes is very real, and not uncommon. Those who have a family member or loved one in an elder care facility or nursing home need to be aware of any warning signs of abuse.   One of the most common signs of elder abuse is decubitus ulcers, or “bedsores.” Unless a physician has indicated that bedsores are unavoidable, a person who enters an elder care facility or nursing home without bedsores should not develop them during their stay. Bedsores are very painful and, when left untreated, can cause serious infection and death.   Another sign of elder abuse is unexplained injuries. Common injuries such as skin tears, bruises, and fractured bones may be caused by inadequate care. These injuries often occur when...
July 4, 2011   Elder Care

Elder Abuse – It Can Happen to Anyone!

By Richard J. Gregorek, J.D.
As estate planning and elder law attorneys and professionals serving the needs of elders, it is crucial that we stay informed and vigilant in spotting issues where elders and vulnerable adults may be victims of abuse or exploitation. Every practitioner must be familiar with their state’s rules of professional conduct regarding the reporting of abuse to state authorities and law enforcement. In Washington State, attorneys are Per­missive Reporters and may report to the Washington State Adult Protective Services or law enforcement when there is reasonable cause to believe that a vulnerable adult is be­ing or has been abandoned, abused, financially exploited or neglected. Reporters are immune from liability and the reporting or testifying shall not be deemed a violation of any c...
October 16, 2008   Elder Care

Navigating the Health Care System: Nursing Home & Hospital Care Advocacy

By Sanford J. Mall, J.D., CELA
Elder law is a broad and varied practice. Care advocacy is an area of the practice that provides the elder law attorney with the opportunity to “do well by doing good.” Understanding how the health care system works and being aware of systemic weaknesses enables us to become effective advocates for our clients (as well as our loved ones). One poorly understood component of the health care system for elder clients and clients with disabilities is their Medicare beneficiary rights and how to advocate for getting the benefits they deserve when the system fails.   A Health Care System Challenge – Transition of Care When a client transitions from on...
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