Do you find that one of the best times during the holidays is visiting your relatives? Do you find it rewarding yet sad because each year they are a little older and more frail? As you once again plan your holiday visit, what should you look for to be sure they are doing well? In fact, are you going to discuss long-term care planning with them?  What exactly will you tell them that long-term care planning is? The National Institute on Aging defines long-term care planning as steps to meet a person’s health or personal care needs during a long or short period of time. You can share with your relatives that with the help of these services, they may be able to live as independently and safely as possible even though they can no longer perform everyday activities on their own.

Keep in mind that estate planning, including long-term care planning, is definitely impacted by both the personal wishes and financial means of your relatives. As you look at whether your relatives need planning, we would like to share 3 signs to watch out for while visiting your relatives. The following are some helpful questions to ask your relatives this holiday season to determine what type of long-term care planning may be best for them.

1. Are you noticing that your relatives are having a hard time getting around in their home? Does their home seem more untidy, neglected or cluttered? Have you discussed with them whether they want to move to assisted living or whether they want to age-in-place? Assisted living can offer a wide range of amenities that may make it an attractive option to them. With a homey atmosphere, assisted living offers meals, activities and outings. Other times, though, people want to stay in their own home at all costs. However, if your relatives want to stay in their home what needs to be done to help them remain in their home as long as possible and stay safe? There may need to be modifications to their home to make it safer and easier to move around. In addition, there may need to be a discussion about part-time in-home care help or possibly a family caregiver moving in with them or make daily visits.

2. When you rode in the car of your relatives, did you notice their driving was erratic? When you spoke to them about driving did they share their anxiety about driving? Did they also note that they have no other alternative?  You need to help your relatives find alternate modes of transportation and encourage them to stop driving. 

3. Are you concerned with the signs you are seeing when you are with your relatives? Unpaid bills, blank checks scattered around, medicine cabinets with out of date medicines and people you do not know calling your relatives while you are with them? If your relatives suffered a stroke, which could leave them mentally incapacitated without warning, who would handle their affairs? You need to be sure they have an estate plan in place. If your relatives needed a nursing home after a stroke, do they know how they would pay for it? Medicare may cover a short stay in a nursing home, but beyond that, your relatives would need to cover the cost. You need to have a conversation with them about whether they have the money to cover a nursing home or long-term care insurance? If the answer is no then Medicaid planning may be done to preserve the assets of your relatives and make them eligible for Medicaid to cover the cost.

Based upon your visit with your relatives  and the signs of their declining health it may be time to help your relatives locate a qualified Florida elder law attorney? Encourage them to visit and begin planning for their future as soon as possible.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. We know you may have questions about this, and many other, issues. At the Perlin Estate Planning & Probate our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services.  By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.