Elder Law

Elder Law Pittsburgh, PA

Elder LawElder Law is not only concerned with wills, trusts and powers of attorney, but also with the care of those who can no longer care for themselves. As Americans live longer it is becoming more common for middle aged individuals to be caught in situations where they are faced with years of care for aged parents. In some cases, couples finally see their children through college and finally become empty-nesters when they find that their parents have made little or no preparation for their later years.

Technically, children are not responsible for expenses incurred by their parents, but the majority of adults feel morally accountable for parental care. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that Medicare does not pay for nursing home care after the first 100 days, (providing the applicant was hospitalized first), and Medicaid steps in only when there is a reduction in the assets of the individual needing care. If the individual has a spouse, he or she is permitted to keep the residence, one car, furnishings and a sum of money in the neighborhood of $100,000. If gifts have been made in the past five years, these amounts are counted as assets. Any amount over the sum allowable must be first paid to the nursing home before Medicaid takes over. Unfortunately, Medicaid does not pay for assisted living. In many cases, children wind up taking care of infirm parents in an “in home” situation. This can become especially difficult if dementia is involved. In determining eligibility for Medicaid, the services of an attorney are usually needed.

It is important to approach the subject of elder care with parents while there is still time to plan ahead. An elder law attorney can be of assistance. More and more people are investigating Long term Care Insurance. This type of insurance comes with many variations in coverage. It is expensive, but in the long run it means peace of mind and the best in care for the elderly.

In some cases, the elderly have been subjected to abuse, both at the hands of relatives and others. There are cases where a caregiver permits a relative to live in substandard conditions in order to benefit from the person’s assets. Sometimes only an alert neighbor saves the day by calling authorities. In some cases legal action must be taken to audit the financial affairs of the person. Financial abuse is a major problem. Neglect is another. Many of the elderly are abused psychologically and physically. Often another relative will report the caregiver, but there are too many cases that go undiscovered.

Unfortunately, in some instances elder abuse may occur in a senior care facility. The law does not allow unreasonable physical restraint, or physical or chemical restraint not prescribed by a physician. Failure to provide adequate nutrition, personal hygiene or medical care, and to prevent bedsores may also come under the abuse label. In extreme cases, physical and sexual abuse have occurred. If you are suspicious that your relative is being abused, consult an attorney and report your suspicions.

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