Gainesville Estate Planning Law Blog

3 steps to take before turning to a nursing home for help

People don't usually like thinking about a time when their parents need to go into a nursing home. It means that their loved ones are aging and coming to a point when they may no longer be able to do things for themselves.

If that's the point your parents are reaching, it's important to begin asking the right questions about nursing homes and doing your research. What should you do before you choose a home? How can you make the transition easier? Here are a few things to consider.

Determining whether home care is a long-term care planning option

Helping an aging parent plan and provide for his or her health and financial needs can be a challenging and emotional experience. There are often so many long\-term care options, it is difficult to determine which ones best suit a loved one's particular needs and goals. A main decision many adult children help their parents make is whether to include home care as a part of a plan. In fact, there may be some in Georgia who are currently considering this option.

As with most elective programs, there are pros and cons to home care. Some say it can be beneficial regarding health as well as finances. Others have determined it is not always the most practical or economically feasible choice.

No such thing as a perfect nursing home, but safety is important

When adult children in Georgia assist their aging parents in long\-term care planning, the process often includes researching various permanent resident facilities. There is no way to guarantee that no mishaps or negative situations will ever occur in a particular nursing home. However, there are several things prospective residents and their families can do to determine which facility best suits their particular needs and goals for long-term care. One of the first rules of thumb is to never underestimate word-of mouth assessments.

There's a difference between rumors and firsthand accounts. A good way to start researching nursing facilities is to speak with others who currently reside in them, have left a particular facility or are family members of residents. Asking questions regarding what people like or dislike about a particular nursing home and whether they are satisfied with the care they or their loved ones receive is a good way to obtain basic information that can help determine whether a specific facility is worthy of further consideration.

What happens to your special needs child after you die?

For most parents, the biggest concern about their death is naming a guardian if their children are minors or ensuring that their estate plan has accurate information about how to handle their assets after they pass. For parents of a child with special needs, however, there are other critical considerations.

Without the protection of a parent, your special needs child could end up named a ward of the state, placed in a poorly run institution or even abused by someone who should be providing care. Depending on the degree of the condition(s) impacting your child, he or she may not ever be able to live independently at any age. You should take steps now to ensure your child has the support and protection needed to thrive without you.

Protecting loved ones from harm not always possible

When Georgia families make decisions to seek assisted living care for aging parents, they may face many challenges trying to find facilities that are best suited to their family members' needs. Protecting loved ones and ensuring they receive quality care is at the top of most people's lists of priorities when researching nursing homes in their areas. The bottom line is that the majority of the time, the loved one is going to be out of sight from other family members; therefore, it takes a lot of confidence in staff members' abilities and priorities to entrust a mother or father to their care.

When things go wrong, they sometimes go very wrong. Adult children may be left feeling helpless and angry when a parent suffers neglect or abuse in a nursing home. Physical injury might not have been caused directly by a staff member. That does not necessarily mean, however, that the facility would not be financially responsible for any harm that comes to a resident in its care.

What you need to know about granting power of attorney

Estate planning consists of various tools you can use to plan for an uncertain future. For example, you can write a will to leave your Gainesville home to your children. Or, you might create a living will in case you become incapacitated and can no longer make decisions for yourself. You might even choose to start a trust for your wife so that you can feel confident she will continue to have income after you pass.

Another tool that is part of estate planning is a power of attorney (POA). With a POA, you can give a trusted family member or friend the legal right to act on your behalf in regard to finances, medical care or various other reasons. Even if you are planning to travel abroad for an extended period of time, a POA can come in handy if matters arise at home that you need someone to attend to before your return. Here are a few things about power of attorney that you should know.

Mental illness and other possible health problems for the elderly

Knowing that a mother or father is getting on in years but not being able to visit him or her everyday can cause an adult child to worry. It's understandable that aging parents would like to maintain as much independence as possible. Their children typically want the same for them but also want to make sure that living independently is what's best for their parents. If mental illness or another serious health problem is suspected, it may be time to access support resources in Georgia.

There are various signs that might be present if an elderly person is suffering an undiagnosed mental or physical illness. Knowing what the signs are and also how to access support when needed can help keep parents safe and well. When adult children are visiting their parents' homes, they can pay close attention to certain things to help gauge the condition of their parents' mental and physical well-being.

A special needs trust can protect your autistic child

Being a parent is a nerve-wracking pursuit. This is especially true for those who have special needs children in their lives. There are many considerations involved with parenting a special needs child that the average parent will never need to consider. Children with special needs are more likely than their peers to suffer abuse. They may struggle academically as well.

With the high rates of autism diagnoses affecting one in 68 children, more parents than every before must face the dilemma long known to special needs parents. How can you ensure your child receives adequate care and support when you are no longer there to advocate on behalf of your autistic child? For many families, a special needs trust is the ideal means of protecting an autistic family member.

Important issues regarding long-term care and estate planning

Two issues of high priority in many people's lives often intersect as one may impact the other financially or otherwise. However, just the thought of trying to devise a sufficient long\-term care and estate plan is enough to cause many Georgia readers stress. Keeping a few key points in mind may help avoid major problems.

Long-term care is expensive in most cases. There are often government benefits available to help pay for such care. It is generally a good idea to research such options in order to protect one's estate assets from being used to meet such expenses. Asset protection is one of many issues for which an experienced long-term care planning attorney can provide guidance.

Nurse's aide charged with abuse and other nursing home crimes

Many families in Georgia have elderly loved ones who reside in assisted living facilities. Part of long\-term care often includes researching and finding the right nursing home to suit a particular person's needs. When a family thinks it has found the right place for one of its members, then learns that things are not up to par, it's understandable that feelings of anger or frustration might set in. This appears to be the type of situation that has taken place with regard to a facility in another state.

A certified nurse's aide, who also happens to be former police officer, has been accused of stealing pain patches off of patients. He is also charged with assault and battery, in addition to crimes involving larceny of a controlled substance. All told, the man now faces charges for one misdemeanor and three felonies.

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