Care Planning For Alzheimer"s & DementiaSchedule Consultation
Does the thought of the future for a loved one with dementia frighten you? Dementia is a challenging condition to plan for because its onset may go initially unrecognized and its progression may be very slow. It is difficult to know when to tell your loved one that they can no longer do some of the things they have done for years such as driving. Family caregivers gradually add a variety of responsibilities to their plates and it becomes difficult to tell when “just one more thing” will become too much. The issues can be compounded if the individual with dementia wanders, becomes aggressive, or resistant to help. Our logical selves want to take a rational approach with these individuals to try to help them understand the consequences of their actions. While this method works well when teaching children, it is ineffective with persons with dementia. What is to be done?
At Keystone Elder Law P.C., we help you understand the legal, financial, and social implications of dementia. Our team not only has technical knowledge about the legal and financial needs of individuals and their families but we also have personal experience with this condition. The sooner a family seeks help from an elder law attorney, the greater the number of choices available to them for decision-making and care. Instead of applying a common cookie-cutter process for each client, at Keystone, we look at the issues from a variety of perspectives. In addition to the expertise of our attorneys, we have a Registered Nurse as an Elder Care Coordinator. As a Registered Nurse, our Elder Care Coordinator brings a wealth of knowledge on medical conditions, the intricate healthcare system, and care facilities in the area providing advocacy for your loved one and extra support for you.
We encourage all individuals who are experiencing symptoms of dementia to visit their family physician for a complete check-up. Symptoms of confusion and forgetfulness can sometimes be caused by treatable conditions such as infection, malnutrition, depression, and medication toxicity or interactions. Once the underlying cause is taken care of, the symptoms disappear. Dementia also may be due to a non-reversible condition such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or vascular dementia. When one of these conditions is present, we can help guide you through the maze of determining the correct level of care, finding professionals to provide the care, and figuring out how to pay for it. At the same time, we will honor your loved one’s dignity and give you peace of mind.
For additional information or questions, give us a call at 717-699-8437
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney can be used to give another person the right to sell a car, home, or other property in the place of the maker of the Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney might be used to allow another person to sign a contract for the maker of the Power of Attorney (the person who makes a power of attorney is called the “principal”). It can be used to give another person the authority to make health care decisions, do financial transactions, or sign legal documents that the principal cannot do for one reason or another. With few exceptions, Powers of Attorney can give others the right to do any legal acts that the makers of the Powers of Attorney could do them themselves. A General Power of Attorney gives the “power of attorney Agent” or simply “Agent” (the legal name of the person who is authorized to act for the principal) very broad powers to do almost every legal act that the principal can do. When Elder Law Attorneys draft general Powers of Attorney, they still list the types of things the Agent can do but these powers are very broad. People often do general Powers of Attorney to plan ahead for the day when they may not be able to take care of things themselves. By doing the General Power of Attorney, they designate someone who can do these things for them.
Normal Powers of Attorney terminate if and when the principal becomes incompetent. Yet many people do Powers of Attorney for the sole purpose of designating someone else to act for them if they cannot act for themselves. It is precisely when persons can no longer do for themselves that a Power of Attorney is most valuable. To remedy this inconsistency, the law created a Durable Power of Attorney that remains effective even if a person becomes incompetent. The only thing that distinguishes a Durable Power of Attorney from a regular Power of Attorney is special wording that states that the power survives the principal’s incapacity. Even a Durable Power of Attorney, however, may be terminated under certain circumstances if court proceedings are filed. Most Powers of Attorney done today are durable.
Yes. At the time the Power of Attorney is signed, the principal must be capable of understanding the document. Although a Power of Attorney is still valid if and when a person becomes incompetent, the principal must understand what he or she is signing at the moment of execution. That means a person can be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease or be otherwise incompetent sometimes but as long as they have a lucid moment and are competent at the moment they sign the Power of Attorney, it is valid even if they do not remember signing it at a later date. At the time it is signed, the principal must know what the Power of Attorney does, whom they are giving the Power of Attorney to, and what property may be affected by the Power of Attorney.
Any competent person eighteen years of age and older can serve as an agent. Certain financial institutions can also serve. There is no course of education that agent must complete or any test that Agent must pass. Because a Power of Attorney is such a potentially powerful document, agents should be chosen for reliability and trustworthiness. In the wrong hands, a Power of Attorney can be a license to steal. It can be a big responsibility to serve as an agent.
Medicare is health insurance and covers medical services such as physician appointments, therapy, blood tests, x rays, medical procedures and hospitalization. Medicare will sometime pay for rehabilitation in a long-term care facility for a period of 20 to 100 days, but not longer. In long-term care, Medicaid covers the cost of ongoing support services for daily functioning, such as room and board in a nursing home.
Medicaid is a federal program that is overseen by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In Pennsylvania, Medicaid is called Medical Assistance and is administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS).
In Pennsylvania, Medicaid funds are not available to pay for assisted living or personal care.
For Medicaid to pay for care in a nursing home, an individual recipient must be determined to need a nursing home level of care by a physician and the local Office of Aging. An individual whose income is not greater than three times the poverty level may keep up to $8,000 of total resources, but may otherwise keep only $2,400. The cash value of life insurance counts as a resource, but one car and a residential home does not count as a resource.
Empowering Clients with Holistic Planning at
Keystone Elder Law
At Keystone Elder Law, we believe that the physical, social, legal, and financial considerations of our clients all intertwine. We utilize an interdisciplinary approach to evaluate each area, which allows for the creation of a plan that addresses the concerns of the individual as a whole as well as the family. To this end, our model of practice includes a Care Coordinator (usually a nurse or social worker), whose expertise complements our team of attorneys.
When the road of life is smooth, decisions about legal and financial matters are easy to push aside for “a rainy day.” Planning ahead, however, will allow for more options as you view the map of where you’ve been and where you want to go. Don’t let a crisis limit your choices or derail your plans.(717) 697-3223