Our personal life experiences have prepared and motivated us to serve as your guides and advocates. If you are still healthy, we can help you establish your options and get comfortably prepared for the future. Most of us hope to pass peacefully, when the time comes, in the comfort of our homes, surrounded by memories and loved ones. This requires significant advance planning; we take inventory of the specifics of your assets, age and health, projected retirement income, any veteran’s status, and your preferences, comparing your profile with statistical probabilities and our knowledge of national trends and local options. This helps us develop a plan of realistic options for you. Our strategic work to preserve your wealth and independence is supplemental to a qualified financial planner; we prefer to function as team members with your financial planner and accountant. If you are a caregiver of an older loved one, you probably have questions about what care options could be considered or how you can pay for necessary care while preserving family assets and avoiding personal responsibility. Our staff understands the stress that comes with your devotion. Through the combined efforts of experienced attorneys and accredited elder care coordinators, we help our clients not only preserve family wealth but also live with dignity. We’ve been in your situation and understand what you’re going through. Please take a moment to read our individual stories below.
I’m a Baby Boomer nearing what Social Security calls the “full retirement age.” I’ve shared a bit of my past below, which explains the motivation and purpose of Keystone Elder Law. My wife and I presently feel “called” to provide a solid foundation for Keystone Elder Law PC to outlive us as our future legacy to serve our community’s long-term care needs.
We were confused and frustrated by a wide variety of unbelievably challenging issues over an eight year period when all four of our parents suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia at the end of their lives. Dealing with the conflicting regulations and apparent motivations of hospitals, rehab facilities, skilled nursing homes, dementia facilities, continuing care retirement communities, hospices, and individual medical professionals was a remarkably chaotic experience. It nearly drove us crazy!
We had no guide or advisor to give us comprehensive advice to make us feel confident that we weren’t overlooking an opportunity to comfort or assist our parents. One attorney wrote us a helpful letter to explain the Medicaid process, but did not do the paperwork for us. We were never advised that our fathers’ World War II service opened the door to receive more than $20,000 per year in a special pension from the Veterans Administration. No one explained how we could use a Medicaid-compliant annuity to save assets for the spouse who still lived in the community. No one helped us to understand or coordinate facility or care options. No one came to the facility to help us with advocacy.
Frustration remained, even after the passing of our parents. I concluded that, although we had met many really fine and kind individuals along our parents’ “journeys,” either the elder care system was badly broken or had not yet been fully invented. I began seeking “a better way” to serve our community.
I imagined a service that would maximize the quality of independent living for older persons. Then, if an alternative care arrangement became needed for their safety, or as the only economically viable option to assist with their increased need for help with their activities of daily living, I wanted to reduce the pain of transitioning. Although I had not been practicing law, I realized that my law license could be used to become part of the solution.
Much research led to my strong belief that involving an experienced, non-lawyer professional to focus on care planning could help to anticipate and avoid a crisis. Clearly, since a lawyer can appear to be intimidating or adversarial, a care provider’s staff would be more comfortable speaking with a similarly licensed professional to coordinate placement, if and when a client would have a need for home care or care in a facility. Keystone Elder Law P.C. has adopted this approach, and our multi-disciplined team of experienced professionals shares a profound commitment to this service.
As ambassadors to facilitate the best caregiving, we refuse to bring lawsuits against care providers, who have become willing to collaborate with us to get the best care for our clients. Care providers seem to appreciate that, instead of threatening them with litigation, we have chosen to employ a non-legal professional as our clients’ care coordinator to help our clients and their supportive family members to communicate care needs most effectively to care providers. When our clients’ families feel frustrated by what they perceive to be deficiencies in a care provider’s services, we are often able to be an empathetic buffer to help to bridge the gap constructively between expectations and standard practices.
Prior to becoming a principal of Keystone Elder Law P.C., I was an executive and shareholder of a multi-state, private corporation which employed more than 1,200 people; and I was a real estate broker-developer who completed transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars over three decades in many states. I served as a national chair of the Office Condominium Forum and the Private Developers Forum of the National Association of Office and Industrial Properties (NAIOP), and was president of the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors Industrial, Commercial and Investment Council. My professional career began in the non-profit and public sectors, where I initially worked in direct social services with wayward teenagers, and then later in the administration of federal and state grants for housing and community development on a local level in Lancaster County. As the only member of my family who was not employed as an educator, I was appointed and later elected to serve as a school board member for the urban School District of Lancaster, which had more than 1,000 employees and over 10,000 students.
My formal education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wake Forest University, a Master of Public Administration degree from Penn State University, and a Juris Doctor degree from Widener University School of Law. While attending law school in mid-life to demystify the legal objections of others in the corporate culture to my out-of-the-box creativity, I supported my family with full-time employment. I was honored to receive the American Jurisprudence Awards for Real Estate Transactions and Education. My continued professional education includes: certification in Long Term Care Insurance (CLTC); retaining Pennsylvania licenses as both a real estate broker and a producer of life and health insurance; certification as a CCIM and member of the Commercial Investment Real Estate Institute; and certificated participant in extensive mediation training, including Good Shepherd’s Elder Mediation Course at Temple University.
As one who places a high value on continuing professional education, I have completed hundreds of hours of training in real estate, law, management, mediation, and leadership; and we encourage and assist Keystone colleagues to be similarly committed. Because “giving back” is important, I have frequently taught accredited continuing education courses to various professionals. Keystone accepts as many invitations as possible to speak to local service and professional organizations about elder law and long-term care issues.
I can’t imagine a better use of my experience and time than the present opportunity to lead a team of experienced and dedicated professionals in offering a fresh and comprehensive approach to guide older adults and their families through the maze of long-term care issues. Keystone is able to stay on top of the latest changes in law and resources through our active membership with a number of national and state organizations. Although I wish that my parents and in-laws could have benefited from having such a comprehensive service available to them, we feel blessed to have the opportunity to be the first to initiate that level of service in Central Pennsylvania.
Please accept this invitation to call us. Our care coordinator will spend time to listen to your questions. We’ll either refer you to a free or more appropriate resources, or we’ll help you to prepare so that an initial appointment with us will clarify how we can help you, and at what cost. Getting started sooner than later is important!
When concerned family members come into our office, wondering how they will afford long-term care or how to protect their hard-earned savings for the good of the family, I draw on years of experience with guiding people safely through crises.
During ten years of service as a Senior Deputy Attorney General, I gained extensive experience in the state and federal courts of Pennsylvania. While representing hard-working people who were nervous about litigation, I learned to evaluate and organize the critical facts of a case, present them to a jury, and obtain favorable outcomes for my clients. At Keystone Elder Law, clients call on me in cases of elder abuse or the mismanagement of property belonging to a vulnerable person or an estate. I represent clients in court when guardianship is the only available option for a person who is incapacitated by an illness, has special needs that require extensive help from another person, or who is the victim of abuse or exploitation.
While serving as Counsel to the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee, I worked with experts to understand how families can best plan for long-term care, make important decisions for themselves and their children in case they are incapacitated, and preserve their property through estate planning. Together we anticipated problems that could arise and we made improvements to the law relating to guardianship, advance health care directives, powers of attorney, and digitally stored assets in estate planning. I worked extensively on the problem of elder abuse and financial exploitation by individuals who are trusted to manage an elderly person’s most important interests.
When I am not in the office, I regularly work on legal updates as a co-author of Pennsylvania Appellate Practice (West Publishing), a three-volume resource relied upon by judges and attorneys statewide.
I received my college and law degrees from the University of Notre Dame. I have received extensive training from ElderCounsel and the Elder Law College, organizations that are devoted to the highest levels of competence for those who represent the elderly, the disabled, and the veterans of our armed forces. I am accredited to practice before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and it is my mission to help veterans understand the benefits that are available to them.
It is an honor to apply these experiences in the service of clients at Keystone Elder Law P.C. From foundational estate planning to more complex planning for long-term care, I prepare people for whatever life sends their way and restore their peace of mind.
Karen E. Kaslow, RN, BSN
In June of 2013, I joined Keystone Elder Law after learning about the firm’s commitment to improving the quality of life of seniors and their families. Navigating today’s health care system requires a multidisciplinary approach in order to understand the services that are available and the regulations that govern those services. Sometimes, combinations of services are required to meet the increasingly complex needs experienced by seniors as they age. Through education and service coordination, we can help individuals and families meet their physical, emotional, social, and financial needs. My health care knowledge is especially beneficial.
My educational background and training includes a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. My experience in the care of the elderly started while I was still in school, as I worked in an extended care facility as a nursing assistant. After receiving my degree, I continued to develop my skills through positions on hospital orthopedic and respiratory units. Subsequently, I moved on to a continuing care retirement community, where I was able to work with individuals in all levels of care from independent living to personal care to skilled nursing. For me, helping the elderly move through the continuum of care reinforced the importance of compassion, communication, and organization in order to ensure smooth transitions for all involved. In my twenty plus years of providing nursing care, I was also able to experience home care both professionally and personally as a caregiver as well as extended acute care situations. My desire is to use my knowledge and abilities to help clients maintain dignity, maximize their potential, and reduce the stress of adapting to changes in their health status.
In my role as Care Coordinator, I enjoy serving as a facilitator of varied services for seniors and their family members as well as a liaison with area organizations that provide services and support. In my free time, I enjoy the outdoors and spending time with family.
Client Services Director
As a child, I was fortunate to enjoy a close, nurturing relationship with my grandparents. My husband, Dave, and I were both born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which has a strong sense of community. We valued living near our parents and enjoyed regular extended family time together. After we relocated to Cumberland County, we made special efforts to preserve those close relationships. Through our parents’ aging experiences, however, I discovered both the gratification and the difficulties of helping older family members who lived at a distance.
Since earning my B.A. from Swarthmore College, I have had a varied career, working first in county human services as a planner and administrator and then moving into organization management as an Association Executive with non-profit and membership organizations. I completed intensive business training through the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for Organization Management and took additional coursework in marketing, human resources, and time management. Through Dale Carnegie training, I developed my interest and abilities in presenting educational programs.
As Keystone’s Client Resources Director, my responsibilities include identifying, researching, and networking with area services that may prove to be beneficial to elders and their families. Serving as a liaison, I enjoy personal interaction with Keystone’s clients, from gathering preliminary needs information to long-term follow up. As an avid Jeopardy fan, I understand that asking the right questions is just as important as learning the answers. Many things in life come full circle. I’m now a grandmother myself, delighting in this new role and relationship.
Business Development Coordinator
I’m originally from Western Pennsylvania and, yes, I’m a Steelers Fan! I graduated from St. Francis University in Loretto, PA, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Social Work. I married my husband, Larry, two years after I graduated and was so fortunate to be able to travel to many locations in the United States and Europe. As an Army spouse, I had the opportunity to substitute teach, run a religious education center, serve as president of a school board and help with the Army Wives Support Group. All these experiences helped me in sales and marketing.
Our final move, with my husband and four children, was to Carlisle in 1995. Upon his retirement, I began full-time employment which included human resources and event planning. I soon found a passion for sales and marketing. After fifteen years in advertising sales, I was offered a position in marketing with a home health care provider. Working with families brought me back to my social work roots.
Joining Keystone Elder Law in 2017, I’ve been able to continue marketing and networking with care provider agencies in the area. I still find time to keep up with volunteer work as I serve on the leadership team for the Caring Continuum, President of the board for a non-profit daycare center and volunteer for my church.
My responsibilities at Keystone Elder Law include meeting with care and service providers, determining advertising needs, coordinating social and educational events for clients, the general public and professionals who work with older adults.
Legal Assistant/Administrative Coordinator
I joined Keystone Elder Law as an Administrative Assistant in December 2017. After learning the story behind why Dave and Marcia started this firm, I immediately knew that I wanted to support their vision to help others to be able to thrive and continue well into the future. As someone with a lifelong passion for helping others, cultivated through raising children of my own and giving back to the community through my volunteering efforts at LGBT Center of Central Pennsylvania, I feel truly at home on a team dedicated to supporting others in need.
When I first went to college, I was a semester away from earning my degree in Accounting, when I made the decision to put that on hold and concentrate on raising my four children. After they were all off to college, I went back to earn my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Performance Management from Immaculata University, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2012. During my time at Keystone Elder Law, I have expanded my responsibilities from Administrative Assistant to Administrative Coordinator, and now to Legal Assistant/Administrative Coordinator, working closely with our attorneys in the Estate Planning and Estate Administration process, as well as providing support to various business functions across the firm. I love meeting our clients and knowing that we are doing everything we can to help them navigate the difficult issues they are facing together with their families. Outside of work, I enjoy traveling the world, relaxing at the beach, and spending time with my children and grandson.