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Elder Law: Using the Holidays Wisely

Tonight's post on using the holidays to prompt conversations about long term care was written by our Elder Law attorney, Steve Worrall.

November is Long-Term Care Awareness Month, and according to elder care experts, there's no better time than the holidays to talk with loved ones about their long-term care wishes and the plans they have in place.

I believe such conversations are critical to help ensure everyone is on the same page and that advanced preparations are made should disability or incapacity ever occur.

The harsh reality is that the majority of Americans will need long-term care assistance at some point in their lives.  Medical advances have done a great job in helping us live longer, but the risk of disability, incapacity, memory loss and mobility issues still remains.

Couple that with the fact that Baby Boomers have begun turning 65, and it's clear that families can no longer afford to put off having "tough conversations" about long-term care.   Otherwise, they may find that resources, options and budget-friendly alternatives are limited if an unexpected crisis strikes.

To ensure families are aware of their loved one's wishes and empowered to carry them out in a medical emergency, try using these "Did you know..." conversation starters over the holidays:

1. You're probably not covered for long-term care.  

People mistakenly believe they are covered for long-term care, but this assistance is not typically covered by your health or long-term disability insurance.

2. Medicaid and Medicare probably won't pick up the tab either.

Medicare only pays for skilled care, while Medicaid only covers those whose assets are at or below state-required levels. These programs often don't cover care provided in your own home.

3. Long-term care planning isn't just about finding a nursing home. 

Long-term care is about making sure your wishes are known and that you have the right legal documents and financial instruments in place that will allow your family to do exactly what you want in the later stages of life.

Long-term care conversations are difficult to have, but it's the only way to ensure your loved one's wishes are fully honored in a medical emergency. Don't miss the opportunity to break the ice and give your family members a say regarding their care this holiday season. Talk openly while there's still time to plan ahead and minimize the financial burden on your family.

If you'd like to receive my comprehensive guide, Hope For Caregivers: ABC's of Long-Term Care and Legal Planning, please email me at [email protected].

Steve Worrall

Steve helps all of our clients in Elder Law and Wills, Trusts and Estates whether it is out of our Marietta, Atlanta, Savannah, Gainesville, Canton or Lawrenceville office.

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