Long term Care of Elderly and the Role of Informal Caregivers
By Kent Berk on July 23rd, 2014 in BLOG, Elder Law
Every family differs in its approach to caring for aging relatives.
Many families look to themselves to provide long term care as their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles (etc.) age. Indeed, according to statistics from the U.S. government’s Administration on Aging, “families are the major provider of long-term care, but research has shown that caregiving exacts a heavy emotional, physical, and financial toll.” Caregivers have to juggle conflicting responsibilities and can experience a great deal of stress. It is reported that nearly half of all caregivers are over the age of 50, “making them more vulnerable to a decline in their own health,” with up to one-third describing themselves as being in fair to poor health.
In light of these, and other, difficulties, it is the unfortunate reality that some families cannot provide long term care for an elderly relative themselves, possibly leaving the relative in a vulnerable or risky position. Therefore, before family members reach the point of needing long term care or assistance, they should take steps to proactively plan and protect themselves.
If you or someone you know anticipates caring for an elderly or otherwise vulnerable adult, these tips from the Arizona Attorney General (via AARP) may be helpful to pass along. These tips are intended to help prevent abuse or exploitation of those relying on advanced long term care.
First, remember that “ that no one, at any age, should be the victim of violent, abusive, humiliating, or neglectful behavior.” A few of the “dos” and “don’ts” include the following:
- Stay sociable, and try to keep and increase your network of friends and acquaintances. Remain in touch with old friends and neighbors if you change addresses or move.
- Ask friends to please visit you at home; even a brief visit can allow for observations of your well-being.
- Get legal advice about arrangements you can make now for possible future disability, including powers-of-attorney, guardianships, or conservatorships.
- Keep records, accounts, and property available for examination by someone you trust, as well as by the person you or the court has designated to manage your affairs.
- Review your estate plan periodically.
- Give up control of your property or assets only when you decide you cannot manage them. Ask for help when you need it. Discuss your plans with, and get advice from, your lawyer, physician, accountant and family members.
- Don’t accept personal care in return for transfer or assignments of your property or assets unless a lawyer, advocate, or another trusted person assists and advises you in connection with the transaction.
- Don’t sign a document unless someone you trust has reviewed it.
- Don’t allow anyone else to keep details of your finances or property management from you.
- Don’t live with a person who has a background of violent behavior or substance abuse.
- Don’t leave your home unattended. Notify police if you are going to be away for a long period. Don’t leave messages on the door while you are away.
- Don’t leave cash, jewelry, or prized possessions lying about.
For more information, please read the full list here. If you or a loved one has concerns or questions dealing with possible elder abuse, contact the Attorney General’s Elder Help Line at (602) 542-2124. The attorneys and staff of Berk Law Group, P.C. wish all our seniors safety and personal attention during their elder years.
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