Whoever said, “Life at you fast” wasn’t joking. Our lives can be changed in the blink of an eye by an accident or other unpleasant surprise. However odd it may seem, it is possible to prepare for an unexpected emergency. In some cases, that means have a good estate plan in place before the emergency.
Sometimes a loved one may need sudden medical attention.
A complete estate plan typically includes an advance directive for health care. This document may include a durable power of attorney and a living Will. If you suddenly become ill and unable to communicate with your doctors, your advance directive will be a big help to your family and your healthcare providers. Your power of attorney has named an agent to communicate for you. A living will states your preferences for end-of-life treatment.
Emergencies can involve incapacity or disability.
If you are disabled due to a medical emergency, your advance directive helps with medical decisions. However, financial matters must be attended to also. This is where your general durable power of attorney makes a difference. The agent you named in your durable power of attorney can step in and take over your financial affairs if you are no longer able to do so.
You may also have set up a revocable living trust, naming yourself as trustee. In the event of your incapacity, the successor trustee can take over management of the trust.
In addition, you may have engaged in other incapacity planning that may help you qualify for government benefits like Medicaid.
One worst case scenario may include moving a beloved family member to a nursing facility.
Speaking of Medicaid, you or a loved one may need Medicaid to pay for long-term care costs. It’s important to start your Medicaid planning early because Medicaid will review your finances for the five years prior to applying for benefits. Some transactions made during that time frame could reduce or eliminate your eligibility.
Certain trusts can help you with long-term care planning. However, you will need to speak with an attorney to make sure your trust is established correctly.
An unexpected emergency may even lead to death.
Finally, death is often unexpected. Your valid Alabama Will or revocable living trust affect how your property will be passed to your heirs. Leaving these documents behind for your family helps them at a truly stressful time.
Estate planning can help when an unexpected emergency arises
Your estate plan can’t help, though, if it is out of date or you haven’t even prepared it yet. Schedule a consultation with one of the attorneys at Miller Estate and Elder Law. Our phone number is 256-472-1900. Miller Estate and Elder Law is now located at 818 Leighton Avenue in Anniston, but we serve clients in communities like Hoover, Vestavia Hills, Irondale, and Calera.
Check out our website for information about free workshops and guides.
There is never a wrong time to visit a loved one who is in a nursing home. Simply seeing the visitor or family member may be more meaningful to the person confined to the long-term care facility than you know. With that said, each of us needs to be prepared as our loved one may find it difficult to effectively communicate due to his or her unique health concerns.
Despite there being little communication during the visit, oftentimes, just being present with a family member or friend can be satisfying to the patient. We know you may have questions on the ”right way” to visit with a loved one. We want you to know that there is no one “right way” but the following are some suggestions on how to make a visit to a person confined to a long-term nursing home meaningful.
As a visitor, you want to consider bringing with you items that can be of interest to the patient. For example, if the patient previously had a pet, it could be meaningful if the visitor brought his or her pet for a visit with the patient at the nursing home. Similarly, if the patient enjoyed music or played a musical instrument, the visitor could bring a cassette player and discs to play music that would be meaningful to the patient. Simply reading aloud can also be helpful.
Oftentimes, as nursing home residents decline, they lose the ability to communicate. Unfortunately, we see that this is a time when many families stop visiting as often because they do not know what to say or how to make the visits meaningful for the family, as well as their loved one. It can also be difficult to see a loved one when he or she cannot communicate. It is crucial to remember again that just being present can be rewarding for all involved.
Talk with your loved one about events going on in the community or family. Even if they are nonverbal, do not assume they cannot understand. Just hearing your voice could bring comfort and keep them connected with the outside world. It may also be helpful to prepare or purchase a special food or dessert they love or of an ethnic origin that is not offered at the nursing home. Before you do this, however, you will want to be sure that the dietitian and physician agree that the patient can tolerate this new food.
Looking at old family picture albums with a patient may be meaningful. This may cause the patient to reminisce about past life experiences. Bring in old family photographs and scrapbooks, if you have them. The patient may enjoy just listening to you explain the pictures and the memories.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. We are here to answer your questions on this or any elder care issue you may be facing. We guide and work to protect families throughout our community to ensure that they have the long-term care support they need. Do not wait to schedule a meeting with our team.
Did you know medical alert systems are life-saving technologies that have helped countless seniors over recent decades?
In fact, they are so valuable that August has been designated national Medical Alert Awareness Month.
Alert systems can vary depending on a senior’s needs, but almost all of them require the user to wear a device. This can be a pendant, a lanyard, a bracelet, or even some smartphones, but all of them include an emergency call button. When the button is pressed, an alert signal is emitted and emergency assistance is contacted.
How can you tell if an aging parent or senior loved one can benefit from medical alert systems?
By paying attention to warning signs. Seniors with serious medical conditions such as heart disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes are all candidates for the safety net devices, as are seniors with similar ailments. Other telltale signs can include:
- Diminished mental alertness
- Vision problems
- Balance issues
- A recent heart attack
- Falling or a near-fall
It’s also a good idea to speak with an aging loved one’s doctor about his or her overall health condition. Make sure to ask about potential concerns and related precautions. Medical alert systems may be effective solutions that could even allow for increased independence.
The safety technologies are most effective when combined with other aspects of elder care, particularly those that aging adults struggle to maintain, such as home clutter and tripping hazards. Complementing safety measures might include a decluttering plan, regular eye exams, senior-friendly exercise such as tai chi or balance training, and proper footwear.
Seniors who take medications with certain side effects could also benefit from an emergency alert system. For instance, medicines causing drowsiness, dizziness or imbalance can contribute to falls, which often result in broken hips and head injuries. In these cases, every second counts, and an emergency alert would summon help immediately.
No matter how careful seniors and their adult children may be, accidents and emergencies are a part of life. While older adults face elevated risks, medical alert systems provide one of the best ways to be prepared. There is never a wrong time to plan forward and we encourage you to reach out to our law office and schedule a meeting to discuss your elder care concerns.