As an elder law firm, we focus on matters that are of particular interest to senior citizens and their families. This is an area of specialization that has become more and more important, because the population is aging rapidly.
There is a statistic that really puts this phenomenon into perspective. The Social Security Administration has been accepting over 10,000 applications daily for a number of years, and this volume is expected to persist into the foreseeable future.
Why is there such a demographic shift underway? The baby boomer generation got its name because a very high number of babies were born between 1944 and 1964. If you do the math, you can see that these people are attaining senior citizen status, and there are large numbers of them.
Clearly, a lot of people are preparing for their senior years, and they need insight. There are two elder law issues that are most pressing at the present time, and we will look at them in this post.
The life expectancy for a woman that is turning 67 on this day is 87 years, and for a man, it is 85 years. People are living longer lives, and the oldest old are often subject to victimization.
Elder abuse is a large but often overlooked problem, and it comes in multiple different forms. There is physical and emotional abuse that can be dished out by caregivers, and the stories are extremely disturbing. You should certainly be very discerning when you are seeking nursing home care for an aging loved one, and the same thing applies to in-home caregivers.
The challenges are so severe that the government has established the National Center on Elder Abuse, and their site is a great source of information. Another good tool that can be quite useful is the Nursing Home Compare function on the Medicare website.
These heinous forms of abuse are all too common, but elder financial abuse is another problem that is even more widespread. It is hard for experts to estimate the full extent of the problem, because the vast majority of cases are never reported to authorities.
There are a couple of different reasons why so many instances of abuse take place in the shadows. One of them is the simple fact that some elders do not know that they are being abused.
In other cases, elders are aware of the exploitation, but they keep quiet because they do not want to get their caregivers into trouble. Sadly, many perpetrators of elder financial abuse are family members that have access to seniors and their financial resources.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to protect yourself in advance, and this is one of the reasons why it is wise to discuss the eventualities of aging with an the elder law attorney.
Long-Term Care Expenses
The other elder law challenge that impacts an even wider range of people is the matter of long-term care and the cost that goes along with it. More than three out of every 10 seniors will reside in nursing homes eventually, and Medicare does not pay for the custodial care that these facilities provide.
In the Rochester area where we practice law, the median annual charge for a private room in a nursing home was over $159,000 in 2019, and the typical cost was over $170,000. This represented a 3.8 percent increase over 2018. If the costs continues to rise, you could be looking at an even higher number if long-term care is needed in 10 or 20 years.
Medicaid is another form of government health insurance that does pay for nursing home care and at-home living assistance if you can gain eligibility. You are probably aware of the fact that this program is only available to people with very limited monetary resources. However, with the proper advance planning, you can position your assets wisely with future Medicaid eligibility in mind.
We Are Here to Help!
The people here at our firm are taking all the necessary steps to maintain our social distance, but that does not mean we are not accessible. We are offering remote video consultations and telephone conferencing while we are all affected by the coronavirus.
You can give us a call at (585) 546-1734 to schedule an appointment, and there is a contact form on this website that you can use to send us a message.