Tailoring a Caregiving Plan to Your Family

Tailoring a Caregiving Plan to Your Family: If you have a family member who needs ongoing assistance because of a disability, severe medical issue, or a chronic illness, you might need to create a schedule within the family for providing care to that loved one. Few of us can afford to hire a private nurse for a family member. Many people who need caregiving need someone available 24 hours a day, even if some of that time is watching over the person rather than providing medical attention.

Public assistance programs provide limited, if any services, so most families have to figure out who can pitch in and help care for the loved one. If you are like most people, you could use some suggestions on tailoring a caregiving plan to your family. Recent legislation could make that task easier.

The Inherent Problems of Caregiving

People who are already working full-time and raising their families, often end up taking shifts, along with other relatives. The situation can go on like this for years. The caregivers become exhausted, physically, emotionally and financially.

Resentment can build, if some of the family caregivers feel they are doing more than their share, while others are not doing their part. Years later, the primary caregivers can get accused of undue influence, if the person who received help gives a larger portion of the estate to the primary caregivers out of gratitude.

Why Congress is Paying Attention to the Challenges of Family Caregiving

Our population is aging. By 2026, the baby boomer generation will start to turn 80 years old. Many people in their eighties need long-term care, either in the home or a facility. The high numbers of baby boomers and the declining birthrates mean there will be more people needing family caregiving and fewer relatives available to provide those services.

Family caregiving takes a massive chunk out of our economy each year. Experts say 40 million people in the United States provide unpaid caregiving services to their adult loved ones, who have limitations in their daily activities. The experts on aging value these services at around $470 billion a year.

Another 3.7 million Americans take care of a disabled child under the age of 18. Some people have to provide caregiving for both an older adult and a child. People in the field estimate that about 6.5 million people in our country fall into this category.

The caregivers face immediate and long-term financial crises, because of the time they devote to the needs of their vulnerable loved ones. In the moment, the caregiver might have to cut back on work hours or leave a paying job to be there for the family member in need. Losing a paycheck and benefits, can put a caregiver into economic hardship. Many caregivers live in poverty in the future, because it was impossible to contribute to retirement savings or the Social Security system during the long years of caregiving.

Congress is working on measures to provide more public resources for family caregivers. The “Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act” contains strategies for state and communities to support caregiving families. Increased assessments and service planning dovetailed with education, supports and respite options can impact financial security and workplace issues of caregivers. The new law centers on both caregivers and people receiving the care.

It is our goal to provide our clients with the highest level of legal services in the areas of Last Will and Testaments, Living Trust, Irrevocable TrustsEstate Planning, Probate, Asset Protection, and complete Business Planning. If you or someone you know needs information on Florida estate planning, please contact us today at 239-418-0169 to schedule your free consultation.

References:

AARP. “Building a Family Caregiving Strategy to Align with the Real Needs of Families.” (accessed October 31, 2019) https://blog.aarp.org/thinking-policy/building-a-family-caregiving-strategy-to-align-with-the-real-needs-of-families

 

New Technology Brings A New Aging Marker: Taking Away the Phone

New Technology Brings A New Aging Marker: Taking Away the Phone: At first, Dr. Z thought his 83-year old mother was simply confused when she called to say she’d forgotten passwords to her accounts. Then she’d say that the programs had stopped working. However, over time, he realized that she was showing early signs of dementia, as reported by Kaiser Health News in the article “The Delicate Issue of Taking Away a Senior’s Smartphone”

With seniors using cellphones, computers and tablets, another area of concern for older adults has emerged. Deteriorating cognitive skills may make it difficult for seniors to use these devices, even before other more classic signs of early dementia appear, like forgetting names or keys.

Determining whether to block access to bank and investment accounts or other online resources may present the same issues, as taking away car keys once did.

This issue reflects the growing use of technology by seniors to allow them to stay in touch with friends and family, join interest groups, visit virtually and do their banking and shopping online.

Some physicians are already adapting to this new digital reality. At Johns Hopkins Medicine, one professor of medicine now asks older patients if they use a computer or smartphone and are having trouble, including forgetting passwords or getting locked out of accounts.

If there’s a notable change in how someone is using technology, the practice now proceeds with a more in-depth cognitive evaluation.

At Rush University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, older adults are bringing up problems with technology, as a non-threating way to introduce their troubles with thinking. Instead of saying they are having memory issues, they say they are having problems with their smartphones or getting programs on their computer to work.

If technology becomes confusing, anything that is not essential should be removed from the smartphone or computer. When safety becomes an issue, such as seniors who are targeted by scammers, family members should counsel the senior against giving out their Social Security or credit card information.

Be cautious about getting someone’s passwords to check on their email or online bank or brokerage accounts. Without consent, it’s a federal crime to use another person’s password to access their accounts. Consent should be granted in writing.

Online shopping is another problem. Gain the person’s permission to unsubscribe from accounts that send emails and remove friends from Facebook. A parental control app blocks use, when the senior is not supervised and also blocks adult content.

For others, the use of a “stored value” card that has a limited amount of money can be used, in place of a credit card. Credit bureaus need to be notified not to open accounts in someone’s name.

Talk with an estate planning attorney to learn how to cope with an adult with cognitive problems and their online life. This is a new area in elder care, and it will become increasingly prevalent, as boomers age.

It is our goal to provide our clients with the highest level of legal services in the areas of Last Will and Testaments, Living Trust, Irrevocable Trusts, Estate Planning, Probate, Asset Protection, and complete Business Planning. If you or someone you know needs information on Florida estate planning, please contact us today at 239-418-0169 to schedule your free consultation.

Reference: Kaiser Health News (September 26, 2019) “The Delicate Issue of Taking Away a Senior’s Smartphone”