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Denver Elder Law Blog

Tips for making homes safe for aging parents

Watching your parents age can prove tremendously difficult, and you may find that your own wishes as far as your parents’ long-term care differ from what they want for themselves. For example, you may feel your mom or dad is better off in a residential care facility where she or he has staff members to help get around, prepare food and otherwise care for him or herself. However, your parents may wish to try to remain in their own home for as long as possible, because many older people understandably struggle with giving up some of their independence.

If one of your parents decides he or she wants to stay in her or his own home while aging, there are certain steps you may want to consider taking to make the home environment a safer one. More specifically, if you are trying to make a home safer for your aging parents, consider these steps.

Common misjudgments about Medicaid

Whether you are a baby boomer or a millennial, you may someday need to care for an aging parent. You have probably heard about astronomical prices charged by nursing homes with warm, fuzzy names like "Meadowlark Haven in the Woods" or "Peaceful Sunnybrook Cottage." Home health care also sounds like a luxury beyond your means.  

Your mind fills with "what-ifs" and the future looks bleak until you remember that protective government plans are available to bridge the gaps. With the right information and strategy, you can tame the confusion. You can get off to a good start by banishing common myths about Medicaid.

It's important to be specific about assets when estate planning

When the terms of a will are unclear or the will does not address a specific asset at all, it can leave a Colorado family in disarray as they try to figure out what to do with that piece of property. Many people address things like real estate, stocks and liquid assets in their will, but it is smart to also include hard assets as well. When estate planning, it is prudent not to overlook these important issues.

Hard assets include things such as heirloom jewelry, valuable pieces of furniture, art and more. In many cases, these things have monetary value, but in others, they may just be sentimental. Regardless, it is important to include these things in a will. When thinking about what should happen to a specific asset, it may be useful to first have it appraised. Knowing its true value can prove beneficial if the asset is later sold and the profits shared between heirs. 

Charities and estate planning

Volunteerism and giving are important to many Colorado residents. In fact, upon retirement, many individuals devote their time and energy to serving others. Volunteers can often be found serving in hospitals, schools and other organizations throughout their community. In an effort to continue this legacy of service, some individuals look to estate planning as another way to make an impact.

Perhaps the easiest way to address charitable giving upon one's death is through a will. One or more charities can be included as beneficiaries. The benefit to this form of giving is that it may minimize the tax liability of the estate and thus maximize the estate's value for all heirs.

Last minute estate planning can leave door open for dissention

When faced with one's mortality, each individual reacts in a very personal way. Some Colorado residents become reflective and want to review their history. Others think to the future and want to establish ways in which to mold the future for loved ones. With each of these approaches, the individual may wish to revisit his or her estate planning decisions.

In some instances, this may be a wise decision. If an estate plan has not already been developed, the individual will want to work through the process while there is still time. Additionally, if there have been significant relationship changes such as marriages, divorces, births and/or deaths in the family, there may be a need to update all of the relevant paperwork.

What to do if you suspect financial elder abuse

Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is more prevalent than most people realize. One employee who used to work at the Colorow Care Center in Colorado will stand trial for pushing a resident against a wall. 

Sadly, there is another type of abuse that is just as common but is much harder to discover. Financial abuse happens around the country all the time, and if you discover a loved one has fallen victim, you may be at a loss for what to do next. Whether your parent lives at home or a nursing facility, you should do the following right away if you have concerns about your loved one's well-being. 

Medicaid planning and inheritances

Timing is everything. This is especially true as a Colorado resident considering Medicaid planning. The timing involved in transferring assets, inheriting assets and making purchases can be important factors in estate planning and determining Medicaid eligibility.

Medicaid eligibility requires that the individual have no more than $2,000 in assets. If it becomes necessary for the individual to enter an assisted living or nursing home facility, the cost of this care can quickly drain the individual's and family's assets. Therefore, it is often necessary to plan for the possibility and look ahead to which benefits Medicaid and Medicare can provide.

Frequently asked questions about Medicaid

Medicaid is a federal benefit program that many people in the United States use. Despite the fact that it is a widespread program, many people do not fully understand how to access it, how to apply or who is eligible.

If you have questions about Medicaid, it is important to seek out accurate information to effectively evaluate how the program may fit into your particular situation. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about this program and a short explanation for each:

Planning for the long-term care of your parents

No one likes to think about what is going to happen as their parents grow older, but for most people, doing so is a necessary, if unfortunate, reality. In many cases, the easiest time to begin long-term care planning is early on, when your parents are still relatively sharp and able to clearly express their own wishes and desires.

So, what types of matters might you want to address when discussing long-term care plans for your parents?

Do you know these 3 facts about Medicaid?

Medicaid is a program that helps many elderly people in the United States, and yet there are many myths and misconceptions about it. Before people make any assumptions about Medicaid, they should learn some of the most basic facts.

Here are three important pieces of information that everyone should know in terms of applying for Medicaid or before deciding that they are not eligible.

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