The Move to Assisted Living – Things are Great
March 22, 2010
My grandmother is doing so well at her new assisted living residence. About a week after she moved in, she started to become unhappy. But then she sat down with the director and told her that she was bored. And here is something you don’t see too often – the director listened and did something about it.
Now she is playing Scrabble and other challenging games every day. And here is the “icing on the cake” – the director and her staff have done something we could never get my grandmother to do – she is practicing piano every day. She was a teacher and concert pianist for decades, but in the last 10 years or so, we’ve had to drag her to the piano. She’s inherently lazy and would rather just snooze. Not at Newbridge! Every day she works on her pieces, and the results are evident – her mind is sharper, she is more present, and she is happier. She told my uncle (her brother and confidant) that she couldn’t think of any reason to be unhappy here.
And then there are those painful hips. This weekend I witnessed some things I hadn’t seen in years. My grandmother came out to visit us, and she got herself up and out of the car by herself, with no complaints (highly unusual). Then she made it up the 12 steps to the porch, again without complaint (unheard of). And the best part? Later that afternoon, she went back down those stairs and took a walk. Took a walk! OK, it was just to the next house, but none of us could remember the last time she had been able to do that. The staff at Newbridge deserves all the credit.
Sometimes the Best Thing is to Do Nothing at All
March 15, 2010
Clients came in a few months ago explaining that several years back, the mother had deeded her house into a trust and now she wanted to make a change to the trust. I said that I would review the trust to be sure that such a change would be permitted and would advise them on how to proceed.
As I dug into the trust, it turned out to be quite a doozy. It was poorly drafted. It was clearly put together by someone who didn’t understand the intersection of estate tax planning, Medicaid planning, property law, and fulfilling a mother’s wishes. It took me weeks of research, several pages of notes, and a lot of head-scratching to finally put together a 5-page letter to the client explaining her options for moving forward.
I often say that elder law and special needs planning involve juggling a lot of different balls and that we will never be able to get them all to land in a perfect line. It’s a matter of choosing which of the many issues are most important to you and letting the other ones slide into second place.
In this case, the clients and I reviewed the pros and cons of all of her options. Because of the poor drafting of the original trust, we were very limited in what we could do. If we did A, she would achieve B, but she would lose C. If we did B, we would achieve C, but lose A, and so on. The client weighed all the different things that she had hoped to accomplish and chose the one that was most important to her. And to accomplish that particular goal, the required action was to do nothing.
In the end, she walked out of my office with the same trust document she had when she came in – we didn’t change a thing. But she now has something else – knowledge. She now understands, much better than she did from the attorney who drafted the trust years ago – what will happen to her home if she wants to sell the house and move, what happens if she ever needs nursing home, and who in her family will inherit it after she passes away.
Sometimes, after examining all the angles, you realize that the best thing to do is to do nothing.
Veterans Fair This Saturday in Hull
March 10, 2010
Come out to beautiful Hull this Saturday for a Veterans Health and Wellness Fair. This is being put together by the Hull Board of Health and the Hull Veterans Council, and it is shaping up to be a great event.
There will be blood pressure checks, immunizations, even yoga and reiki! They will also have a skin analyzer machine. There will be education on legal issues and general health matters, as well, and much more.
The event is open to the public – veterans of all ages and non-veterans alike. Refreshments and children’s activities, too!
Taking place at the Memorial Middle School on Saturday, March 13 from 10a – 2p. The school is on Nantasket Ave., behind the L Street playing fields – you can’t miss it.