Thrown into the Deep End
May 18, 2010
Did you see Michelle Singletary’s column this weekend in the Boston Globe? I like her column, The Color of Money. She writes in a straight-forward, honest manner, with guidance targeted at “regular folks” like myself.
This weekend she wrote about essentially being thrown into the deep end of the pool of elder care. If you read her column, you saw that her feelings, questions, fears, and sense of being overwhelmed and without direction are those very same feelings that most children of seniors (or healthier spouses of seniors) are experiencing every day.
While I can’t make your parent or spouse healthier, and I can’t bring back their memory skills, I can make it easier for you to handle your new caretaking role. The elder law attorney’s job has many aspects – for one, I help elders stretch out their assets to stay at home for as long as possible.
How do I do this? We look at MassHealth benefits and Veterans Benefits as a way of bringing more help into the home. We look at selling the home and building an in-law apartment on a child’s house. We explore setting up a contract between parent and child that allows the child to quit her job and care for her parent but still earn some income. And if nursing home is a possibility, we explore ways to maintain a healthy spouse at home and also explore various methods of safely and legally transferring some assets to children.
But the elder law attorney’s role goes beyond this – my job is also to pull in other professionals who can help you become a better – and more sane – caregiver. I may invite in an Alzheimer’s coach to teach a family how to work with a family member who is changing before their eyes; a geriatric nurse to guide a thoughtful conversation on wishes for end of life care; a geriatric care manager to create and manage a schedule of home health aides – and more.
I can’t get you out of the deep end of the pool. Life takes our parents and spouses in certain directions. But I can teach you how to swim.
More Reasons to Write up a Caregiver Contract
November 13, 2009
What Goes into a Caregiver Contract?
September 21, 2009
Paying Your Children to Care for You? Put it in Writing.
August 30, 2009
Being Paid to Care for Your Parents
January 28, 2009
As their parents have needed increased hands-on care and errand-running, many “Boomers” have been squeezed trying to juggle caring for their parents and performing well at work. Our current economy has produced a mixed blessing for some – lost jobs means time to address their parents’ needs, but without economic security.
One solution is a “caregiver contract.” This is a written agreement between the parents and the adult children, laying out tasks the child will perform and a rate of pay. Set up along with worker’s compensation and the usual payroll deductions, this provides an income stream to the caregiver while giving the parent what most elders want – being cared for by her own family. Only an elder law attorney familiar with the ever-changing rules of Medicaid should draft a caregiver contract, so that it will protect the elder in the event she needs nursing home care in the future. If not done correctly, a caregiving arrangement can result in a later denial of MassHealth nursing home benefits.