We live during a very interesting period of our history with regard to age demographics. The baby boomer generation is getting older, and because there were so many people born between 1946 and 1964, there is an unprecedented aging of the population underway at the present time.
There are approximately 10,000 people applying for Social Security each and every day, and the Social Security Administration expects this volume to persist into the foreseeable future.
If you are a baby boomer who is looking toward the future, you would certainly benefit if you were to consult with an elder law attorney. There are various important issues that seniors are facing now, and you can prepare yourself in advance if you work with an elder law attorney to devise a plan for aging.
One very pressing elder law issue is the matter of elder financial abuse. This is a problem that has been swept under the carpet in the past, but people are now taking notice.
For many years there was no definitive research to draw from, but the MetLife Mature Market Institute decided to put the matter under the microscope. They published a study back in 2011, and they estimated annual losses due to instances of elder financial abuse at $2.9 billion.
The study indicated that it was difficult for researchers to estimate the annual losses, because a great many cases are never reported to the authorities. This is in large part because the abusers are family members, friends, or caregivers.
The victims do not want to get the abusers in trouble, and in many cases, they are relying on the perpetrators for help with their day-to-day needs. Since the seniors need the care that they are getting from the abusers, they don’t want to rock the boat, and they wind up paying a price financially.
There are crimes of opportunity and desperation, and there are also crimes of predation. Scam artists and con men often target senior citizens, because they see seniors as easy marks. There are door-to-door scams like bogus home-improvement offers, and there are also scams that are perpetrated over the phone.
Identity theft is also a big problem, and seniors are vulnerable. Predatory types could go through trash cans to find mail, and there are also hackers that try to steal information over the Internet.
If you discuss elder financial abuse with an elder law attorney, you can explore actions that can be taken to mitigate your exposure to abuse. When you take the right steps in advance, you can make things quite difficult for would-be abusers.
Living assistance is another important elder law issue that attorneys are focused on at the present time. Many people think that Medicare will pick up the tab if you ever require nursing home care, but in fact, the program does not pay for living assistance.
If you are recovering from an injury or illness, it will pay for convalescent care for a while, but it will not pay for custodial care.
If you are thinking it is unlikely that you will ever need help with your activities of daily living, take a look at the government run website, LongTermCare.gov. According to the site, seven out of every 10 seniors will someday need help with their day-to-day needs. Many will reside in nursing homes.
Paying out-of-pocket is not a long-term option for most people, because the average annual charge for a private room in a nursing home is over $90,000. People often require multiple years of care, so a significant stay in a nursing home could wipe out everything that you intended to leave to your loved ones.
Elder law attorneys help clients who are looking for solutions. It is possible to take steps that lead to Medicaid eligibility, and this will be part of the plan for many people. Medicaid is a government health insurance program that does pay for long-term care, but it takes careful financial planning to gain eligibility because you cannot qualify if you have significant assets in your own name and you cannot just give your assets away.
Our Firm Can Help
If you would like to discuss these and other important matters with a licensed elder law attorney, our firm would be glad to assist you. In Charlotte, you can call us at (704) 944-3245 to set up a consultation, and our number in Ashland, Kentucky is (606) 324-5516.