Warner elder law attorney Catherine Jacobs routinely gets calls from panicky adult children who notice signs of physical and mental health decline in their aging parents and aren’t quite sure what to do.
These signs can include unexplained dents on cars, a once-tidy home not so orderly, difficulty navigating stairs and challenges following a well-known recipe, among others. These observations can toss adult children into crisis mode and leave them with plenty of concerns and questions about next steps, available resources and funding, home vs. community care options and much more.
As adult children prepare to head home for Thanksgiving, Jacobs talked with WOOD TV about the signs of physical and mental health decline they should look for in their aging parents and what to do if they notice these changes.
“Elder care can be very complex and confusing,” Jacobs said. “Often, we get called in a crisis situation, when someone is about to be discharged from the hospital or when a family gets together for a holiday and the kids notice a decline in one of their parents.
“While we can certainly respond in the moment, we prefer recommending people start long-range planning before it reaches a crisis situation. We can connect people with the right care management resources so they can stay at home longer and maximize their dollars.”
According to Jacobs, an elder law consultation is a good place to start. She and her team can tailor a meeting to the specific needs of those involved, such as:
- Community resources – Jacobs can help families assess needs and risks. If someone has developed mobility issues and can no longer go up and down the stairs to their basement laundry, for example, it doesn’t mean they need to go to a nursing home. Jacobs might recommend laundry services – or meal prep or bathing or cleaning, whatever is needed.
- PACE®, or Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly – Jacobs is particularly fond of PACE, which works to provide care and services people need to stay in their homes longer and avoid nursing home placement. She said it’s a particularly good choice if one spouse is serving as caregiver and needs a break since it offers a day program that enables one spouse to take a breather while ensuring the other spouse is being cared for. Additionally, the extra eyes of doctors, nurses and caregivers can allow for quicker identification of potential health issues.
- Long-term care needs – Jacobs can also help with long-term planning issues before they reach crisis level. She works with individuals or couples to look six months to a year or more out to help them prepare for potential health issues, such as selling a two-story home for a ranch. She can help with advance financial planning to set up trusts or protect assets prior to a nursing home stay.
Watch Jacobs’ full WOOD TV interview here.
By providing discerning and proactive legal advice, Warner Norcross + Judd LLP builds a better partnership with our clients. One of Michigan’s largest law firms, we’re focused on providing the best legal solutions and exceptional client service to organizations throughout the world. Connect with us on wnj.com, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.
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