If you are a person of an age that is considered “senior”, or if you care for or care about such a person, you know that there are many confusing issues that impact the lives of seniors. Having someone with knowledge and experience to help you deal with these issues can bring real peace of mind. Many of the problems that seniors deal with are related to health and medical care; some involve finances; some have to do with government programs; and some are purely legal in scope. For legal issues and, in fact, for many of the other problems as well, you may benefit from the services of an elder law attorney.
Elder law has been growing as a specialized field of practice over the last fifty years, since Medicare was first created in 1965. Elder law attorneys help clients navigate the many Federal, state and local laws, the numerous rules and regulations, and the various programs and institutions specific to older persons:
- Healthcare decisions and advance directives
- Medicaid, Medicare and Medigap options
- Long-term care insurance
- Nursing homes, assisted living and other care options
- Elder housing issues, including reverse mortgages
- Social Security, pension plans and other income
- Guardianship and its alternatives
- Age discrimination
- Elder abuse and neglect
Of all these topics, those dealing with financial matters—from sources of retirement income to ways to pay for medical care—will have to be dealt with by most people, whether planning for their own senior years or caring for elderly loved ones.
Elder law attorneys help their clients in many ways. They provide guidance in understanding the legal aspects of making decisions regarding health care: What is informed consent? What is an advance health care directive and when does a person need one? What is a living will?
Elder law attorneys help their clients understand government programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid: How can these programs help the client? How does one go about getting the most help out of them?
Attorneys specializing in elder law are able to represent their clients’ interests if any problems should arise regarding income from Social Security or pension plans.
The client can rely on an elder law attorney to be an advocate when there are problems regarding nursing home care, assisted living facilities, or other aspects of housing for the elderly.
Elder law attorneys are dedicated to helping seniors stay in control of their lives to the greatest extent possible as they enjoy more years of life.
When should you seek the services of an elder law attorney?
- When you are planning for your own senior years and would like clarification about any aspect of retirement income, healthcare decisions, government programs, or senior legal issues.
- When you are caring for a senior family member and problems arise that you just don’t feel capable of handling on your own.
- When you need the help of an advocate to deal with issues such as age discrimination or elder abuse.
In short, you will benefit from the knowledge and experience of an elder law attorney whenever you have to deal with issues regarding the comfort and self-determination of the elderly. Living longer is a wonderful aspect of modern life, but with our modern longevity come problems that were not encountered by previous generations. Elder law attorneys are available to help.