Friday, November 1, 2013

Everything Elder Law Blog Has Moved to blog.virginiaelderlaw.com

Everything Elder Law blog has merged with our other blog, but the name has stayed the same. It is now located at blog.virginiaelderlaw.com. Please bookmark the new location. Thank you for your continued readership!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

2013 World Alzheimer’s Report Says: Cost of Alzheimer's will Triple


Fairfax Alzheimer'sMore than 35 million people worldwide live with Alzheimer’s today. By 2050, that number is expected to more than triple to 115 million. The 2013 World Alzheimer's Report, titled " Journey of Caring: An Analysis of Long-Term Care for Dementia," forecasts that the cost and burden of caring for people with dementia will approximately triple by 2050 because a cure has not yet been discovered.
 
The World Alzheimer's Report, which was produced by researchers at King’s College in London, identifies areas in which specific actions could lead to improvements in the quality of care for people with dementia and strategies to make the care more affordable.
 
The report reveals that:
 
  • As the world population ages, care provided by family, friends, and community will require much greater support;
  • More attention needs to be paid to maintaining and enhancing quality of life and helping those affected and their families to live well with dementia;
  • Increases in research funding are needed to reenergize the work on dementia prevention, treatment and care;
  • The quality of care in nursing homes should be monitored through the quality of life and satisfaction of residents, in addition to routine inspections, as nursing homes will remain an important component of long-term care;
  • Autonomy and choice should be promoted during all stages of the dementia journey, prioritizing the voices of people with dementia and their caregivers;
  • Health and social care systems should be better integrated and coordinated to meet people’s needs;
  • Caregivers must be adequately trained and systems should be in place to ensure paid and unpaid caregivers are properly valued;
  • Governments need to make dementia a bigger priority.
 
People with Alzheimer's live on average four to eight years after they're diagnosed, but some may live 20 years beyond their initial diagnosis. Do you have a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s? Persons with Alzheimer’s and their families face special legal and financial needs. At the Fairfax and Fredericksburg Medicaid Planning Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C., we are dedicated to easing the financial and emotional burden on those suffering from dementia and their loved ones.  If you have a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, we can help you prepare for your future financial and long-term care needs.  We help protect the family’s hard-earned assets while maintaining your loved one’s comfort, dignity, and quality of life by ensuring eligibility for critical government benefits. Call 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.
 
 

Fredericksburg Elder Law

Estate Planning

Fairfax Elder Law


 

Long-Term Care

Medicaid Asset Protection

 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Neurotrack – Identifying Alzheimer’s Disease 3-4 Years Early


Medicaid PlanningAlzheimer’s is a debilitating neurological disease that continues to elude scientists, researchers, and physicians in terms of the cause, how to detect and diagnose it, and how to treat it.  Elli Kaplan, whose grandparents suffered from Alzheimer’s, founded Neurotrack, an early diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s that can detect symptoms 3-4 years before they appear.

Neurotrack functions as a computer-based memory test that looks at impairments in the hippocampus of the brain, which is the first structure that is impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.  It works as follows: Patients sit in front of a computer screen with an eye-tracking device and view a series of images, some novel and some not novel. Based on how much time a patient spends looking at the novel image versus the image that hasn’t changed, Neurotrack can give you a prognosis.

According to Kaplan, “It is a seemingly simple test that brings together two very complex things: First, a human being’s innate preference for novelty; and second, the discovery, made by Dr. Stuart Zola, that by tracking the way an individual moves their eyes, particularly when viewing objects or images, one is able to diagnose impairments that exist in the brain that might not be diagnosable by even more invasive diagnostic tools.”

What are the advantages of an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, a currently incurable disease? 
  • Finding the right people for clinical trials: One of the biggest problems that pharmaceutical companies face today in terms of developing preventive drugs for Alzheimer’s disease is populating the clinical trials with the right type of people. Neurotrack will help pharmaceutical companies find the right subjects for the trials, so they can be conducted more quickly, and life-saving drugs could get to market much faster.
  • Families have an extra few years to plan financially for Alzheimer’s: The costs of Alzheimers disease are $200 billion today and projected to be in excess of $1 trillion by 2050. Families with loved ones who have Alzheimer’s often spend $10-$12,000 per month for nursing homes in Northern Virginia. An early diagnosis will enable the person with Alzheimer’s and his or her family to proactively meet with a Certified Elder Law Attorney, such as Evan Farr, and plan for future financial and long-term care needs. 
To date, Neurotrack has received $50,000 in state grants from the Georgia Research Alliance. Emory University received approximately $2.3 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Woodruff Foundation to support the scientific research behind Neurotrack’s diagnostic tests. The Atlanta-based startup, which launched over the summer, is currently raising a seed round of $1.5 million to $2.5 million from strategic and institutional investors.
 
Do you have a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s? Persons with Alzheimer’s and their families face special legal and financial needs. At The Fairfax and Fredericksburg Medicaid Asset Protection Planning Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C., we are dedicated to easing the financial and emotional burden on those suffering from Alzheimer’s and their loved ones.  If you have a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, we can help you prepare for your future and for your loved ones.  We help protect the family’s hard-earned assets while maintaining your loved one’s comfort, dignity, and quality of life by ensuring eligibility for critical government benefits. Call 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a complimentary consultation.
 

Long-Term Care

Medicaid Planning

Anti-Psychotic Medications are Being Overused


The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has raised concerns about practitioners overprescribing and overusing anti-psychotic medications for seniors with dementia, children with behavioral problems and/or ADHD symptoms, or adults suffering from insomnia.

Anti-psychotic medications include drugs traditionally used for conditions such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. Recently, they have been more widely used for patients ranging from unruly nursing home residents to children with aggressive behaviors or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. That's despite growing concerns about misuse and side effects.

The concern is that, in many cases when misused, these medications actually cause the problem to get worse or even cause other issues and adverse side effects. In fact, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) recently launched a campaign called “Choose Wisely,” to raise awareness and spread the message that anti-psychotic medications should not be the first course of treatment. The group also cautions against using the medications without full evaluations and ongoing monitoring or using them in combinations of two or more, without trying several single medications first.

According to USA Today, “it's questionable for practitioners to use anti-psychotic drugs as routine or first-choice treatments for:
  • The behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. This is a common practice in nursing homes. But side effects can include confusion, sedation and hastened death;
  • Children and teens with any condition other than a psychotic disorder. Use in children has risen rapidly, especially among poor and minority children, despite research linking the medications to weight gain, cardiovascular changes and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes;
  • Adult insomnia. There's inadequate evidence they work for the sleeping problem.”
Additional efforts are underway. Another campaign to reduce anti-psychotic use in nursing homes by a national coalition of care providers, consumers and government agencies led to a 9% drop in the first year, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently reported.
 
At the Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C., we are dedicated to helping protect seniors and individuals with special needs by preserving dignity, quality of life, and financial security. If you have not done Long-Term Care Planning, Estate Planning or Incapacity Planning (or had your Planning documents reviewed in the past several years), or if you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, call us at 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.
 

Long-Term Care

Medicaid Asset Protection


Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Long-Term Care (LTC) Commission issues final report, providing Congress with a detailed picture of challenges and potential


The Long-Term Care (LTC) Commission has issued its full report to Congress this week. The report provides a detailed overview of long-term care servicing and financing issues facing Americans.  With little time and in today's politically charged environment, the 114-page document provides an in-depth assessment of challenges facing the current U.S. long-term care system and offers a broad array of potential solutions.

The recommendations in the report were based on public comments and hearings, and the 15 members' expertise in the field. They include:
  • Elimination of Medicare's three-night hospital inpatient requirement to qualify for post-acute coverage;
  • More public resources to speed development and implementation of LTC-specific health information technology;
  • Expansion of “No Wrong Door” programs, which are meant to ensure that individuals end up in the most appropriate care setting no matter where they enter the LTC system;
  • Creation of a national advisory committee to continue this work. The entire commission acknowledged that it faced enormous time constraints, and its report is not comprehensive enough to serve as a definitive blueprint for reform, so a national advisory committee should be created.
Those who are anticipating significant changes from the report findings or a recommendation for a new program to address long-term care may be disappointed.  Click here to access the commission’s complete recommendations.

We here at the Fairfax and Frederickburg Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. believe that with the rising costs and growing need for long-term care, Medicaid Asset Protection Planning is one of the best ways to provide for your future long-term care needs. Call 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a free consultation. We can meet with you, assess your financial situation, and determine strategies for your long-term care plan.
 
 

Long-Term Care

Medicaid Asset Protection

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sticker Shock: What Long-Term Care Costs


Long-Term CareThere are few sticker shocks that are as bracing as the price of long-term care. Who knew that hiring someone to help with the simplest activities, such as bathing, toilet use, dressing, eating and moving, could cost so much? Whether recovering from surgery or a stroke or suffering from a debilitating disease such as Parkinson’s, skilled help is costly and the prices keep increasing.

A 2013 report by Genworth Financial estimates that the national median daily cost of a private room in a nursing home is  $230 a day (nearly $7,000 a month), an increase of 3.6 percent over 2012. Sharing that room is only $27 less a day, according to the report.  In 2008 the median annual rate for a private nursing home room was $67,525, compared with the 2013 median annual rate of $83,950. This means that Americans can expect to pay approximately $16,425 more per year today for a nursing home than they had to pay in 2008. In Northern Virginia, the cost of a Nursing Home can range from $10,000-$12,000 a month, which equates to a whopping $120,000 to $144,000 a year.

Nearly 730,000 Americans live in assisted-living facilities. The average resident of an assisted-living facility stays only two years, entering at the age of 87. For these residents, who need less care, an assisted-living facility’s median national daily cost is $3,450 a month, an increase of 4.55 percent since 2012. Those able to remain in their homes will pay a median national wage of $21 an hour for a licensed home health aide or $19 an hour for a helper.

In the past, retirees typically relied on their pensions to help defray the costs of long-term care and were often able to sell their homes for a healthy sum, providing the means to pay for institutional care, while those with more limited means would rely on Medicaid. But the stock market crash of 2008 diminished the value of many nest eggs, and the housing market has not fully recovered in some regions. Preparing for the cost of long-term care is now a concern for many aging Americans, whose money and hard-earned assets would run out quickly if they tried to pay for long-term care out-of-pocket.

With 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day for the next 19 years, the issue of how to pay for long-term care is more pressing than ever. Do you have a loved one who is in a nursing home or nearing the need for nursing home care? Are you looking to plan ahead for yourself in the event nursing home care is needed in the future? Life Care Planning and Medicaid Asset Protection is the process of protecting assets from having to be spent down in connection with entry into a nursing home, while also helping ensure that you or your loved one get the best possible care and maintain the highest possible quality of life, whether at home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home. Learn more at The Fairfax and Fredericksburg Medicaid Asset Protection Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. website. Call 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.
P.S. We now have an office in Downtown Fredericksburg, VA. Please call us at 1-800-399-FARR to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation at our new second location!

Fredericksburg Elder Law


Estate Planning


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Estate Planning for Unmarried, Cohabitating Couples


Many people live with their significant other, but for any number of reasons, choose not to get married.  Even though cohabitation may be legal, unmarried cohabitants face unique estate planning challenges regarding incapacity, inheritance, and estate taxation. Estate planning is especially important for people in this situation, if they expect their significant other to inherit property from them upon their death.

What are some of the challenges cohabitating couples face (without estate planning in place)?
  • Unlike their married counterparts, unmarried cohabitants will not be able to make fundamental health and financial decisions for one another in the event of incapacity.
  • Absent proper legal planning, state laws that determine the distribution of assets of a person who dies without an estate plan will leave nothing to the surviving cohabitant.
  • The unlimited marital deduction is an unlimited deduction for estate (and gift) tax purposes, but only for transfers between spouses.
  • It is vital that couples who elect to cohabitate obtain expert legal counsel to minimize or eliminate these adverse results.
  • LGBT cohabitating couples face additional legal hurdles when it comes to estate planning. Read more about them here and follow our blog for post-DOMA updates.
     
Without proper estate planning - and depending on how assets are titled - an unmarried partner could receive nothing and even potentially be forced out of the home the couple may have shared for years.  This can be a very unpleasant surprise for people who have planned their life together, but chose not to get married.

It is highly recommended that people in this situation meet with a Certified Elder Law Attorney, such as Evan H. Farr, to explore their estate planning options to avoid unwanted consequences when one partner passes away.  It's crucial that people don't assume that their partner will be "taken care of" by other family members or heirs. 

Estate planning strategies such as those employed by the Fairfax Estate Planning Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. are extremely valuable techniques for everyone, single or married. Most people have worked their entire life to accumulate the property that they own.  Everyone needs the peace of mind that comes with making sure that their finances are taken care of if they become incapacitated, that decisions about health care are carried out the way they’d like even if they’re not able to make them, and that their children and other heirs are taken care of when that time eventually comes. If you haven’t started your estate planning or would like to update your documents, call 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.

P.S. We now have an office in Downtown Fredericksburg, VA. Please call us at 1-800-399-FARR to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation at our new second location!

Fredericksburg Elder Law

Estate Planning