You might be in your 30s, 40s, 50s or beyond as your parents enter their golden years. Like many adult children in Georgia, you might take on the role of caregiver for an aging parent. If both your mother and father are in good health, your role might be more geared toward helping them execute an estate plan or assisting them with taxes, finances or other elder law issues.
Unfortunately, many older people encounter serious legal problems when someone tries to take advantage of them financially. It is helpful to understand the different categories of elder law and to know where to seek support if a problem arises. Your parent’s well-being, health or safety might be at risk.
Elder law often deals with Medicaid and Medicare issues
Medicaid and Medicare are two programs that might, at some point, become relevant to your aging parent, especially if he or she needs long-term care due to a particular mental or physical health condition. Each program carries separate eligibility requirements. It is good to learn about both, so that you can help your parent determine which application best fits his or her needs.
Discussions regarding power of attorney are also part of elder law
If your parent becomes incapacitated and unable to make decisions on his or her own behalf, it is helpful to have a power of attorney in place, so that you or some other trusted individual can step in as a representative for your parent. This is a common elder law issue. There are several types of power of attorney, such as authority to make financial decisions or medical decisions, and more.
Conservatorship and guardianship
If your parent’s needs merit it, the court might appoint you or someone else to manage his or her financial affairs, which is known as a “conservatorship.” If the court appoints you as a guardian, you have authority to manage all care and elder law issues pertaining to your parent. The more you discuss ahead of time, while your parents are still of sound mind and in relatively good health, the better able to act in accordance with their wishes you might be.
What to do if your parent encounters elder law problems
If you suspect that your parent is receiving substandard care in a nursing home or that someone is taking advantage of him or her financially, etc., a first logical step to take is to further investigate the situation. This might include meeting with nursing home administrators, legal advocates, or, even, local law enforcement officers, if circumstances merit that.
Learning as much as you can about elder law issues ahead of time and knowing that there are many resources available can help you protect your loved one’s assets and ensure that he or she is receiving quality care and services in all aspects.