‘Money & Legal’ Posts

Enjoying your golden years

February 14th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

Contrary to conventional belief, retirement is a great time to set new goals that don’t revolve around work and raising kids, but instead revolve around your own personal growth. Living with purpose is something that doesn’t stop when you are older. If anything, purpose becomes even more important for the overall health and well-being of senior citizens. So get ahead and start your goal setting during your golden years. And learn how to pay for it.

Refresments provided.

Speakers
Mary-Alice Cardenas
Doris Bersing
Date/Time
Thursday, February 18, 2016, 5-6:30pm
Location
Mill Valley Recreation Center
180 Camino Alto
Mill Valley, CA 94941
RSVP

Limited seating. Please rsvp by calling 1-800-805-7104 or email us at events@livingwellah.com

Dowload event flyer

Living Well presents: Enjoying your golden years, Thursday, February 18

January 19th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

Contrary to conventional belief, retirement is a great time to set new goals that don’t revolve around work and raising kids, but instead revolve around your own personal growth. Living with purpose is something that doesn’t stop when you are older. If anything, purpose becomes even more important for the overall health and well-being of senior citizens. So get ahead and start your goal setting during your golden years. And learn how to pay for it.

Refresments provided.

Speakers
Mary-Alice Cardenas
Doris Bersing
Date/Time
Thursday, February 18, 2016, 5-6:30pm
Location
Mill Valley Recreation Center
180 Camino Alto
Mill Valley, CA 94941
RSVP

Limited seating. Please rsvp by calling 1-800-805-7104 or email us at events@livingwellah.com

Dowload event flyer

Presentation – Dementia: Legal and Medical Aspects

October 15th, 2015 by Doris Bersing

Elizabeth Krivatsy, Esq. and Elizabeth Landsverk, MD

Dementias of all kinds are wreaking havoc with the lives of individuals and families today. The more you know about the medical and legal repercussions involving the diagnoses of Dementia, and the sooner planning begins, the stronger the safety net we can create for our loved one, ourselves and our families.

Elizabeth Krivatsy, Esq. is an estate planning and elder law attorney, who is passionate about helping people plan for the best possible future, preparing for personal care and financial management during times of incapacity, and choosing their life in retirement. A graduate of the UC Hastings College of the Law, Elizabeth has served clients in the San Francisco Bay Area for 23 years.
www.krivatsylaw.com

Elizabeth Landsverk, MD. Dr. Landsverk has over twenty years of experience in providing medical care to the elderly. She is board-certified in Internal, Geriatric, and Palliative Care Medicine. As a House Calls Geriatrician, she collaborates with local physicians to address the needs of complicated vulnerable elders to alleviate pain, agitation and discomfort. Dr. Landsverk is a graduate of Stanford University and trained at Cambridge Hospital, Harvard University.
www.elderconsult.com

Date/Time
Thursday, November 5, 2015, 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Location
Mill Valley Recreation Center
180 Camino Alto
Mill Valley, CA 94941
RSVP
Limited seating, please call 1-800-805-7104 to reserve a space.

Our Long-Term Care Journey

April 14th, 2015 by Doris Bersing

Aging in PlaceMaking a life-changing decision on a loved one’s long-term care and considering a nursing home or assisted living facility is never easy and there are many hurdles that must be overcome. For many, this may not be necessary as they will receive the care they require in the comfort of their own home, which is certainly the first option for a large percentage of seniors receiving care.

According to an AARP study 89% of those 65 and older would love to age in place for as long as possible, and there are several important benefits of aging at home, like improved health, routine, independence and the familiar setting. If medically and financially possible, there is no place like home. In-home care can be affordable, when limited in services and in number of hours per day.

For low income seniors, there are several programs, like the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, the Cash and Counsel program, or if you or your family member is a US veteran, the VA administration for veterans may cover a variety of in home care services in your state. Services that are typically covered by these programs include, health care, personal care, homemaker care, adult day care, transportation, medical equipment and some minor home remodeling.

For those that prefer a group setting, or home care is not appropriate and/or affordable, and the family feels that a nursing home or assisted living facility would be the be the best fit, obviously there are many emotional issues that need to be dealt with. Often there are conflicting emotions raging, including, guilt, anger, sadness and helplessness, when they are no longer able to provide the care that their loved ones now require.

Another area that needs to be navigated when considering a nursing home, is how to pay the bill, which for many American families is financially out of reach even after saving up for a considerable number of years. The same situation arises with home care services; unless the person has savings, equity in their home, or Long Term care Insurance, cost can be an issue. The federal and state governments provide Medicaid/Medical help if the individual meets all financial and medical eligibility guidelines. There is often a grueling task, companies like Senior Planning Services could help you with the Medicaid application process, or you can address your local Medicaid office, often, with the risk of failure quite high.

Last but no least, there are considerations as far as choosing the right nursing home or assisted living facility for mom or dad, to the right in-home care agency that will take into account all personal, cultural, religious and location-based preferences. This accumulation of stress is enough to inundate any sane person, but for the nearly 65 million heroic individuals providing care in the US for a loved one, this is often the best care option for the senior.Having worked for many years as a nursing home placement coordinator for a NJ-based Medicaid planning company, I’d like to share the personal saga of one of our clients which touched me deeply.

Several months ago I was contacted by a woman living in northern New Jersey. Her mom, who resided in central NJ in Ocean County, was suffering from severe dementia and the daughter wanted her admitted to a nursing home in her own area, up in northern NJ, in Bergen County. In addition to her dementia, the elderly woman also had severe behavioral issues.

The family was in the Medicaid application process and their application was in the pending status. Because of her unique needs, our options were quite limited. We needed a nursing home with a secure unit where the residents could not wander out of the unit, since a wander guard would not have been sufficient for this woman. Dementia patients tend to become so confused and lost in their surroundings, that they will try to leave the premises even when wheelchair bound.

The woman, as we mentioned earlier, also had violent tendencies and would sometimes act disrespectfully, hit other residents and caregivers, and needed a nursing facility that was equipped for these needs. These issues made finding the right facility a nightmare.

When we did find one or two, we were turned down, since our Medicaid status was still pending and not all nursing homes were willing to work with Medicaid-pending applicants.

In the meantime, we found placement for the woman in a nursing home in the Ocean County area which was able to provide all of her needs. I had a good working relationship with this facility and, after some cajoling, they accepted her, confident that the Medicaid application would be approved. It didn’t satisfy the requests of the daughter, though, who wanted mom close by.

When the Medicaid application was subsequently approved, we were successful in transferring the woman to a facility closer to her daughter in Bergen County. We were all very excited that it had worked out well for everybody, at last. The daughter thanked me profusely for the effort I had expended in making it happen.

It was heartbreaking when, days later, the woman passed away at the facility…

Conclusion: You know, as professionals, we try to maintain a certain degree of detachment in order to be better able to assist our clients, but at the end of the day… it’s painful. We do develop relationships with the wonderful people whose long-term care is entrusted to us and when they go so quickly, it’s like losing a friend or relative, in a sense.

In collaboration with Benjamin Lamm, a senior advocate.

Important information when planning your retirement

July 9th, 2014 by Doris Bersing

plate-142741_150What’s the single biggest difference between a successful retirement and an unsuccessful one? It’s planning. Because everyone likes to think of themselves as capable of going on forever, many people don’t start to think about planning for retirement until it’s already on the horizon. The sooner one gets organized, the better. Identifying needs, researching options and saving money can mean that when working life is over, what lies ahead is trouble free.

Health and happiness

Two of the biggest stress factors in working life are money worries and a lack of social opportunity. A well-planned retirement ought to do away with both. Many people who achieve this say that they feel considerably healthier in their later years than they did when they were younger. Reducing stress can significantly lower the risk of heart attacks or strokes, and recent studies have shown that it may also decrease the risk of dementia.

Healthy retired people can enjoy many more wonderful years, so it’s important to choose a home that can meet changing needs. Planning ahead to work around the common disabilities of old age, such as arthritis and muscle loss, means that life doesn’t have to slow down.

Funding retirement

The most important part of developing a practical retirement plan is making sure that it’s financially viable. This can involve any or all of the following:

  • Pension plans – this is the most important means of providing for retirement for most people. Pension plans can vary quite a bit so it’s worth shopping around to be sure of getting the best deal – and, of course, reading the small print.
  • Savings – many people also choose to build up savings. When this forms part of a retirement plan, it’s worth putting them into secure bonds rather than a standard savings account. This will enable them to accumulate more interest.
  • Investments – carefully managed stock and share portfolios can see money grow significantly over lengthy periods of time. They can be sold at an advantageous point close to retirement or can be kept on as a source of income.

The right residence

One of the most rewarding ways to live as a retired person is in a senior community, where everything is designed around older people’s needs and there is ample opportunity to live an active life and make new friends. Sometimes these communities develop naturally in areas where a lot of older people live, but more often the practical choice is to find a formal one. These can come with other advantages such as shared sports facilities, restaurants, and access to handymen, and health and care services. Often a variety of packages are available so residents can pay only for the things they actually want and need.

There are communities like this right across the country, so retirees can choose to move to somewhere they have always wanted to live or can ensure they are close to friends and family. Some such communities have visitor accommodation available at good rates for relatives traveling from a distance.

Choosing the right place to retire is a big decision, but with good planning it can usher in a whole new lease on life.

Help Your Parents Avoid Identity Theft Scams: Phishing

July 15th, 2013 by Doris Bersing
Help Your Parents Avoid Identity Theft Scams: PhishingBy Jonathon Ellison

Help Your Parents Avoid Identity Theft Scams: Phishing

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation due to the ease of stealing someone’s information. It carries less personal risk to a thief to steal a person’s social security number and open credit cards in their name than to rob a bank or invade a home. People can can be targeted in identity theft scams at any age.

Elderly people are especially prone to falling victims to identity theft. They come from a different generation where it was safer to trust family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and even strangers. Often, the people who are not as savvy with modern technology are targets. They do not recognize spam emails that can be used to aid identity theft. They are not aware of the need to protect their computer with a firewall to safely keep information from being stolen from their private files.

Identity thieves make a point of preying on the elderly to obtain the information they need to commit their crimes. They use common scamming tricks like phishing in new digital age packaging.

Phishing

Phishing scams are one of the most dangerous forms of identity theft targeted to seniors. It starts with an official looking message — usually sent through email — that claims to be from a person’s bank, credit card company or some other financial institution.

Phishing emails carry a number of common characteristics, according to Finra.org. These emails will attempt to mimic logos, email addresses and web pages as well as reference the names of real people within the company.

A typical phishing email will include a warning message that the recipient needs to update or verify their account information. The reason given can include changes to certain laws, to prevent their account from being shut down or because a third party accessed their account.

Don’t Click It

The phishing scam target is directed to click a link in the email. The link takes them to a web page where they are directed to enter an account number, password, social security number and other sensitive personal information. If these instructions are followed, this information goes to the scam artist who uses it to steal their identity.

The simplest way to avoiding getting caught in a phishing scam is to simply not reply to a suspicious email, according to TrustyGuides.com. If a person is concerned there is a problem with the account in question, they can contact the financial institution through its website or call its offices directly.

Successful Scams

Identity theft scams can prove profitable if the scam artist can keep it up without getting caught for an extended period. Federal agents recently broke up an identity theft ring in New Jersey that stole more than $200 million in a six-year period while operating scams in at least 28 states, reported NBC News. More than 13 individuals have been arrested so far.

Educate Yourself and Your Elders

There are many places on the Internet with tips and resources for protection against scam artists. The Lifelock Facebook page offers up-to-date scam information so you can help your elderly parents protect themselves. You can read about and learn from other people’s experiences in dealing with identity theft on the fbi.gov website.

It is impossible to put a price on the headaches and heartache caused by identity theft. The best advice for people of any age is to be cautious. Avoid opening suspicious emails or visiting suspicious websites. An ounce of prevention can go a long way to inoculating your loved ones from becoming a victim of identity theft.

 

Life Insurance Conversion to Pay for Long Term Care Services

April 4th, 2013 by Doris Bersing

senior-coupleDavid Kitaen, a Marin County, California resident, and a specialist in long term care insurance, has been lobbying to make this option a reality. The possibility for those who do not have other meas or need an option, to convert their life insurance into long term care insurance to pay for their care as they age and need more assistance.

He addresses specially the home care agencies and say: “…Home Care Agencies- pay attention to this article on Long-Term Care Insurance- it’s a new spin on an old idea that many people wish in hindsight they had taken advantage of at a younger age. It IS important for Home Care Agencies to have EVERY EDGE when they are marketing themselves. There is no reason why your agency can’t become an expert in filing Long-Term Care Insurance claims….read on!