Creating a safe home care plan for a loved one with dementia

For many senior citizens, being able to “age in place” and stay in their  home is a really high priority. The obligation to use Medicaid dollars to support aged and disabled individuals in the least restrictive environment has been a cornerstone of federal policy since the Olmstead decision was issued by the Supreme Court in 1999.  In addition to that there is the obligation to utilize “person-centered planning” and to individually tailor the services being provided. The  New Jersey Medicaid Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) program which provides Home and Community based Services (HCBS) is required to develop procedures that will adequately address the needs of the individual so that he or she can be adequately supported in the community environment.

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services issued an interesting “FAQ” on the subject of how to address the individual needs of a Medicaid recipient who has a tendency to “elope,” “wander” or “exit-seek.” While that FAQ is geared to program administrators and policy makers, it seems to me that it provides useful guidance to any of you who are engaged in senior care planning for someone who has this problem. For example: ” Assessing the patterns, frequency, and triggers for unsafe wandering or exit-seeking through direct observation and by talking with the person exhibiting such behaviors, and, when appropriate, their families. •Using this baseline information to develop a person-centered plan to address unsafe wandering or exit-seeking, implementing the plan, and measuring its impact. •Using periodic assessments to update information about an individual’s unsafe wandering or exit-seeking, and adjust the person-centered plan as necessary.”

What I have learned over the years from the thousands of families I have advised is that, in an organic way, they are instinctively engaged in Person-centered service planning for their loved one. They try hard to sustain the activities that the loved one enjoyed and avoid the things that the person loathed. Out of a sense of respect and honor, they try hard to incorporate what has always mattered to their parent.  Yet Elder care planning often needs to deal with new situations and behaviors that present themselves as a result of  underlying dementia. Sometimes it isn’t clear whether the behavior is willful and intentional or is just an erratic problem triggered by unpredictable things as a result of Alzheimers or other dementia. In either case, the caregiver needs to find strategies to keep the person as safe as possible.

Call us for advice on elder care planning legal issues … 732-382-6070

Yeah But Can We Preserve the Millennium Falcon for Chewbacca’s Benefit?

Elder Law has really broken out into mainstream popular culture this year!  There was the first season of Better Call Saul, where the attorney who would be Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad gets into elder law and sues an assisted living facility in New Mexico.  And now, on the heels of the new Star Wars Trilogy coming out, we have a galactic elder law fact pattern with a script spec called Old Solo.  Apparently, Han’s golden years are not so golden, and he needs long-term care and has fallen out with his long-time caregiver, Chewbacca.  Old Solo has issues of caregiver burnout, health care decision-making, ex-spouses, and what setting is the least restrictive (being at home in Corellia with Leia and her new husband Wedge or in a Cloud City assisted living facility–tough call!).  And most importantly, will Han have to sell the Millennium Falcon to pay for his long-term care– and what does the Republic think is fair market value for it?

It may be funny to consider what old age is like in a galaxy far, far, away, but if you are having your own real life elder law issues, contact us!