One of the greatest blessings of the holiday season is gathering with friends and loved ones that we don't normally see throughout the year. This special time together also presents a unique opportunity to spot changes in older family members that may indicate a greater need for legal planning for long-term care.
It's not unusual for slight personality or behavior changes to go unnoticed by those who see your loved one on a regular basis. It's like living at home with small children; you don't realize how much they've grown until their clothes no longer fit! The same is true with older relatives who may be changing in subtle, yet concerning ways.
Warning Signs to look for:
What exactly should you be paying attention to as you visit with elderly family and friends? Here's a brief list of warning signs that may indicate your loved one needs additional help around the house or increased medical care:
Neglect of physical appearance or basic hygiene
Neglect of medical needs
Trouble performing routine tasks or chores
Sudden worries about money due to inability to handle affairs
Unsteadiness, clumsiness or recent history of falling
No longer responds to sounds or sudden loud noises
Wearing inappropriate clothing based on the weather
Has trouble answering simple questions
Repeats the same information or asks the same questions during short conversations
If your loved one displays any of the signs above, it's important to address the situation as soon as possible. If you don't feel comfortable going directly to your aging loved one, talk with other family members to see if they also noticed unusual behaviors or warning signs. If your loved one is still able to make decisions for himself/herself, you should discuss your concerns directly with your loved one. It is important to discuss the possibility of increased care, whether it be regular check-ins from family members, moving to assisted living or placement in a nursing home.
Get Help Before Making Long-Term Care Decisions:
If your loved one shows signs that they may need more help, an elder law attorney can assist in ensuring that your loved one is legally and financially prepared for the transition.
As elder law attorneys in Boston, we help to ensure that our clients have the documents that they need in place to allow others to help them when needed, such as a Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, Will, and in some cases trust documents. We also advise the clients on ways to protect as many assets as possible for heirs or a healthy spouse still living at home. Our goal is to help clients make the best possible decisions for the future, providing financial security and peace of mind during an otherwise challenging time.
We hope you have a wonderful and happy holiday season. Senior Solutions, Attorneys at Law, is an elder law and estate planning firm serving the Greater Boston and South Shore of Massachusetts. We have two offices located in Belmont and Hingham, Massachusetts. Please contact us at 617-489-5900 to schedule a consultation.