Q: What is the difference between an elder law firm that practices Life Care Planning and a traditional elder law firm?
A: As Life Care Planning Law Firms, we offer a holistic, elder-centered solution for families struggling with the demands of an elderly loved one's care. Where traditional elder law firms focus on saving the elder's money for the next generation, our primary goal is to use the elder's money to maximize the elder's quality of life and independence. Because we practice a multi-disciplinary Life Care Planning model, our member firms are uniquely positioned to help elders and their families find, get and pay for good care.
Q: Don't elder law attorneys just work with families when they need to place an elderly relative in a nursing home?
A: Similar to traditional elder law firms, Life Care Planning Law Firms help families make immediate arrangements for long-term care in order to promote an elder's health and safety, handling all the legal work and helping families find and pay for the right care (include Medicaid and other public benefits qualification as needed and desired) without bankrupting the elder. But our member firms offer much more.
First, they offer care coordination and support to families whose elderly loved ones are still living at home or with family. On-staff care coordinators locate and coordinate needed care and community services, offer family education and serve as the elder's advocate. Life Care Planning Law Firms lighten the load for family caregivers, improve the elder's quality of life and can even postpone the need for nursing home care.
Second, while the elder is still living at home or with family, Life Care Planning Law Firms develop a plan to address the myriad of legal, financial, health care, housing, and long-term care issues created by the elder's chronic illness, disability, and functional decline. If and when nursing home care is needed, the family will already have a plan in place to access public benefits as well as to find and pay for needed care. Instead of reacting to crises as they occur, our advanced planning enables elders and their families to avoid the asset protection crisis that occurs when last-minute decisions must be made about their elderly loved one's long-term care.
Third, when the elder is in a residential care facility, our firms will often assign a care coordinator to make regular visits, maintain the elder's relationship with the firm, assess quality of care, and serve as the family's advocate. If good care is not being provided, member firms may intervene in order to resolve problems before injury occurs, thereby offering reassurance to family members -- near and far -- that the elder will enjoy the highest quality of life.