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Caregivers may benefit by having elder law planning in place

It is sometimes difficult to assess when the duties of a primary caregiver must give way to institutional or professional caregiving for a spouse, parent or other loved one. Nearly half of family caregivers nationwide and in Florida who are 75 and older are caring for a spouse or partner, according to a 2015 report. Caregiving by an elderly spouse may go on until the loved one is approaching full incapacity and cannot participate in assisting any longer or where terminal illness is diagnosed. Consultation with an elder law attorney is therefore desirable and may be more effective if it is arranged early enough in one's retirement years. 

When illness interferes with the common plan of a couple to enjoy their twilight years in leisurely retirement, it may be a stressful turn of events. It may be less so if the couple have prepared in advance for this type of health care need. Planning will be more successful when the affected family members are still able to discuss their preferences for future care. This may include discussing financial issues, the desirability of certain facilities and other issues likely to develop.

When the level of work that is needed to care for the loved one becomes too stressful and even affects the caregiver's health, the time for a move will likely have arrived. Planning for long-term care can be done in cooperation with an elder law attorney and other experts when desired. Various options may be available, depending on the facts and whether the family has acted timely enough to provide for choices.

One of the subjects to take up with one's Florida elder law attorney is Medicaid planning. The attorney will discuss the most effective and protective planning in that connection and various other possible actions may be offered, depending on the circumstances. Sometimes, institutionalization may be avoided if there are several family members available to assist in long-term care efforts. The plan devised will be fact intensive and may offer flexibility if started in a sufficiently timely manner.

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