Bringing in a Third-Party to Resolve Eldercare Disputes

Elder care encompasses a wide-range of issues, from day-to-day lifestyle concerns to potential long-term care moves. The issues progress over time for most families. They begin with family questions about whether a senior should continue driving, for example, and advance to consideration of moving into an assisted-living home or even a skilled nursing facility is prudent.

One common theme in all of these issues is disagreement. For example, several adult children may disagree as to whether a senior should pursue alternative living arrangements or whether funds should be spent on at-home care. Or perhaps all the children are in agreement but the parent is steadfast in their belief that they do not need extra help. The problem is usually more pressing when the senior is suffering from any form of cognitive challenges–like Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

Fortunately, more and more families are coming to appreciate the crucial role that a third-party can play in these situations. New York elder law attorneys often provide critical information which settle issues concerning caregiving, living arrangements, estate planning, inheritances, and similar facets of the aging process.

The reason why support on these issues is growing in demand is self-evident: demographics. Census data explains that the fastest growing segment of the population is those over 85 years of age. Federal data also suggests that around 50% of those seniors have some form of cognitive challenges–there is a spectrum of dementias and severities of each.

At the end of the day, when deadlocked about various elder care concerns, families are often best-served by bringing in an outsider, such as a legal professional. The third-party is not there to make the decision but to share specific information about financial and legal realities and provide a logical environment for all involved parties to share their perspective. It is not uncommon for families to get into a rut when discussing these issues again and again over the dinner table. Changes of opinion or perspective are rare. Yet, when more information is provided and the setting for the discussion changes, then the chance to reach common grounds grows exponentially.

The benefit of having a legal professional act as the third-party is that the elder law attorney can then work to put prudent steps in place so that the family wishes are actually carried out. For example, health care proxy wishes can be solidified in legal documents and family assets can be protected from possible long-term care costs with a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust.

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