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A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 22 percent of older adults in the United States experience functional impairment which is characterized by the difficulty to perform daily living activities as well as challenges with concentration or decision making due to emotional, mental, or physical conditions. 

Another recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that functional impairments among individuals age 50 and older are associated with a higher risk of medical cannabis use as well as prescription drug misuse. The author of the study later commented that a link might exist between functional impairments and the misuse of prescription drugs. Given the concern for such a high rate of misuse of prescription drugs among elderly adults with functional impairments, you must know what you can do to help your loved one.

Remember the Aftermath of Drug Abuse is Severe

In the same ways that some elderly drivers prove dangerous behind the wheel, firearms also prove dangerous in the hands of some elderly individuals. One recent study of elderly gun owners found that many had debated placing restrictions on firearm access as they age, even though they often do not have detailed plans for how to implement these restrictions. Because 40% of older Americans report living in a home with a firearm, it’s become more important than ever to address the issue of control among the at-risk elderly. For example, if an elderly individual develops either dementia or depression and has easy access to a firearm, that elderly individual might end up harming themselves. This article reviews some critical advice to remember about gun control and the elderly.

Realizing When Gun Ownership Becomes Too Dangerous

One of the most difficult questions presented by firearm ownership among the elderly is recognizing cognitive and physical signs that a firearm should be taken away from your loved one. The case of cognitive impairment, however, is often a challenge to recognize. Cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s or a mental health disorder are some of the biggest warning signs that you should consider taking a firearm away from the elderly individual. One study even found that over 100 incidents that occurred from 2012 to 2012 involved people with dementia who had used firearms to either kill or injure themselves or others. Besides mental health, there are also several physical signs that an elderly individual should not carry a firearm. For example, an elderly individual might not be able to safely maintain or use a firearm. 

When it comes to creating a trust to protect assets against various predatory efforts including financial elderly abuse, lawsuits, and undue influence, certain attractive trust features can be utilized. These features allow the person who establishes the trust to receive income as well as realize various other advantages. Remember, trusts have various purposes and not all features are a suitable fit for every trust. This article, however, discusses some of the most common asset protection features that are utilized in New York trusts.

# 1 – The Ability to Change Beneficiaries

Fortunately, it’s often possible to make a trust irrevocable while still keeping the ability to change beneficiaries who receive assets under the trust. Being titled irrevocable can often make a trust seem final, but if you can decide who receives trust assets and to what degree, there’s still some freedom to the terms of a trust. A “power of appointment” can be utilized during which a grantor reserves the right to change beneficiaries through an amendment to that individual’s last will and testament. Consequently, it’s possible for a person to both realize the features of asset protection of a trust while still being able to change some features of how assets are distributed.

Many older individuals in the United States depend on Medicare to pay for health care needs. It can be challenging to determine what’s covered under Medicare and how much it costs. To make matters even more complex, there are various changes to the Medicare system each year. For example, at the beginning of 2021, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services issued a final ruling addressing Medicare Part C and Part D. This far-reaching rule is just one of several changes to Medicare. This article reviews some of the other important issues to consider about other Medicare changes that will occur in 2021.

The Four Parts of Medicare

Medicare is divided into four separate categories that pay for distinct health services. This includes:

For many Americans, the phrase “golden years” refers to the period between when one begins retirement and the beginning of age-imposed cognitive and physical limitations. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that the number of adults in this age group who continue to work has been on the increase since the 1990s. The most recent data shows that more than 20% of people age 65 or older are choosing to continue work. This marked an increase of 10% since the mid-1980s. This article reviews some critical details to understand this trend as well as how it intersects with the field of elder law.

Various Advantages Can Be Realized by Continuing to Work

Some particular advantages exist to continue working after retirement, which includes the following:

Medicaid is a primary payment source for various long-term medical care solutions in the United States. In many situations, Medicaid is utilized to pay for residential care facilities. Deciding that one needs to transition to a nursing home, however, is rarely an easy decision and many elderly individuals attempt to stay at home as long as possible. Many senior citizens rely on home-based services to postpone moving into nursing homes. Medicaid offers two types of long-term care: home community-based services and institutional care. States have discretion in regards to whether they should offer home community-based services in addition to institutional care, which has led to significant gaps in services between states.

 While funding for home-based services has not risen to meet demands, these options might change soon. In March 2021, the American Jobs Plan proposed increasing the funds utilized to provide Medicaid long-term care services to more individuals.

The Role of the American Jobs Plan

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a larger than usual number of people adopting pets. After all, stay-at-home orders reduced the chances that people had to interact with others and pets began to play an increasingly more important role as companions. Data compiled from PetPoint reveals that animal welfare organizations throughout the country had a difficult time keeping up with the demand. 

With pets playing a role in a record number of people’s lives, it’s critical to understand the powerful and valuable role that pets can play in the lives of seniors and individuals with disabilities.

# 1 – Reducing Loneliness

Taxes continue even after you retire. Choosing not to pay attention to the possibility of taxes incurred during retirement could substantially lower your standard of living in retirement. To make matters even more complex, some of the common-sense strategies that people utilize to reduce taxes can lead to paying more in retirement and on inheritances. 

This article reviews just one of many strategies that can be utilized to minimize the amount of taxes that you end up paying in retirement.

# 1 – Make the Most of Timing

Many legal scholars and others who are impacted by elder law issues are positively responding to a landmark decision in favor of people who care for their parents at home. This decision has the potential to result in a substantial increase in the number of homes that are transferred to caregivers.

The case in question, A.M. v. Monmouth County Board of Social Services, was decided by New Jersey’s Appellate Division and reaffirmed a New Jersey regulation, which permits older adults to transfer their homes to adult caregiver children without facing Medicaid penalties. The regulation permits the transfer of homes without penalty when an adult child provides care to a parent for a period.

An Influential Victory

The elderly are at risk of financial abuse, and unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the rate of financial abuse. Abusers are known to look for individuals who are particularly vulnerable and factors like death, incapacity, health challenges, and diminished capacity can all lead a person to face such a situation. Data, however, shows that the pandemic has increased the risk of these factors. As a result, it’s critical to understand what financial abuse among the elderly can include as well as what you can do to prevent your elderly loved one from being harmed in this way.

Common Types of Financial Abuse

Some of the most common types of financial abuse to which elderly individuals often fall victim include the following:

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