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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Care Management / Ten Warning Signs Your Senior Loved One May Need Help

Ten Warning Signs Your Senior Loved One May Need Help

For many Americans, it can be difficult to determine when a senior loved one needs help.

Has your family member:

  • Changed eating habits, has no appetite, or missed meals
  • Neglected his or her personal hygiene
  • Neglected his or her home so it is not as clean or sanitary as usual
  • Exhibited inappropriate behavior by being unusually loud or quiet, paranoid, agitated, or making phone calls at all hours
  • Changed relationship patterns with friends and loved ones
  • Had physical problems, weakness, forgetfulness, or possible misuse of alcohol or prescribed medications, or is forgetting to take medications
  • Decreased or stopped participating in activities that were previously important
  • Exhibited forgetfulness resulting in unopened mail, piling newspapers, not filling his or her prescriptions, or missed appointments
  • Mishandled finances such as not paying bills, losing money, paying bills twice or more, or hiding money
  • Made unusual purchases such as buying more than one magazine subscription of the same magazine, entered an unusual amount of contests, or increased the usage of purchases from television advertisements

If your loved one exhibits one or more of the behaviors listed below, it may indicate that action should be taken. You should contact the senior’s primary care physician and schedule an appointment to discuss the changes you have observed. It would also be a good time to consult with an elder law attorney to ensure that your loved one has a long-term care plan in place.

The first step in preparing a long-term care plan involves reviewing the senior’s estate plan. If your loved one does not have a power of attorney and advance medical directive in place, now is the time to complete this important task. If you wait too long, your loved one may no longer have capacity to complete their estate planning and require you to obtain a guardianship through the court system in order to assist them with their on-going needs.

The second step in creating a long-term care plan involves discussing the senior’s current living situation and determining whether it will remain a safe situation for that senior. If it is not a safe situation, you should determine whether the senior requires some in-home care or whether it would be better for them to move into an assisted living community or a nursing home.

Finally, the long-term plan must include a determination on how the senior can pay for the help they need without exhausting their assets too quickly. An elder law attorney will help you decide whether Medicare, Veteran’s benefits, Medicaid, or other benefits might be available to the senior and how to properly apply for those benefits.

One thing to remember is that you should not wait too long to prepare a long-term care plan with your loved one. The earlier that planning takes place, the easier things will be when a crisis occurs. Proper planning prior makes all the difference.

This blog post is not intended to provide legal counsel or to be a substitute for legal counsel. We assume no responsibility for any errors, omissions or any damage resulting from the use of this information.

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