Tuesday, November 29, 2016

5 Reasons Elderly Adults Should Know Their Family Health History

This week’s Elder Care article was written by Frank L. Henderson, Owner of Heart of the Carolinas Homecare in Mauldin, South Carolina.  Mr. Henderson is a Partner member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance.


5 Reasons Elderly Adults Should Know Their Family Health History



Understanding your family heritage, traditions, and culture are important because they give you an idea of where you come from and what family members before you have done to celebrate holidays. Knowing your health history is also important because it gives you an idea of what health problems you, your elderly parent, and other family members are at risk for. Your family history does not only include any illnesses or health problems your current relatives have, but also those that ancient ancestors have developed.


As your parent gets older, they are at risk for developing a number of health problems. Knowing what health issues they may develop will help their doctor make more efficient diagnoses. If your loved one still is unsure of what information their family health history holds, here are five reasons they should find out.


1.    Understand the risks


By doing a little digging to find out of what health challenges their ancestors have suffered from, the elder will have a better idea of what they have an increased chance of developing. Knowing this information will also give the senior more motivation to take preventative measures against the illness.


2.    Makes the doctor appointments quicker


Especially when attending an appointment with a new doctor, there will most likely be a number of forms that need to be filled out in order to get a better idea of what medical conditions the senior is at risk for. By having a formal family health history recorded, this information will be readily available when needed. This will free up a great deal of time filling out a stack of paperwork at the appointment.


3.     Allergies are easier to diagnose


From being gluten or lactose intolerant to being allergic to certain ingredients in medications, pinpointing whether or not the elder is suffering from an allergic reaction can be a difficult task. But by discovering if there is an allergy in the elder’s family, they will have a better chance of finding out if they are allergic to the same thing their ancestors were.


4.      Discover any dangerous behaviors that run in the family


Does alcoholism or drug abuse run in the family? If so, you and the elder have a higher chance of developing the same unhealthy behaviors compared to those who do not have a family history of it.


5.        Determine if psychological disorders are present in the family history


Aside from finding out what physical ailments you should be concerned by, psychological disorders can also be discovered through family health history research.


Finding all of the information needed for the senior’s family health history can be difficult to do alone. Yet, with the help of a senior care provider, they will be able to get a better idea of what conditions they may be at risk for.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this Elder Care Matter or with any Elder Care / Senior Care issue, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.


  1. ElderCareMatters.com

  2. ElderCareMattersBlog.com

  3. ElderCareWebsites.com

  4. ElderCareAnswers.us

  5. ElderCareArticles.us

  6. ElderCareProfessionals.us

  7. ElderLawAttorneys.us

  8. EstatePlanningAttorneys.us

  9. FindDailyMoneyManagers.net

  10. FindElderCareMediators.net

  11. FindElderLawAttorneys.net

  12. FindEstatePlanningAttorneys.net

  13. FindGeriatricCareManagers.net

  14. FindHomeCareProviders.net

  15. FindLongTermCareInsurance.net

  16. FindMedicaidAttorneys.net

  17. FindProbateAttorneys.net

  18. FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net

  19. FindSeniorMoveManagers.net

  20. FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net

  21. FindVAAccreditedAttorneys.net

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5 Reasons Elderly Adults Should Know Their Family Health History

Monday, November 28, 2016

Who may act as an agent under a Power of Attorney?

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A discusses the importance of selecting an Agent under Power of Attorney


Question:  Who may act as an agent under a Power of Attorney?


Answer: In general, an agent, or attorney in fact, may be anyone who is legally competent and over the age of majority.  Most individuals select a close family member such as a spouse, sibling or adult child.  However, any person such as a friend or a professional with an outstanding reputation for honesty would be ideal.  You may appoint multiple agents to serve either simultaneously or separately.  Appointing more than one agent to serve simultaneously can be problematic because if any one of the agents is unavailable to sign, action may be delayed.  Confusion and disagreement between simultaneous agents can also lead to inaction.  It is usually more prudent to appoint one individual as the primary agent and nominate additional individuals to serve as alternate agents if your first choice is unwilling or unable to serve.


Today’s Answer was provided by Nancy Burner, Esq., in East Setauket, New York.  Attorney Burner is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.



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Who may act as an agent under a Power of Attorney?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Part B Premium Will Rise Slightly for Most Medicare Beneficiaries in 2017

This week’s Elder Care article was written by Chad R. Oldham, Esq., from the Oldham Law Firm in Jonesboro, Arkansas.  Attorney Oldham is a Partner member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance.


Medicare Part B Premium Will Rise Slightly for Most Beneficiaries in 2017



The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has announced the Medicare premiums, deductibles, and coinsurances for 2017. After holding steady at $104.90 a month for four years, the standard Medicare Part B premium that most recipients pay will rise 4 percent to about $109 a month.  However, approximately 30 percent of beneficiaries will see their Part B premium rise from $121.80 to $134 a month, a 10 percent increase.  Meanwhile, all beneficaries will face a higher Part B deductible, which will go from the current $166 to $183 in 2017.


The reason for the two different Part B premiums is that about 70 percent of beneficiaries are protected from any increase in premiums when Social Security benefits remain stagnant, as has been the case for the last several years. Medicare beneficiaries who are unprotected from a premium rise include those enrolled in Medicare but who are not yet receiving Social Security, new Medicare beneficiaries, seniors earning more than $85,000 a year, and “dual eligibles” who receive both Medicare and Medicaid benefits.


For beneficiaries receiving skilled care in a nursing home, Medicare’s coinsurance for days 21-100 will inch up from $161 to $164.50.  Medicare coverage ends after day 100.


Here are all the new Medicare payment figures:


  • Basic Part B premium: $109/month (was $104.90)

  • Part B premium for those not protected: $134 (was $121.80)

  • Part B deductible: $183 (was $166)

  • Part A deductible: $1,316 (was $1,288)

  • Co-payment for hospital stay days 61-90: $329/day (was $322)

  • Co-payment for hospital stay days 91 and beyond: $658/day (was $644)

  • Skilled nursing facility co-payment, days 21-100: $164.50/day (was $161)

So-called “Medigap” policies can cover some of these costs.


Higher-income beneficiaries will pay higher Part B premiums:


  • Individuals with annual incomes between $85,000 and $107,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $170,000 and $214,000 will pay a monthly premium of $187.50 (was $170.50).

  • Individuals with annual incomes between $107,000 and $160,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $214,000 and $320,000 will pay a monthly premium of $267.90 (was $243.60).

  • Individuals with annual incomes between $160,000 and $214,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $320,000 and $428,000 will pay a monthly premium of $348.30 (was $316.70).

  • Individuals with annual incomes of $214,000 or more and married couples with annual incomes of $428,000 or more will pay a monthly premium of $428.60 (was $389.80).

Rates differ for beneficiaries who are married but file a separate tax return from their spouse:


  • Those with incomes between $85,000 and $129,000 will pay a monthly premium of $348.30 (was $316.70).

  • Those with incomes greater than $129,000 will pay a monthly premium of $428.60 (was $389.80).

The Social Security Administration uses the income reported two years ago to determine a Part B beneficiary’s premiums. So the income reported on a beneficiary’s 2015 tax return is used to determine whether the beneficiary must pay a higher monthly Part B premium in 2017. Income is calculated by taking a beneficiary’s adjusted gross income and adding back in some normally excluded income, such as tax-exempt interest, U.S. savings bond interest used to pay tuition, and certain income from foreign sources. This is called modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). If a beneficiary’s MAGI decreased significantly in the past two years, she may request that information from more recent years be used to calculate the premium.


Those who enroll in Medicare Advantage plans may have different cost-sharing arrangements.  The average Medicare Advantage premium is expected to decrease slightly, from $32.60 on average in 2016 to $31.40 in 2017.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this Elder Care Matter or with any Elder Care / Senior Care issue, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.


  1. ElderCareMatters.com

  2. ElderCareMattersBlog.com

  3. ElderCareWebsites.com

  4. ElderCareAnswers.us

  5. ElderCareArticles.us

  6. ElderCareProfessionals.us

  7. ElderLawAttorneys.us

  8. EstatePlanningAttorneys.us

  9. FindDailyMoneyManagers.net

  10. FindElderCareMediators.net

  11. FindElderLawAttorneys.net

  12. FindEstatePlanningAttorneys.net

  13. FindGeriatricCareManagers.net

  14. FindHomeCareProviders.net

  15. FindLongTermCareInsurance.net

  16. FindMedicaidAttorneys.net

  17. FindProbateAttorneys.net

  18. FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net

  19. FindSeniorMoveManagers.net

  20. FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net

  21. FindVAAccreditedAttorneys.net

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Part B Premium Will Rise Slightly for Most Medicare Beneficiaries in 2017

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

If a veteran is well can the spouse get VA Aid and Attendance benefits to help with home or assisted living care?

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A discusses VA benefits


Question: If a veteran is well can the spouse get VA Aid and Attendance benefits to help with home or assisted living care?


Answer:  The short answer is no. While the Veteran is living the claim is technically his and based on his health. However there is a very narrow sort of exception that can help a lot of families.


If the Veteran is over 65 he is considered “disabled” by definition and he might qualify for the base pension amount if the combined income of the husband and wife is below $1380 per month. With SS benefits and a small pension few couple’s combined monthly incomes are that low. Here’s where the Aid and Attendance application comes into play because the couple’s income is computed AFTER all unreimbursed reoccurring medical expenses. So say a couple has a monthly income of $3500 with private-in-home care costs of $2500 per month. Medicare premiums costs the couple $190 per month and other non-reimbursed medical expenses are $310 per month. What is left over for the Veteran and Spouse to live on is only $500 per month. If their non-exempt assets are low enough the couple will qualify for VA assistance. A home, one car and household goods are exempt assets. Technically the assistance would come from the Low Income Pension program and could be over $12,000 per year in this example. In 2010 the max allowed by the Low Income Pension program was $1291 per month or $15,493 per year for a veteran with a dependent spouse. These amounts change slightly from time to time.


In order for the Spouse’s assisted living or care expenses to be approved medical expenses, the Spouse must be examined by a doctor and Form 21-2680 must be filled out by the doctor and turned in with the Examination for Housebound Status or Permanent Need for Regular Aid and Attendance application Form 21-2680 with supporting documentation on the unreimbursed medical expenses.


If you call the VA about potential benefits you will be asked about the amount of your combined household income and if your combined income is above the maximum limit the VA will likely tell you that you are not eligible for any benefits. However because of the above referenced deductions you and your spouse are eligible!


A couple where one spouse is highly likely to enter a nursing home might be better served meeting with an elder law attorney to determine if they can qualify for Medicaid.


Working with a certified VA attorney is a good idea.


Today’s Answer was provided by Linda Farron Knapp, Esq., in Barnwell, South Carolina.  Attorney Knapp is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.



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If a veteran is well can the spouse get VA Aid and Attendance benefits to help with home or assisted living care?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What can health care providers charge me to get copies of my medical records?

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A discusses what health care providers can charge you for copies of your medical records


Question: Are there limits to how much I can be charged by health care providers to get copies of my medical records?


Answer: In Virginia when a patient requests a copy of his or her own records, a “reasonable cost-based fee, which shall include only the cost of supplies for and labor of copying the requested information, and postage” shall be charged. Code of Virginia § 32.1-127.1:03 subsection J.


If your Attorney or others request your medical records, costs for copying and mailing are limited to 50¢ per page for each page up to 50 pages and 25¢ per page for the remainder, plus all postage and shipping costs and a search and handling fee not to exceed $10. Copies shall be provided within 15 days of such request. Code of Virginia § 8.01-413.


Today’s Answer was provided by Sheri R. Abrams, Esq., in Oakton, Virginia.  Attorney Abrams is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.



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What can health care providers charge me to get copies of my medical records?

Friday, October 14, 2016

What are the Formal Requirements for a Will?

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A discusses the formal requirements for a Will


Question: What are the Formal Requirements for a Will?


Answer: A will is a legal written declaration of a person’s intention for the disposition of his or her property after his or her death. The requirements to make a will are different in each state. In Georgia, you need the following: – You, the maker of the will, must be at least 14 years old. – You must be of sufficient mind and memory to realize you are making a will disposing of your property. – You must know what property you own and who your beneficiaries are. – The will must be in writing. – The will must be signed by the maker of the will and witnesses by at least two witnesses in the special manner provided by law. These witnesses should not be persons who will receive property under your will. – The signing of the will must obey certain technical formalities. – You cannot write your will out on a piece of paper and sign it. This is called a hollographic will and it is not recognized in Georgia. If you try to take short cuts like this one, the probate court may treat you as having died without a will.


Today’s Answer was provided by Michelle Wilson, Esq., Founding Partner of  Wilson Legal in Cumming, Georgia.  Attorney Wilson is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.



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What are the Formal Requirements for a Will?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

“SNF” Doesn’t Stand for “Sunday Night Football” When Talking About Medicare and Medicaid

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A discusses an issue that may financially impact what you pay for long term care


Question: What does the acronym “SNF” stand for when talking about Medicaid and Medicaid?


Answer: Can you believe that the average cost for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility is nearly $42,000 a year in our country?


These long-term-care costs could knock even Rocky out of the ring.


With many Americans hitting retirement age, they may be concerned about how to plan for future financial needs. While there’s a lot of literature available about retirement saving, many seniors don’t accurately measure the significant cost of post-retirement medical care. They simply expect Medicare to cover the costs. However, Medicare is very strict as to the types of long-term care it covers. The program only covers stays in skilled nursing facilities and hospice care under certain strict circumstances.


The Deseret News recently published the article, “How to cover the cost of long-term care,” which reported that for skilled nursing facility (“SNF”) coverage a beneficiary is required to be admitted to a hospital for at least three days, then discharged with a condition that requires skilled nursing level care.


Medicare will cover all of the expense for the first 20 days of the stay. The program then charges a $161 co-pay for every day up to 100 days. Once a patient reaches 100 days, he or she must cover the entire cost after the initially covered 100 days. But if he or she is out of an SNF for more than 60 days, the coverage resets and they can be admitted for another 100 days after a three-day hospital admission. Simple, right?


Medicare covers most types of hospice coverage when a patient has received a terminal illness diagnosis and is not projected to live more than six months. This will encompass the patient’s medication, support services, and services such as grief counseling. Medicare will also pay for short-term hospital stays and inpatient care for caregiver respite. In addition to Medicare, the federal government also provides some coverage through Veterans Affairs (VA). But unlike Medicare and the VA, Medicaid can assist those seniors who qualify with most types of long-term care.


Medicaid is administered by the states, so the benefits and eligibility will vary. However, most of these programs are given incentives for administering alternative programs that let seniors stay at home or with a family member. If the beneficiary qualifies, family members providing their care may be certified as providers and reimbursed for their efforts by Medicaid.


One option for the proactive is purchasing long-term care insurance to cover the costs. However, if that coverage is too expensive because you’re late in buying a policy or you have pre-existing health issues, you should look at other options like Medicaid. If you go that route, you may need to transfer assets and income to trusts or family members. Speak with a competent elder law attorney before you make any moves.


Without a doubt, long-term medical care costs may be an issue for many in retirement. Start to plan early so you’re prepared.


Today’s Answer was provided by Patrick C. Smith, Jr., Esq., CELA, Founding Partner of  The Smith Law Firm P.C. in Augusta, Georgia.  Attorney Smith is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.



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“SNF” Doesn’t Stand for “Sunday Night Football” When Talking About Medicare and Medicaid