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Denver Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Answering ‘When can I go home?’ after a move to assisted living

With advancing age comes a time when a loved one needs more care. The death of a spouse may trigger a realization that Mom or Dad cannot live alone, the stairs may be just too steep or the house just too much. Signs of memory loss may be easier to identify, such as forgotten food moldering, a weekly pill case sitting full or money missing from an account without explanation.

The process to identify a care facility, get on a waiting list and sign on all the lines can be tricky, especially when a loved one is not ready. In these cases, a guardianship or conservatorship might be necessary to get needed help. Once the move occurs, it is not the end. Here are some tips for answering the “back home” questions.

Alleviating the stress of caring for parents and children

The proverbial sandwich generation is growing as baby boomers set longevity records. The challenge becomes the need to be around more for an aging father - after the recent death of my mother - while also helping a daughter transition to college and another succeed in high school. In the 40s or 50s, especially for women, it can mean juggling work, expenses, being a role model and honoring the promise to a mother or father.

All of this can be more than overwhelming. An ever-expanding to-do list may come with anxiety and a feeling of treading water.

Colorado creates electronic advance medical directive system

We have news to share with readers about another development regarding Colorado advance medical directives. On Aug. 2, a new state law took effect establishing a statewide electronic system for advance medical directives. The bill creates an online depository for advance medical directives accessible by doctors, hospitals and emergency medical personnel for direction in providing medical care to Coloradans when they are unable to express their treatment wishes because of medical incapacity.

Colorado governor approves psychiatric advance directives

Coloradans already have the power to execute medical advance directives in which they can appoint agents to make medical decisions for them should they become unable to communicate their wishes. They can also provide instructions for future and end-of-life medical treatment in case of incapacity.

Colorado EVV program for in-home Medicaid services is ready to go

A 2016 federal law, the 21st Century Cures Act, mandates that each state as part of its administration of Medicaid-funded services create an electronic visit verification system, known as EVV. EVV check-ins will prove that in-home Medicaid services by health care providers really happened.

Burial preferences: How to communicate them

Have a family burial plot and casket burial become a thing of the past? Not yet, but more are looking for other options. For instance, 80 percent of boomers are opting for cremation. Many are leaving more preferences for their memorial service and final resting place as well.

A company founded by a man who lost both of his parents in childhood proposes a new concept. Instead of paying for a plot in a crowded cemetery on a busy road, Better Place Forests allows ashes to be spread in a grove of protected trees or under a chosen tree. For loved ones, it becomes a place of peace, privacy and reflection when visiting.

Money Follows the Person funding only extended through 2019

At our law firm, we advocate fiercely for quality of life for elderly people and those with disabilities. A major challenge vulnerable people and their loved ones face is securing safe and appropriate residential services that give them as much freedom and access to their communities as possible, while still providing needed treatment and protections.

This usually means an in-home or community-based setting whenever possible, rather than placement in a large, institutional facility like a nursing home. In July, we wrote in this space about the Money Follows the Person program, also referred to as MFP. As we described, this important Medicaid-funded program pays to remove seniors and those with disabilities out of institutions and into more appropriate, smaller settings in the community such as group homes or other services in homes or home-like settings.

Federal study finds nursing home abuse and neglect underreported

In a June 2019 report, the Office of Inspector General, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced the findings of its investigation into nursing home failure to report potential abuse and neglect when the law requires mandatory reporting. Looking at 2016 emergency room data, auditors extrapolated that at least 6,600 incidents of possible abuse or neglect presented to doctors in the ER went unreported by nursing homes to oversight authorities, reports the Associated Press.

This means that in almost one in five suspicious ER visits by Medicare recipients living in nursing homes, the nursing facilities did not report that elder abuse and neglect might have been involved, as required by law. The investigation also revealed that involved government agencies did not always report “substantiated abuse” to local law enforcement officials.

Oops! Is Britney Spears’ conservatorship still appropriate?

The accomplished 37-year-old pop star has been subject to a California conservatorship since 2008 for both her personal and financial affairs, following highly publicized mental health problems and erratic behavior.

While media reports are somewhat inconsistent, PopCulture reports that her father, who serves as the sole conservator of the person and of her estate, wants to expand the conservatorship into three other states in which Spears spends time. He reportedly has in his capacity as conservator managed her personal budget, signed contracts and handled her family law matters with her ex-husband.

Victim with autism severely injured in treatment center

The Dallas Morning News recently reported on an incident involving an individual with autism who suffered serious facial and mouth injuries at a local treatment center. According to the article, an employee said she had observed another worker kick the patient, causing him to lose several teeth.

Authorities have charged a 49-year-old staff member and the facility has suspended him during the investigation. The accused reportedly said that the victim had injured himself running into a door, but investigators found no blood there and the teeth were missing.

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