INDIANA -Caring for the elderly has become an even bigger challenge because of the coronavirus, but an attorney who specializes in elder law says there are some steps you can take to make sure your loved ones get the care they need.
Carol Applegate, attorney from Applegate and Dillman Elder Law, says knowing where the key documents are and keeping them in a safe place is important. Those can be wills, power of attorney forms, etc.
Applegate says “we work with the families early on so that we can find those documents and make sure they are still in effect, so they can be used in the event of a crisis. We work on all of those legal documents to make sure they are updated. I can’t tell you the number of times we had to go into a facility and look through a window at someone signing a document because they didn’t have those done prior to COVID-19 and they were in the nursing home and couldn’t get out or no one could get in.”
Applegate says purchasing long-term care insurance may be a good idea.
“The older you get, the higher the premiums are to get long-term care insurance. If you can purchase those plans early on, it’s much better. Sometimes when you get older, the premiums are so high, you can’t afford them at the time you need them,” said Applegate.
Which is why Applegate says it’s so important to plan early. That way both the client and the family members can be a significant part of the planning process.
“There are clients who want to remove their Mom or Dad from a facility because they can’t see them due to coronavirus. They don’t know what kind of care they’re getting. What’s made it particularly challenging is that some facilities started opening up and now they’re closing again, so it’s almost impossible to get in to see their loved ones,” said Applegate. “We have been able to get some of our clients in to those facilities as essential caregivers, but that’s been a process as well.”
Applegate says it has been difficult to both keep the families of the elderly stable and advocate for the client in the nursing home. She says it is best for the family to decide on one person to correspond with the attorney.
“I need to be able to communicate with one person. I can’t have five different siblings calling in and telling me five different things. Collaboration among the family is a tough road, but it’s necessary,” said Applegate.
Applegate and Dillman Elder Law has offices in Indianapolis, Zionsville, and Carmel.