Question of the Day on ElderCareMatters.com:"What is the first step in preventing my mother from having problems with her medications?"

Answer:  Make a list of all the medications that she uses, prescriptions, non-prescriptions, over the counters, supplements, and nutritionals. 

Keep the list updated, make copies and share with other caregivers.  Take the up-to-date list to all healthcare appointments and share with all healthcare providers.

I encourage you to go to my web site and download the Health ICE (In Case of Emergency).  This form provides an area to list this information and much more. 

Copies of this should be placed in 2 envelops, marked “Health ICE” and with your mother’s name. Place one on the refrigerator and one in the car. Emergency personnel are trained to look for such lists on the refrigerator and in the glove compartment of the car.

To find other competent, caring elder care professionals across America who are located near You and can help you with your elder care matters, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com – A FREE online resource to find elder care experts plus elder care information & answers to your elder care questions.

Lynn Harrelson, R.Ph., FASCP, Senior Care Pharmacist
8302 Cheshire Way
Louisville, Kentucky  40222
502-425-8642
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Kentucky chapter


This week’s featured Elder Care Expert on ElderCareMatters.com is Lynn Harrelson, R.Ph., Senior Care Pharmacist

Lynn Harrelson, R.Ph., FASCP, Senior Care Pharmacist
8302 Cheshire Way
Louisville, Kentucky  40222
502-425-8642
www.SeniorPharmacySolutions.com

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Kentucky chapter

This week’s Featured Elder Care Expert is Lynn Harrelson, R.Ph., FASCP, Senior Care Pharmacist, Member of the Kentucky chapter of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance (a network of  1,500 elder care experts across America). 

Ms. Harrelson has over 30 years of experience helping patients, families, caregivers, physicians and other health care providers with questions and concerns that arise when multiple prescriptions and other medications are used.

Ms. Harrelson provides guidance for those who are overwhelmed and confused about drug reactions, interactions, and side effects of taking multiple medications.

Every day this week (M-F), Ms. Harrelson will answer one of your questions about her area of expertise (Medication Management), and this selected question along with Ms. Harrelson’s answer will be posted on the Featured Elder Care Question of the Day section of ElderCareMatters.com.

So if you would like to ask Ms. Harrelson a question about your elder care matter, just send a short email (a few sentences only please) to: questions@ElderCareMatters. com.  

And remember to bookmark ElderCareMatters.com and check back often to see if your question is our Featured Elder Care Question of the Day.


Question of the Day on ElderCareMatters.com: "My elderly parents are failing. It's a complicated situation, but I got a Durable POA to protect my mom's assets if my dad passes before my mom. My dad is named as the primary POA, in case my mom passes before my dad. I am named as the secondary. My question is if my dad passes before my mom, and since I am named as secondary on the POA forms, does that mean I automatically become the primary POA for my mother? Will I have the authority to make decisions regarding her estate? What other things should I know about being name "secondary" POA?. Also, I live in a different state than my parents, but the POA forms were created using the laws of their home state. Does living in another state have any impact on transferring authority from the primary to the secondary POA?"

Answer:  If the power of attorney (POA) is valid in the state in which it was written, it should be valid in any state even if you are the secondary agent. You may have to prove that the primary has died through a death certificate. Assuming the POA grants you the right to make decisions regarding your mother’s assets such as the power to write checks, to pay bills and deposit checks payable to your mother, living in another state should have no impact on a transfer of authority. One note of caution: The bank may view and make a copy of the original POA, but under no circumstances should they keep the original document. You will need the original document in the event your mother has assets with more than one financial institution.

To find competent, caring elder care professionals across America who are located near You and can help you with your elder care matters, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com – A FREE online resource to find elder care experts plus elder care information & answers to your elder care questions.

William “Bill” Brown, Attorney at Law
2999 E. Dublin-Granville Road
Suite 217
Columbus, Ohio  43231-4030
614-890-9099
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Ohio chapter


Question of the Day on ElderCareMatters.com: "Husband and wife are both 85 and live in Massachusetts. Wife has early stages of Alzheimer's (possible Nursing Home admission in the future). If an income annuity is set up in the Husband's name, since it is income is this now a non-countable asset? Can a trust be named as primary beneficiary, in case he pre-deceases his wife, or do we have to name the State of Massachusetts as primary beneficiary up to the extent of benefits received? This annuity would be set up for income to be received for a period less than his life expectancy."

Answer:  Yes, a trust can be named the beneficiary of an income annuity; however, it must be done 5 years (60 months) prior to eligibility for Medicaid in order to be a non-countable resource for Medicaid purposes. The spouse could be the primary beneficiary with the state the ultimate beneficiary.

To find competent, caring elder care professionals across America who are located near You and can help you with your elder care matters, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com – A FREE online resource to find elder care experts plus elder care information & answers to your elder care questions.

William “Bill” Brown, Attorney at Law
2999 E. Dublin-Granville Road
Suite 217
Columbus, Ohio  43231-4030
614-890-9099
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Ohio chapter


Question of the Day on ElderCareMatters.com: "My family doesn’t have the money to hire an attorney but yet we need help with applying for VA assistance for my parents since my father served in World War II. Can you recommend where we could perhaps get this help without hiring a private elder law attorney?"

Answer:  My suggestion is that you call the Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs, Benefits Information Claims. The toll free number is 1-800-827-1000.  Hope this helps.

To find other competent, caring elder care professionals across America who are located near You and can help you with your elder care matters, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com – A FREE online resource to find elder care experts plus elder care information & answers to your elder care questions.

William “Bill” Brown, Attorney at Law
2999 E. Dublin-Granville Road
Suite 217
Columbus, Ohio  43231-4030
614-890-9099
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Ohio chapter


Question of the Day on ElderCareMatters.com: "My brother has a severe handicap due to a birth defect. He has been receiving disability benefits through social security, as well as some state aid. When my parents die, if my brother inherits from my parent’s estate, will he be denied benefits due to the inheritance?"

Answer:  In most cases I have recommended that the parents set up a living trust using “handicapped” language for the disabled child. This provides the disabled child supplemental care without loss of federal or state benefits and provides a better lifestyle. In addition, other children that are not disabled or handicapped can inherit their shares in a normal manner. There is no need to “disinherit” the disabled or handicapped individual. 

In some cases a “Medicaid payback” trust may be used where the disability is the result of an injury or an accident and there is a sizeable insurance settlement that might reduce or eliminate Medicaid benefits. The theory is that the settlement dollars will be invested and the “payback” to Medicaid upon the death of the beneficiary will still leave a significant amount for the beneficiary’s heirs, siblings or others.

To find competent elder care professionals who are located near You and can help you with this type of elder care matter, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com – A FREE online resource to find elder care experts plus elder care information & answers to your elder care questions.

William “Bill” Brown, Attorney at Law
2999 E. Dublin-Granville Road
Suite 217
Columbus, Ohio  43231-4030
614-890-9099
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Ohio chapter


Question of the Day on ElderCareMatters.com: "How long does the Guardianship process take?"

Answer:  Temporary guardianship can be obtained quickly; it is possible to have a temporary guardian appointed the same day the petition is filed. The length of time required for the guardianship process when an emergency does not exist depends upon the availability of information necessary for preparation of court papers, the availability of a judge, the type of notice required to satisfy the Constitution under the circumstances of the case, and the existence of complicating factors, such as disagreement among interested parties, controversial issues, etc. In routine cases the most time-consuming process is preparing the documents and gathering the information for the presentation of the case. It is important to thoroughly investigate the case before filing it, because it cannot be withdrawn later without the court’s permission. One is not permitted to file a frivolous court case and, if the case is filed and later investigation reveals that there is no justification for the case, there can be serious consequences for the petitioner and also for the petitioning attorney.

Once the case is filed, it usually takes from 14 days to two months for a decision to be reached by the court. The fact that a temporary guardian may have been appointed does not determine whether a permanent guardian will be appointed.

To find competent elder care professionals who are located near You and can help you with this type of elder care matter, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com – A FREE online resource to find elder care experts plus elder care information & answers to your elder care questions.

Janna Dutton, Attorney at Law
Founding Partner
Dutton & Casey, P.C.

Chicago, Illinois  60603
312-899-0950
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Illinois chapter


Question of the Day on ElderCareMatters.com: "Can Guardianship be used as a protective measure, along with orders of protection?"

Answer:  Yes, guardianship is meant to protect the person and property of those who cannot manage for themselves, but it must be used with caution. Guardianship is an extreme form of intervention in the life of a person, because control over personal and/or financial decisions is transferred to someone else for an indefinite, often permanent, period. Once established, it can be extremely difficult to revoke, even if the guardian or the original petitioner believe that guardianship is no longer necessary. If the courts require expert testimony to support the revocation of guardianship, experts may be hesitant to certify that the person does not need guardianship. The right to privacy and independence in determining how to manage one’s own affairs is paramount and should be limited or removed only for the gravest cause.

The law requires that guardianship be used only if it will promote the well-being of the person with disabilities and protect the person with disabilities against neglect, exploitation, and abuse, and encourages development of maximum self reliance and independence.

Orders of protection are defined under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, and the Probate Act incorporates the provisions of the IDVA by reference. The Probate Act provides that all IDVA procedures for the issuance, enforcement and recording of orders of protection shall also be available in guardianship cases. Consequently, an order of protection may be joined together with a plenary or temporary petition for adjudication of disability, and a court may enter both orders of protection and orders appointing guardians in the same proceeding.

To find competent elder care professionals who are located near You and can help you with this type of elder care matter, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com – A FREE online resource to find elder care experts plus elder care information & answers to your elder care questions.

Janna Dutton, Attorney at Law
Founding Partner
Dutton & Casey, P.C.

Chicago, Illinois  60603
312-899-0950
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Illinois chapter


Question of the Day on ElderCareMatters.com: "What types of Guardianship are available under Illinois Law?"

Answer:  There are several types of guardianship available under the Illinois Probate Act. It is important that all available options be considered to determine the appropriate form of guardianship for a specific person with disabilities. In each case, consideration should be given to requesting either limited or plenary guardianship. Limited guardianship is used when the person with disabilities can make some, but not all, decisions regarding his/her personal care and/or finances.

The basic forms guardianship can take follow:

  1. Limited Guardianship – used when the person with disabilities can make some, but not all, decisions regarding his/her person and/or estate. “Guardianship shall be ordered only to the extent necessitated by the individual’s mental, physical and adaptive limitations.” A limited guardian makes only those decisions about personal care and/or finances which the ward cannot make. The powers of a limited guardian must be specifically listed in the court order. The ward retains the power to make all other decisions regarding his/her person or estate. Limited guardianship may be used to appoint a limited guardian of the person, a limited guardian of the estate, or both.
  2. Plenary Guardianship – used when the “individual’s mental, physical and adaptive limitations” necessitate a guardian who has the power to make all important decisions regarding the individual’s personal care and finances. Plenary guardianship may be used for the person, the estate, or both.
  3. Guardianship of the Person – used when a person, “because of his disability, lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions regarding the care of his person.” The guardian of the person makes decisions regarding the “support, care, comfort, health, education,…maintenance, and…professional services” (such as educational, vocational, habilitation, treatment and medical services) for the person under guardianship who is called a ward.
  4. Guardianship of the Estate – used when the person “because of his disability…is unable to manage his estate or financial affairs”. A guardian of the estate makes decisions about management of the ward’s property and finances.
  5. Temporary Guardianship – used in an emergency situation. Temporary guardianship can last no longer than 60 days and is a means to assure that the person who evidences need for guardianship receives immediate protection.
  6. Successor Guardianship – used upon the death, disability, or resignation of the initially appointed guardian, when guardianship is still needed.
  7. Testamentary Guardianship – used by parents of a person with disabilities and designates, by will, a person who assumes the guardianship appointment upon the death of a parent. The designated person must still be appointed by the court before he/she can serve as guardian. The court will consider the designated person but is not bound by the testamentary designation. It can appoint someone else if the proposed guardian is found to be inappropriate.

To find competent elder care professionals who are located near You and can help you with this type of elder care matter, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com – A FREE online resource to find elder care experts plus elder care information & answers to your elder care questions.

Janna Dutton, Attorney at Law
Founding Partner
Dutton & Casey, P.C.

Chicago, Illinois  60603
312-899-0950
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Illinois chapter


Question of the Day on ElderCareMatters.com: "How does one assess that a person may be in need of Guardianship?"

Answer:  The fact that a person has a mental disability does not automatically dictate a need for guardianship. The test for determining the need for guardianship focuses on the ability of the person to make decisions and to properly communicate decisions once made. Making incorrect or ill-advised decisions on a periodic basis is not the test. Rather, it is an inability to engage in the decision making in the first place which is important. A practical set of questions that may be addressed are as follows:

  1. Does the person understand that a particular decision needs to be made?
  2. Does the person understand the options available in any decision?
  3. Does the person understand the consequences of each option?
  4. Is the person able to properly inform appropriate parties once the decision has been made?

The inability to make sound decisions about where to live, where to work, how and when to seek medical care or other professional services, how to properly care for dependents, and how to purchase items like food and clothing is indication that a person may be in need of some guardianship services.

To find competent elder care professionals who are located near You and can help you with this type of elder care matter, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com – A FREE online resource to find elder care experts plus elder care information & answers to your elder care questions.

Janna Dutton, Attorney at Law
Founding Partner
Dutton & Casey, P.C.

Chicago, Illinois  60603
312-899-0950
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Illinois chapter


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