Tips on How Seniors Can Prepare for Hurricane Flooding

Tips on How Seniors Can Prepare for Hurricane Flooding

Hurricanes are massive storms with winds that can reach upwards of 150 miles per hour, spawn tornadoes, create storm surges along coastal areas, and cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall.

Perhaps the deadliest hurricane complication is flooding. Floods can affect anyone, anywhere and at any time. They can also happen quickly and be all-encompassing that there is literally no place to run. Flooding, for example, caused incalculable losses to property and human lives during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005. 

If you are a senior or having an aging parent living in Florida, safety during storm season should be a top priority. Bear in mind, flooding concerns are not limited only to Florida seniors living at home. Even for seniors who are now living in long-term care facilities or independent living, understanding the crisis plan for storm season is critical. You do not want to wait for a storm to determine how to make your home safe or to know how a facility will operate in a crisis.

Click here to download our resource guide in this important topic and continue reading for tips for seniors after a hurricane passes.

We want you to develop your own plan to ensure you or your senior loved ones are safe. Let us share a few key tips to help you, and especially your aging parents living in Florida, to be prepared for hurricane-related weather conditions. 

Ways to Prepare Before a Potential Flood

  • Make copies of all important personal and legal documents. Put the originals in a safe place away from the home – like a safe deposit box – and the copies in the home within a waterproof container. Talk to the attorney you work with about the documents you should take with you should evacuation be necessary.
  • Take photos of valuable possessions – like jewelry, art and furniture – and compile receipts. Place the photos and receipts with other important documents. Putting these photos on a USB thumb drive would take up the least amount of space but be sure to take it during evacuation.
  • Review the flood insurance policy and make sure you understand it. Call the insurance agent to verify you are sufficiently covered.
  • Take inventory of the medication supply. Do you or your aging parents have enough to get through a storm if roads are impassable to get to a pharmacy? Talk to your doctor to ensure you have what you need.
  • Where will you or your aging parents evacuate to or be evacuated to? Learn this early. You do not want to be evacuated to a shelter that will not be able to provide for necessary health care.

What to Know While Flooding is Occurring

  • Store a radio with extra batteries in order to receive weather and safety updates in case electrical power is out.
  • Keep away from power lines and electrical wiring. Electrocution is one of the main causes of death during flooding.
  • Do not drive through a flooded area. Water is incredibly powerful. Only two feet of moving flood water can sweep away an average car. Surprisingly, more people drown in their cars than anywhere else during flooding.
  • Do not walk through flooded areas. It can take as little as six-inches of water to knock someone down.
  • Commit to communicate with family and loved ones as much as possible during this time.

After the Flood is Over

  • Remember, just because the water is gone, doesn’t mean that danger has passed.
  • If evacuated, do not return to your home until local authorities have declared it is safe to do so.
  • Determine if structural damage has occurred before entering your home. A partial collapse could be fatal.
  • Wear gloves, protective clothing, eye protection and boots to clean and disinfect your home.
  • Check for local announcements about the water supply. Do not assume it is safe to drink.

These are just a few of the tips we have to keep you or your aging parents safe during storm season. We know this article may have raised more questions than it answered. Do not wait to ask us.  Let us help you ensure you have the Florida planning you need to stay safe during storm season and well into the future.

Ways You Can Prepare for Alzheimer’s Disease

Ways You Can Prepare for Alzheimer’s Disease

There is a lot more to Alzheimer’s Disease than just forgetfulness. It’s actually the sixth leading cause of death in the United States annually, with more than 5 million people currently living with the disease.

Nearly every American family has been touched.

While there is currently no cure, there is much you can do to be prepared should you or someone you love be affected.

The first step is awareness. This is where the old adage of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” comes into play. According to the Mayo Clinic, certain activities are thought to contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, such as lack of exercise, high blood pressure, poorly controlled diabetes, poor diet and lack of social engagement. These are things you can proactively address, or not do as the case may be, to help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Other risk factors, are largely out of your control. Understanding them, however, can help you be prepared for the future. In fact, the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is increasing age. The vast majority of people with the disease are age sixty-five or older. One in nine seniors in their sixties and seventies have Alzheimer’s, and nearly one-third of all people age 85 or older have the disease.

Family history and genetics are other major contributors. Those who have a parent or sibling with Alzheimer’s are much more likely to develop it themselves. New research suggests a strong link between serious head injuries and the future risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, especially when head trauma occurs repeatedly over time. Buckling your seatbelt, wearing a helmet when engaged in sports, and fall-proofing your home, or the home of a loved one, are simple preventative measures.

Should you or someone you know be diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s, an important area to get acquainted with is medical treatments. There are both drug and non-drug treatments available to help with cognitive and behavioral symptoms of the disease. Knowing your options ahead of time can prepare you to make choices that can alter the course of the disease and improve quality of life.

What is most important, however, is to plan as soon as possible. This includes not only your Florida estate planning but your long-term care planning. You need to be thinking about the future for yourself and your loved ones well before any illnesses should occur and how you will be able to afford future care needs. While we do help families at all stages of their lives and diagnoses, the sooner we plan the more options can be available. Does this blog raise more questions than it answers? Do not wait to schedule a meeting with our office to discuss what you need right now.

How to Protect Your Parents from Elder Abuse When You Live Out of State

How to Protect Your Parents from Elder Abuse When You Live Out of State

Elderly parents don’t need to live very far away to be out of reach. Living only a few hours by car or in a neighboring state might as well be living in different country. Regardless of how close or how far away they live from you, an uncomfortable aspect to consider is how to protect them from abuse.

Elder abuse is far more common than most people realize. According to the National Center for Elder Abuse, millions of seniors from all walks of life are abused every year.

Elder abuse is defined as the mistreatment or harming of an older person. It can include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, as well as neglect and financial exploitation. It can take the form of bruises, welts, untreated bed sores, dehydration, poor living conditions, and even sexually transmitted diseases without any clear explanations. Emotional and behavioral signs of abuse include excessive fear and anxiety, depression, isolation and general unresponsiveness. Financial abuse can result in unpaid bills, fraudulent signatures, and sudden changes in the estate plan.

There are things you can do, even when you live out of state to protect your parents.

Building a strong support system is probably the best protection available. As the old saying goes: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If friends or family live nearby, have them check in with your elderly parent on a regular, or semi-regular basis. Keep in touch as much as you can. Establish daily communication routines so that you are better equipped to identify a crisis should it happen.

Take advantage of community resources. There’s a surprising range of services available to seniors. Establishing relationships with people who work in community facilities that offer senior activities can be a great value. Senior centers and community-focused groups are a great place to start. If you need help getting started on your research, groups like the AARP offer a place for you to identify options that may be a good fit for your parents. Further, the U.S. Administration on Aging offers a comprehensive Eldercare Locator that can help you find elder services anywhere in the country, and most of them are free.

Above all, remember that you know your parents best. If you suspect something is amiss, ask them. If you need more help, report any signs of suspected abuse immediately. Older adults often fear retaliation from their abusers and may lack the wherewithal to take appropriate actions. If you have questions on this or any Florida elder care law planning issue, do not wait to contact our office.

5 Ways to Help Protect Your Loved Ones from Elder Abuse

5 Ways to Help Protect Your Loved Ones from Elder Abuse

On June 15, citizens worldwide will commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to help bring awareness to the millions of older adults subject to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation each year. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 2.1 million older Americans are mistreated annually, and that’s just the beginning. For every case of elder abuse reported, as many as five more remain unreported.


How do we protect our Florida loved ones from becoming the next unsuspecting victim of elder abuse? We want to share with you some simple steps that you can take to help protect your loved ones from harm.


1. Be proactive. Even if your loved one is in good health, being prepared in the event of an emergency will provide you both with some comfort. Encourage your loved one to establish an agent through his or her Durable Power of Attorney, designate a health care surrogate, and create a living will or a trust before an emergency occurs or his or her mental capacity diminishes. Work with your loved one and his or her attorney now to plan for any long-term care decisions that may need to be made in the future. These crucial legal decisions can help protect your loved one’s assets and simplify any future legal needs.


2. Stay informed.  Make a point to visit your loved one often. By keeping in regular contact, you will recognize changes in behavior and have an opportunity to step in and take over affairs if necessary. Be involved, ask direct questions, and pay attention. Asking simple questions – for example, did you make this transaction? Or how did you get that bruise? – may reveal underlying issues and provide your loved one with a reliable outlet to express his or her concerns.


3. Know the signs. Elder care abuse typically begins with isolation. It’s crucial to have access to your loved one at any time of day or night. Not being allowed to meet with your loved one alone, unexplained signs of injury, or your loved one being taken to multiple medical facilities for treatment may signal that abuse is occurring. Keep in mind that abuse is not always physical. Neglect, emotional abuse, and financial exploitation are all forms of elder care abuse.


4. Check-in regularly, even from afar. If you live in a different state from your aging parent, you may not be immediately available to address any sudden changes in his or her health or daily needs. Many long-distance caregivers seek help from geriatric case managers and elder care law attorneys to oversee the day-to-day financial, medical, and long-term care concerns of their loved ones. Establishing a local support system is crucial. In addition to your elder care attorney,  recruit the help of local neighbors, family, and friends to check in on your loved one every day or two. If the time comes that a caring neighbor isn’t enough, you may wish to consider long-term care options to ensure your loved one is receiving more assistance than can reasonably be provided at home and we can guide you through this process.


5. Know when to take further action. Remember, at all times we are a resource for you. Further, if you suspect your loved one is in immediate danger, don’t hesitate to call 911 or report the suspected abuse. If you don’t believe the danger is immediate but suspect abuse is occurring, voice your concerns to adult protective services, the state ombudsman, or involve the local police department. When it comes to protecting your loved one, no measure is too extreme.


Does this article raise more questions than it answers for you? We know how to plan for the elder care law needs of you and your Florida loved ones. Do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule a meeting about your planning needs.

How Do We Protect Seniors During National Elder Law Month?

How Do We Protect Seniors During National Elder Law Month?

Each month, many of us worry how to best ensure that our older parents who live alone in Florida are safe. This starts with making sure that our senior loved one has the Florida estate and long-term care planning he or she needs to protect him or herself now, and well into the future.


While for many of us it is enough to have basic estate planning in place, this is not the case for Older Americans living in Florida. “Older Americans” are the generation of individuals who are over 60 years of age. These seniors especially need to prepare for a time when they may need long-term care assistance outside the home.The cost of long-term care continues to rise and Florida seniors are at risk of losing all of their assets if they do not plan ahead for long-term care.


The rising cost of long-term care is just one type of protection that Florida seniors need. Today, the scams that target Older Americans continue to be on the rise. Each month, there are new scams that emerge that specifically target elders. Let us help you protect yourself and the seniors you love by sharing several of the most common scams with you.


1. Medicare scams. No matter what month of the year it is, Medicare scammers continue to target Older Americans. These scammers have a variety of ways to interact with their intended senior victims. Discussions of copayments, coverage, and medication, are just the beginning. They reach out to seniors in numerous ways including through the mail and phone scams. As a senior, be wary of any call or piece of mail you receive claiming to be from Medicare.


2. Hurricane insurance companies. Insurance scams are especially on the rise in Florida. In the wake of recent hurricanes, seniors not only need to watch out for false construction repair companies but also for companies trying to sell them fraudulent insurance policies. Although hurricane insurance can have a significant value for you and your senior loved ones, before providing any financial information to a policy that you believe would help you, do your research. Investigate to make sure that the company is a real company and is not attempting to scam you.


3. Jury Duty Scams. Recently, more and more jury duty scams are on the rise. This type of scam focuses on telling seniors that they have to call in and report for mandatory jury duty. This phone number, may try to extort money from the senior or obtain access to private information. This scam may also track the senior’s phone number and collect any data that he or she may give. Be extremely suspicious of any piece of mail that you receive and call your local courthouse before responding or taking any action.


Do not wait to take action to protect your aging parents from threats like these listed in this article. Seniors need more protection. Do not wait to contact us and let our form protect you and the Older Americans you love most.

Elder Care Law: 5 Tips to Help You Age-in-Place

Elder Care Law: 5 Tips to Help You Age-in-Place

Florida seniors and their adult children frequently ask me how the elder can stay in the family home. I understand this desire. I want my clients to be able to age-in-place for as long as possible. We must plan, however, for a time when you may be unable to do so safely.


Aging-in-place is the concept of living in our homes well into advanced age. This can be a reality for you when you prepare in advance. This preparation includes managing your finances and making your elder care choices as soon as possible with an elder care attorney. It also includes preparing your home to support you as you age.  


Are you an elder who lives at home alone? Are you scared of falling and hurting yourself when you walk around your house or take a shower? These are reasonable fears to have, and there are steps you can take to prevent these fears from becoming reality. I will share our five tips for how to make your home more aging-in-place appropriate.


1. Put handrails around your house. These handrails should be installed next to stairs, in the shower, and near step-downs. Handrails can be installed by you or a contractor, and are easy to use. To get started, evaluate your home to determine where you believe you are the most at risk for potentially tripping or falling.  


2. Put a seat in your shower. One of the most frequent ways seniors fall is when they are in the shower and slip on the wet floor. If you have a seat to sit on while you are bathing this hazard may be avoided.


3. Invest in a moving chair. If you have a large staircase in your home and feel unsafe walking up the stairs, invest in a moving chair that is built into the wall. Once installed, you will be able to sit in this chair as it moves you up or down the staircase. Consider a moving chair that includes the options of a guardrail and a seatbelt.


4. Add light where you need it. Research shows us that when it is hard to see you are much more vulnerable to tripping and falling. Add light to all areas of your home that get dark at night or have shadows during the day. Consider investing in a motion sensor option. This option means the light will automatically turn on.


5. Install cabinets within your reach. Instead of placing your supplies in tall or hard-to-reach overhead cupboards, utilize cabinets that you are able to easily access. This may require reorganization of your kitchen, your bathroom or your supply cabinet, but it is worth the effort. You want to avoid any instance where you could lose your balance and injure yourself in a fall.


When we want to age-in-place, it is crucial that we make adjustments to our homes. Modifications like these can help you remain safe for a longer period of time. Remember that making modifications are only part of the puzzle. Do not wait to contact my firm to talk about your elder care planning needs.