Since 1963, the month of May has been devoted to honoring and supporting the nation’s senior population. Older Americans are an indispensable part of our shared society and the annual May designation of National Older Americans Month formally recognizes their value. May is also National Elder Law Month, which is dedicated to promoting and providing legal support for a wide range of senior-related issues.
Without the aid of family caregivers, however, millions of seniors could be at risk. Indeed, family caregivers are integral to year-round elder care. In honor of National Older Americans Month, National Elder Law Month and family caregivers across the country, let us share a few much needed resources on our blog.
1. Respite care. Caregiving can be a tremendous sacrifice in terms of time, money, and opportunity costs, especially if a senior loved one has a physical or mental health disability. Often, caregivers are at risk of developing their own health problems due to exhaustion and unmet needs. Respite care, however, can allow caregivers to take breaks and care for themselves.
- ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center. ARCH helps senior caregivers find appropriate respite care programs and services for their elder loved ones. Its National Respite Locator provides a state-by-state list of facilities that can help give family members a break.
- National Adult Day Services Association. This is a professional organization that provides adult day care consumer resources, including an adult day care locator and counseling on choosing the right facility for a senior loved one.
- Senior Corps. Senior Corps’ Senior Companions program provides respite care by matching older volunteers with seniors who need help with daily tasks.
2. Health Care. Older Americans need good health care. They also need to find a way to pay for it. Let us share a few resources with you that can help you and your family with both.
- Department of Veterans Affairs. The V.A. provides a vast array of support services for qualifying senior veterans and their families, including a paid family caregiver benefit. The program is called Veteran-Directed Home and Community Based Services. Elder law attorneys are potent advocates for senior veterans’ rights and often help secure V.A. benefits if they are denied.
- Medicare. Medicare is a massive federal health program for people aged 65 and older. Senior caregivers might not realize that Medicare covers home health and skilled nursing services in certain circumstances.
- Medicaid. Medicaid is a federal-state partnership program that provides health coverage for people with limited income and assets. Medicaid can also pay for long-term care in nursing homes.
- SHIPs. State Health Insurance Assistance Programs, or SHIPs, provide free support to Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers.
3. Legal. You need a trusted advocate on your side at all times. Navigating the myriad of issues that Older Americans and their families face, is not always easy. Know that, at all times, we are here to help.
- National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys — NAELA is a nonprofit association of lawyers and organizations that provides legal services for older adults and people with special needs. NAELA established National Elder Law Month as a way to acknowledge the elder law profession and provide critical support for the nation’s senior community.
We know that you may have questions based on these resources we are sharing with you. If you or someone you know would like more information or specific guidance on legal matters, do not wait to contact us today.