LA Couty elder law attorney

LA County Elder Law Attorney: Is It Abuse or Neglect? 6 Red Flags to Watch for in a Nursing Home

Nursing home abuse happens in every state. Whether it’s from overworked staff, under-funded facilities, or simply the wrong people entrusted to care for the elderly, nursing home abuse can happen even in the seemingly nicest of places. While nursing home abuse is still the exception and not the rule, watch out for these six red flags:

Your relative is hungry, unwashed, and/or not medicated. These are obvious signs of elder neglect, especially if your relative is at a facility to get help with these things. A nursing home should have a plan in place to meet your relative’s needs, and if there are problems meeting these needs, then someone should be notified right away. 

Your relative seems afraid of or unusually deferential to certain staff members. There’s no reason an adult should be afraid of another adult in their own home. If your relative is not usually meek but has grown sheepish around the nursing home staff, or seems consistently afraid of the same person, there’s something wrong. The nursing home staff and residents should be treating each other with respect. Fear isn’t respect.

Overworked staff/understaffed/untrained staff. A nursing home needs doctors, nurses, and nurse’s assistants who are attentive and allowed to work to the best of their ability. If the nursing home staff seems incompetent, unknowledgeable, reluctant, or overwhelmed, that’s a problem that will only get worse with time. The staff should be able to meet your relative’s needs as they arise.

Unexplained Bruises or Injuries. While it’s possible that an elderly person is more delicate and prone to accidental injury, a nursing home should be designed to lessen the possibility of accidents and injuries. If your relative has an accident, you should be notified and there should be a report. However, too many “accidents” and injuries, small or large, may be the result of someone hurting your relative.

Your relative is either very distant now or doesn’t want you to leave. Abuse victims may withdraw from social activities, especially if they feel ashamed of what’s happening. They may feel that the abuse is their fault. They may also be afraid of what the abuser will do if the abuse is discovered or afraid of not being believed. Disabled seniors with cognitive problems may be dismissed when they complain about abuse. However, your loyalty is with your relative, not the nursing home.

Alternatively, your relative may become unusually clingy. If they seem fearful of you leaving them, then there’s probably a reason for that, especially if they want you to be in close physical proximity.

As with all abuse cases, file a police report. Then, speak to an LA County elder law attorney. Your attorney can offer guidance, connect you with administrative staff from other facilities where you may be interested in moving your loved one to, or refer you to an injury attorney should a lawsuit become necessary.  If you are experiencing a situation like this currently and you’d like to discuss your concerns, please contact our elder law firm at 818-334-2805 to schedule a consultation with an LA Couty elder law attorney.

Calabasas Elder Law Attorney

Calabasas Elder Law Attorney: How to Know When It’s Time to Step in and Care for Your Elderly Loved One

The number of adult children caring for their elderly parents is growing at a very fast pace. If you are a baby boomer and not already caring for an elderly parent, chances are high that you might be facing this situation soon.  It isn’t always easy to know when, or how, to step in to ensure that your aging loved one receives the care that he or she needs. As a Calabasas elder law attorney, I’ve helped hundreds of families through this stage of life and can offer tips for assisting your aging loved ones.

How to know when to step in

Age alone is not an indicator of when an elderly person needs you. Some people do quite well on their own into their nineties and beyond.  Others might need help much earlier. The key here is to look for warning signs. The signs might include frequent falls or unexplained bruises, an empty fridge, or even unopened mail. Frequent visits are the best way to get a clear picture of your loved one’s physical and mental health.

Develop a plan

If you think the time has come to step in and provide care for your elderly loved one, you should start by developing a plan that includes all family members. Consider allowing your elderly loved one to also participate in creating the plan. It’s best to start with small, easy changes that still allow your loved one to maintain his or her independence.

Meet with an Elder Law Attorney

To provide the best care for your elderly loved one, you need to ensure that you have the necessary legal protections in place. A Calabasas elder law attorney can help your loved one create documents that will allow you, or someone of their choosing, to make decisions for them in financial and medical matters.

If you suspect that your loved one needs help, I encourage you to take these steps right away. We get a lot of calls from people who waited too long and are facing unnecessary financial and legal crises as a result.  Don’t limit your options. Contact our law office at 818-334-2805 to schedule a consultation for the peace of mind knowing that you are doing everything possible to help your loved one.

Calabasas elder law attorney

Using VA Benefits to Pay for Nursing Home Care | Calabasas Elder Law Attorney

Everyone knows that nursing home care can cause financial strain for seniors and even their children. That’s why the federal government created programs like Medicare and Medi-Cal, which are there to help seniors get the care they need. Beyond these two programs, there are many others that help specific groups of people and seniors, the most common of which is meant specifically for veterans and is administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or the VA.

All veterans who served in the United States armed forces while on active service and received any discharge from service other than a dishonorable discharge can receive VA Health Care benefits, which cover doctor and specialist visits, mental health care services, in-patient hospital stays and – perhaps most importantly – short-term and extended stays in nursing homes.

The VA provides skilled nursing home benefits to veterans who suffer from both service-connected and disabilities and non-service-connected afflictions. The level of benefits varies, so it’s important to speak with a Calabasas elder law attorney who has experience navigating the ins and outs of VA benefits. They will be able to determine what type of skilled nursing home care is available to you through the VA.

There are a large variety of care centers that work with veterans who receive VA health benefits, including community living centers, contract nursing homes, and state veteran facilities. These skilled care centers provide different types and levels of care, all of which are determined by the veteran’s eligibility requirements. For instance, community living centers often require admitted veterans to be both medically and psychiatrically stable and are usually located within VA Medical Centers.

On the other hand, contract nursing homes are meant for veterans who have been discharged from VA hospitals. Both have time limits attached which are usually dependent on the resources available in the care centers. State veterans’ homes are run by the state, as the name implies, and receive funding through the VA. These care centers provide the most options to veterans since they include nursing home, hospital, and adult day care services.

Want to learn more about the VA medical benefits available to your loved ones who may be eligible? Or do you need help determining your elderly loved one’s VA Health Care eligibility status? Please contact us at 818-334-2805 to set up a consultation with a Calabasas elder law attorney.  We will be happy to direct you to resources in the area that are best suited for your family.