Legal Feed

Dear Carol: My 93-year-old mother lives alone with significant help from my youngest sister and me but her worsening cognitive ability is dictating changes. We found an assisted living facility (ALF) with memory care near our brother’s home, which is one county over, Read more →


...Thankfully, during this past decade, because of technology along with other awareness efforts, caregiver support has exploded with resources and professional help. Still, caregivers long to connect personally with each other and share, on an intimate level, what they’ve learned. The stories below are examples of that sharing spirit. Caregiving will change your life both positively and negatively, but these caregivers make it clear that you don’t have to go through it alone. Read more →


...But most people wait until they're well into middle age before taking care of this important legal work. For those who die young, or are disabled because of an unexpected event such as a car accident or ill-fated dive into an unfamiliar lake, it’s too late. Their families may have to fight in the courts and in hospital wards in order to carry through with the decisions that they believe this young person would have wanted them to make. Read more →


As you watch your parents or other beloved elders age, sometimes worry becomes inevitable. Should they have housing upgrades? Can they continue to live independently? Your intention isn’t to take over their lives, but you may genuinely want to start the conversation about possible future changes. How do you do this without causing a backlash? Read more →


It's something many of us have done. Our parents are in their middle years and have come home from visiting someone in a nursing home. The hospital-like structure of the older nursing home was disturbing to them. While relating their experience to you they say that they'd hate to end up in a place like that. You jump in and say with feeling and genuine belief, "I'd never put you in a nursing home" Read more →


Family caregivers provide many functions for their older adults or spouses, from transporting them to a social event to encouraging healthy habits. Caregivers can also find themselves in a cycle of bouncing from one emergency to the next. Juggling crises is a significant part of what we do, so learning how to handle these situations is helpful. Emergency physician Kevin Haselhorst, M.D., an expert in advance care planning, speaks to patients, family members, and healthcare providers about advance directives, palliative, and end-of-life care. Here are some of his tips. Read more →


An ongoing concern for many older adults, as well as their adult children, is whether they really need to pay for the services of an attorney when planning for their finances and health care in old age. This is a valid question, and people of modest means often feel that they can’t afford an attorney. However, the reality is that many elder care problems faced by families can be avoided by consulting an attorney before their loved one needs any form of care. Read more →


...In the case of caregiver Marianne Sciucco, author of Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s Love Story, the legal documents for her parents were signed in time — barely. Here Marianne tells us about the blessing of thinking ahead. “We met with my parents’ lawyer and drafted a power of attorney (POA) for Mom and my stepfather in the nick of time. Just a year later, following a dementia diagnosis, I was forced to put his into action. Read more →


A report by the Mental Health Foundation (UK) is calling for dementia to be treated as a disability. They said, correctly, that dementia is seen as a disease like many others in that it should be curable. Tragically, only when dementia is caused by medications, infections or some rare, operable situation is it curable. Instead, it is a relentlessly progressive, destructive disease with which the affected must live until they eventually die. The Foundation says that it is also crucial that people with dementia have their rights respected and upheld.  Read more →


Ideally, family members see one another often enough that they can become comfortable discussing issues that come up naturally as parents grow older. When this is the case, adult children are likely to hear when close friends of their parents have moved to assisted living, or have become ill. They may even hear stories where their parents’ friends didn’t assign powers of attorney for healthcare and their finances so that when one or both became very ill, their children are left trying to care for their parents with their hands legally tied. Read more →