What Every Caregiver Must Know in These Uncertain Financial Times

What Every Caregiver Must Know in These Uncertain Financial Times

Caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. In addition to making sure that your loved one is safe and their daily needs are met, you are also faced with the fact that there are many financial and legal issues that must be addressed. As if that was not enough, you also are trying to provide the best quality of care at the least cost to the family. Caregiving is expensive and stressful, especially in these uncertain financial times. Hopefully, this article can provide you the financial and legal answers you need to do a better job.

Elder law is not just for senior citizens who are no longer independent or who are about to enter a nursing home. Elder law is for anyone who is middle aged and beyond – and sometimes even younger. There are now more than 5 million people in the United States living with Alzheimer’s. This is a 10% increase from 5 years ago, and clearly supports the long forecasted dementia epidemic. One in eight persons age 65 and over have Alzheimer’s disease and nearly half of all persons over the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s. Every 72 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s disease; by mid-century someone will develop Alzheimer’s every 33 seconds.

You are not alone. There are over 50 million caregivers in this county. Studies show that 12 million people in this country need long term care. Twenty-one percent of American adults provide free caregiving for loved ones. Fifty-nine percent of these caregivers either work outside the home, or have worked outside the home, while providing care. It has been estimated that the value of free services given by caregivers is in excess of $310 billion a year. Additionally, as a result of caregivers, businesses are also effected by the caregiving epidemic. Specifically, over 60% of caregivers work and dedicate on average 18 hours per week to provide care. Family caregivers account for 73% of early departures and late arrivals in the workplace. Caregiving by an employee costs the average employer $2,100 per employee or for all employers as much as $33 billion annually. These services are provided by family members without regard to cost because of the love and respect they have for their loved ones.

These statistics only represent the economic cost of caregiving. It does not even address the emotional and physical toll on caregivers. The fact is that 70% of all caregivers over the age of 70 die first. People generally do not think about the health of the caregiver or plan for the unthinkable — the caregiver having health problems or passing away before their loved one with dementia. It is for this reason that we approach each situation from the worst case scenario. We plan for the worst and hope for the best, that way our clients are always protected.

We know that age is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s and dementia related diseases, however, these diseases do not discriminate. We have helped clients who have loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia related diseases, some as young as their late 30’s. The time to look down the road and make major decisions regarding your health, well-being and finances is now.

It is important to understand the difference between an elder law attorney and an estate planning attorney. While estate planning attorneys are concerned with what happens to your estate upon your death, elder law attorneys ensure that your affairs can be managed in the event of your disability as well as once you pass away. Specifically, an experienced elder law attorney addresses the following tough questions like:

  • Who will make my medical decisions when I am no longer able to make them?
  • If I am unable to care for myself, how can I achieve the greatest quality of care without bankrupting myself or my family?
  • Who will be able to talk to my doctors and the hospital when I require guidance even though I am able to make my own medical decisions?
  • Who will make my end of life decisions?
  • What happens if I get sick and cannot stay in my home anymore?
  • How am I going to pay for it?

For caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s and related dementia, information regarding Medicaid and estate planning is a necessity. In these uncertain financial times, the proper long term care planning is more important than ever. Families who seek the proper professional advice will be able to protect significant portions of their assets, possibly all of their assets, in spite of these rocky financial times. However, families who fail to do the proper planning, will rapidly deplete their assets with the rising nursing home costs.

This article was written by Danielle Mayoras and Don Rosenberg and previously published at www.brmmlaw.com

Danielle Mayoras is an estate, elder law and special needs attorney who is passionate about helping people plan for future generations. She applies her knowledge and experience to help clients across the country and is a trusted advisor to celebrity and high-profile heirs.

Danielle is an author of best-selling book, Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! and host of the TV show Fortune Fights.  She is also a dynamic keynote speaker who delights audiences across the country.

Danielle lends her expertise and analysis to hundreds of media sources, including ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, among many others. She has appeared on the Rachael Ray Show, CNN, NBC Nightly News, and FOX and NBC affiliates.

 

 

A Caregiver’s Manual To Be Prepared For That Call In The Night

A Caregiver’s Manual To Be Prepared For That Call In The Night

As women, we are often expected to fill multiple roles: that of a loving mother, career woman, supportive wife or partner, volunteer in the community and, at some point for many, a new role—that of caregiver to our parents or loved ones.

For the last 30 years, I have helped clients plan for their “golden years,” including how they will address the issues of aging and how to remain independent. I have recently experienced this myself; I was the Designated Daughter for my own parents. Because my parents and I had “the important conversations” and did the proper planning, I was prepared when I received that Call in the Night. Part of creating the life of your dreams is making sure you address all the what ifs in your life. Skipping this step can create unpleasant complications that can be avoided. Our parents and loved ones are living longer, and we need to know how this might affect our lives and be prepared with a plan.

Take a look at these statistics:

  • When Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid were designed, life expectancy was 63.
  • Our fastest growing population is age 85 plus and 50% may have some form of Alzheimer’s.
  • By 2030, 70 million people in the US, or 1-in-5 people, will be age 65.
  • Another 1 million people will be 100 years old.
  • The need for healthcare and related services is exploding! Source: Working with Seniors Health, Financial and Social Issues, 2003

According to USA Today:

  • 60% of US caregivers are female
  • 66% are married or living with a partner
  • 45 is the average age of US caregivers
  • 77 is the average age of the care recipient
  • 41% of caregivers have children under the age of 18 at home
  • 52% of caregivers are employed full time

Learn how to be prepared, how to talk to your parents or loved ones, what you and they should do to ensure your lives continue to run smoothly, and how to avoid costly mistakes.

Step One ~ Get Organized!

Gather together the following items: One filing cabinet, complete with hanging file and manila folders; a copy of all important documents; a large three-ring binder with big tab dividers; and a colored marker.

Use the binder to store copies of important documents. Label the document title on the tab divider. This will come in handy should you need to transport documents. Using your marker, write on the back of each document where the original is stored (i.e. Will store in safe deposit box at Chase Bank on 2nd and Main, son John has the key.) Have a section on beneficiaries that lists all documents with appointed beneficiaries. Always keep this section current. Next, organize your file cabinet. If you don’t want to store original documents in your file cabinet, note the original’s location in the appropriate file.

Create the following titles for your hanging files and store items under each category in labeled manila folders:

Important Information

  1. Location of safe deposit box and key
  2. Passwords for debit card, online accounts, computer, and voicemail
  3. Armed forces documents
  4. Birth, death, and marriage certificates
  5. Names and phone numbers of your attorney, CPA, financial planner, broker, and insurance agents
  6. Copy of tax returns and winter/summer tax assessments
  7. Copy of life, health, disability, and long term care insurance policies
  8. Copy of Social Security Estimate Statement
  9. Copy of driver’s license and passport

Legal Planning

  1. Copy of will and trusts
  2. Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) documents
  3. Prepaid funeral and burial arrangements/plan for pet relocation and expenses

Banking/Investments

  1. Copy of each credit card with contact phone number
  2. Divide out by financial institution a copy of bank statements, brokerage accounts, annuities, IRA’s, stock/bond certificates, and dividend reinvestment plans (DRIP)
  3. Copy of retirement plans and investment real estate documents
  4. Copy of “Survivor’s” Pension Benefit (what the surviving spouse receive after the retiree dies)
  5. Current copies of beneficiary designations for all retirement plans, IRA’s, life insurance, and annuities

Medical

  1. Name and phone numbers of physicians, dentist, nurses, etc.
  2. Name of pharmacy and list of prescriptions
  3. Copy of medical insurance card and benefits guidebook
  4. Long term care and disability insurance policies
  5. Patient Advocate Designation document – give primary care physician a copy
  6. Copy of Medicare card, supplemental medical insurance, and account numbers

Household

  1. Copy of home deed, homeowner’s insurance (include umbrella policies)
  2. Copy of mortgage and home equity loan statements
  3. Copy of auto title, loan/lease, and insurance documents
  4. Copy of statements for gas, electric, water, waste management, telephones, etc.
  5. Home maintenance file to include repair receipts, phone number of repairmen, warrantees, and appliance insurance

Step Two ~ Discovery

Your documentation is organized. Breathe a sigh of relief!

Next, you need to have a series of important conversations with your parents or loved ones and other family members. These discussions should include:

  • What are their wishes for long term care?
  • What are their needs as they are aging and who can provide these?
  • How do they want to handle their money and property as their lifestyle changes
  • What kind of legacy do they want to create for themselves?

It may take while to cover all of these topics. Don’t rush and feel as if you have to discuss everything at one time.

You can initiate the conversation by discussing these subjects in general terms because you are doing your own future planning for college savings or retirement. Ask for
their help to assess their situation and welcome their input on solutions.

Role play a bit. Try talking about how they would feel if they had to make these decisions for you instead. Ask what their friends are doing about these types of
issues. Patience is key here! Most importantly, encourage them to really take a look at their values, lifestyle, and spiritual picture as they ultimately have to own the solutions.

Next, you’re ready to select the individuals you want on the caregiving team. Include any that apply: family members, doctors, home care specialist, attorney, certified elder law specialists, insurance agents, brokers, CPA, caregivers, certified financial planner, therapist, etc. Many of these professionals are trained to help families deal with health, financial, and social issues in a holistic way.

Step Three ~ Create a Financial Plan

Sit down with a certified financial planner and develop a financial plan that addresses the following:

Financial Position:

  • Create a cash flow statement which breaks down income and expenses
  • Determine net worth by listing assets and liabilities

Income Taxes:

  • Review tax situation for capital gains/losses with real estate or stocks
  • Discuss IRA planning, and pension /retirement distribution strategies

Investments:

  • Analyze investments for quality, safety, income needs, tax situation, etc.
  • Ensure investments are manageable, properly diversified, are not all over the place

Retirement:

  • Establish the assets necessary to meet your parents’ or loved ones’ lifetime income needs
  • Project retirement income needs in several situations (i.e. home care/assisted living, and utilizing long-term care insurance benefits, if applicable)

Estate:

  • Review documents and analyze current estate plan
  • Verify beneficiaries on life insurance, annuities, retirement plans, & 401K
  • Identify amount needed for financial independence, amount to leave for a family legacy, and how to allocate social legacy regarding gift and tax
  • May want to consult an Elder Law Attorney for estate planning

Protection:

  • Assess cash flow projections and alternate scenarios regarding disability, long- term care, and premature death

Step Four ~ Meet with Your Team and Create a Plan

Now that you have everything in place, sit down with your caregiving team members and develop a plan of action that satisfies your parents’ or loved ones’ goals, values, and objectives. The final product should enable them to maintain their dignity, lifestyle, and assets. In addition, the plan should be clear, concise, easy to manage, and tax-efficient. It should also acknowledge the needs of whoever becomes the main caregiver.

The benefits of early planning are numerous, including:

  • clarifying your parents’ or loved ones’ wishes
  • identifying the best possible resources
  • minimizing confusion and stress during times of crisis
  • increasing overall peace of mind

The end result? Everyone involved is able to sleep at night knowing all concerns have been addressed and that a team and a plan is in place to accommodate all those what ifs.

Katana Abbott, CFP® practitioner, is a Wealth Coach™, host of the Smart Women Talk Radio™, founder of the Smart Women Companies with over 1 million subscribers globally, inspirational speaker and author of several books. She began her financial planning career in 1987 and became a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner. In 2003, Katana created Smart Women’s Coaching® to offer financial coaching and educational workshops for women in transition who are dealing with caregiving, death of a loved one, divorce, retirement or looking to create or grow a business.  She founded Smart Women’s Empowerment in 2008 to bring free financial empowerment resources and programs to women around the world through her team of Contributing Experts. To learn more about Katana Abbott visit www.katanaabbott.com.

Caregiving Around the Clock

Caregiving Around the Clock

November is National Caregiver month, and we are honoring those around the world who care for aging or disabled loved ones. This could be special needs loved ones, aging loved ones with Dementia and other cognitive diseases, loved ones who simply need help with the daily activities of living that include things like meal preparation, shopping, bathing, doctor visits, help with medications, and managing financial issues.

As Roslyn Carter so eloquently stated: There are only 4 types of people: Those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who receive care, and those who will be caregivers in the future.

My mission for the last 30 years has been to teach individuals to prepare for becoming a caregiver or care-receiver well in advance of the “triggering event.” The secret to all planning is to start early when options are affordable and plentiful vs. reacting when you have less choices and may end up in court with no idea where important documents are located, being told what you can and can’t do by a judge, and then dealing with stress, family conflicts, and overwhelm.

Although this can be a very difficult topic to approach with loved ones, I suggest following these 5 steps so you can be prepared for the issues related to long term care and aging.  These steps include, but are not limited to:

  1. Having those important conversations with loved ones as soon as possible to ensure everyone is on board with a plan when the triggering event occurs.
  2. Getting organized so important documents and information is readily available in a “grab and go” binder.
  3. Meeting with an attorney who focuses on “eldercare” to create the proper legal documentation and processes to keep you out of court and in control during what can be a very stressful time.
  4. Exploring the new hybrid long-term care policies that can provide a tax-free stream of income to pay for all levels of care.
  5. AND making sure the Caregiver has a self-care plan in place.

It’s so easy to put things off until there’s a reason to act. This is such a difficult topic, but preparing in advance will make the experience so much easier for all.

To help you get started with the process, I am interviewing Elder Law Attorney, Danielle Mayoras, who will share the important legal planning that can be done no matter where you are in the process today.

I’m also interviewing Long Term Care Concierge, Annalee Kruger, who helps families be proactive in developing an Aging Plan and learn how to facilitate family meetings. Annalee is the gal to call if you are currently experiencing caregiver burnout.

Be sure to read my article above, A Caregiver’s Manual to Be Prepared for that Call in the Night. If you want to discuss your situation personally, email me at katana@katanaabbott.com or visit my online calendar and book a call with me at www.talkwithkatana.com.  I’d love to connect!

Katana Abbott, CFP® practitioner, is a Wealth Coach™, host of the Smart Women Talk Radio™, founder of the Smart Women Companies with over 1 million subscribers globally, inspirational speaker and author of several books. She began her financial planning career in 1987 and became a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner. In 2003, Katana created Smart Women’s Coaching® to offer financial coaching and educational workshops for women in transition who are dealing with caregiving, death of a loved one, divorce, retirement or looking to create or grow a business.  She founded Smart Women’s Empowerment in 2008 to bring free financial empowerment resources and programs to women around the world through her team of Contributing Experts. To learn more about Katana Abbott visit www.katanaabbott.com.

‘Diane’ examines the life unexamined

‘Diane’ examines the life unexamined

“Diane” (2018 production, 2019 release). Cast: Mary Kay Place, Jake Lacy, Estelle Parsons, Andrea Martin, Deirdre O’Connell, Glynnis O’Connor, Joyce Van Patten, Kerry Flanagan, Phyllis Somerville, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Ray Iannicelli, Marcia Haufrecht, Gabriella Rhodeen, Charles Weldon, Mary Fuller. Director: Kent Jones. Screenplay: Kent Jones. Web site. Trailer.

How often do we take stock of our lives? In many cases, we don’t even ask the question, let alone engage in the act of doing so. But, if our lives seem empty or missing something, we might consider evaluating who we are, what we’re doing and where we’re headed while we still have time to do something about it. The process may be difficult, even painful, but the solution may involve something as simple as just changing our outlook. So it is with an unstoppable caregiver in the thoughtful, profound new character study, “Diane.”
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Living Her Legacy

Living Her Legacy

As Henry Ford famously proclaimed, “Whether you think you can or whether think you can’t, you’re right.” Throughout my life, I have learned that it is the mindset and determination which decides a person’s success or failure.

I share with you my humble story. I was a refugee child, who with the help of a brave, confident, and hardworking mother, I was able to realize my dream.

My name is Damyanti Gupta. I was born on May 10, 1942 in a very small village of Sindh, British India. In 1947, India became independent from Great Britain. This was not an easy accomplishment, as India was divided in two parts – India and Pakistan. The bloodiest partition in the world’s history happened in my country. The part of India where my family lived became Pakistan. There were riots everywhere, and my family had to flee in the middle of night to the coastal city of Karachi where we were loaded on the cargo ships.

We floated for several days before finally reaching Bombay. When we got off the ship, we were labelled as refugees. We couldn’t communicate with anyone because we spoke different languages. We wandered around from city to city looking for work, and we finally settled in Baroda, Gujrat where I was admitted into a refugee school. We used to sit on the floor in the classroom because there was no furniture in the school. I began learning three languages. One I had to write from right to left and two from left to right.

My mother, who had only a fourth-grade education, told me that by going to school, I would get something that nobody could take away from me – a good education. She promised to help me, but said that I would need to my part by being a good student. She reminded me of this every day and kept her promise until the end.

When I was 13 years old, our prime minister, Jawaharlal “Pandit” Nehru, visited our city. I was very excited to see him in person and to listen to his message. I  found a place on the ground near the podium where he was to speak. Nehru said that after 200 years of British rule, India had no industry and that India needed industry. He looked at us and said that India needed engineers. Surveying the crowd, he said that he wasn’t just talking to the boys. He urged the girls to also consider this profession. This was the first time I had ever heard the word – engineer. I went home and told my mother that I want to become an engineer, so I began taking subjects to prepare me for engineering college.

After completing high school with very good grades, I was admitted into college for mechanical engineering. I was the first female to get into the engineering college. If being the only girl in the college wasn’t difficult enough, there wasn’t even a women’s restroom! I had to ride my bike over one and a half miles each way to use restroom. When the college’s Dean realized that I was there to stay, they built a beautiful ladies room just for me.

When I was 19 years old, I came across the biography of Henry Ford. In this book, Ford mentioned how he was successful in making cars affordable for the average-income family through his assembly-line concept. I began dreaming about one day working for Ford.

When I graduated from engineering college in my country, I applied to few universities in the United States for my master’s degree. I chose to attend Oklahoma State University because it was the least expensive of the universities I’d gained admission.

Sending their daughter to study in the United States was an incredibly big decision for my parents. This was going to cost them their life’s savings, and they still had three younger children at home. If sending their daughter to engineering college was not hard enough, sending her to the United States  was unheard of. Even family and friends made fun of my parents at the idea.

My father was not 100% sure, but my mother kept her promise. I will never forget the conversation my mother had with my father while trying to convince him to let me study in the United States. My mother asked my father if he had ever seen her waste any money? She asked, “Do I go out to eat or go to the movies? Have you ever seen me gamble even one rupee?”  My father asked why she was asking such silly questions. This is when my mother said, “Today, I am ready to gamble. She is going, and that is final.” There was no more discussion on the matter. This was her final verdict. No one said even one word after that.

I began my studies at Oklahoma State University inf January, 1966 where I was the first female engineer to be admitted. I graduated in January, 1967, and without hesitation, I headed to Dearborn, Michigan. I had no car, no boots – just my dream.

I became the first female engineer with an advanced degree at Ford Motor Company.

Damyanti “Rani” Gupta was born and raised during a very volatile time in India. Forced to leave everything they had worked so hard to achieve, Rani’s family fled to Mumbai. Her mother, who had only a fourth grade education, informed Rani the only thing that couldn’t be taken away was an education. And with those wise words, her mother promised that she would ensure Rani received an education. Rani first heard of engineering when she was 13 years old. It was at this time that Rani declared her desire to become an engineer. Rani was the first female to study engineering at her Indian college, and after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, she began work in Germany. Rani later moved to Oklahoma where she was the first female to receive a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University. After graduation, she moved to Detroit where she became Ford Motor Company’s first female engineer. Rani is the mother of two prominent sons, neurosurgeon and CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, and attorney, Suneel Gupta.

Living and Leaving Your Legacy

Living and Leaving Your Legacy

When most people hear the word legacy, they immediately think of money or something passed from one generation to the next.  But legacy is actually more about how we live our lives and how we are remembered. This idea seems to be shared by poet, Linda Ellis in the last line of her poem, The Dash:

So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash,
would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

With the end of 2018 quickly approaching, I feel it’s the perfect opportunity to discuss one of my favorite topics – legacy. December is often when we contemplate not only what we have accomplished during the year, but what we hope to achieve in the new year. It’s usually a time to be with family when we celebrate our values, food, and cherished traditions.

It’s also an ideal moment to ask our loved ones about their lives and what’s important to them especially our elders.  Listen to their stories, experiences, and lessons they have learned. I spent a week with my sister-in-law, Marilyn, last winter when my husband, Mark, was on his sabbatical. Each night over cocktail hour, the three of us would sit down together when Marilyn would share her life’s journey. We laughed and cried for hours together, and I captured all of it on my iPhone.

We received a call this fall that Marilyn had passed away.  What if I hadn’t recorded those stories?  These recordings are now being combined with photographs to create a Legacy Video for Mark’s family so these memories will live over time for our children and future generations. You too can do this, too!

This month, we have two interesting interviews for you on Smart Women Talk Radio.  Our first show this month features the inspirational Damyanti “Rani” Gupta, who has been creating her legacy through many “Firsts.”  Rani was the first woman to study engineering at her Indian college, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.  She was the first female to receive a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University.  After graduation, she moved to Detroit where she became Ford Motor Company’s first female engineer with an advanced degree. Her story was recently featured in TIME Magazine’s FIRSTS:  Women Who are Changing the World.  I’ve already had in-depth conversations with Rani, and you won’t want to miss this inspiring interview!  And if you are wondering about her name … yes, she is the mother of CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta.

Our second interview is on Christmas Day, and it’s an encore interview I did with author, Robb Lucy, where we talked about his book, How Will You Be Remembered?  The Definitive Guide to Creating and Sharing Your Life Stories.

In addition, you are invited to listen to my 25-Minute Legacy Story Master Class where I share how I combined the legacy planning process with traditional estate planning for my own parents and also share a powerful exercise you can immediately do to get more clarity about your life purpose and the meaning of your personal Dash. Have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones. And don’t miss this opportunity to listen to their many stories. Happy New Year!

Katana Abbott, CFP® practitioner, is a Wealth Coach™, host of the Smart Women Talk Radio™, founder of the Smart Women Companies with over 1 million subscribers globally, inspirational speaker and author of several books. She began her financial planning career in 1987 and became a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner. In 2003, Katana created Smart Women’s Coaching® to offer financial coaching and educational workshops for women in transition who are dealing with caregiving, death of a loved one, divorce, retirement or looking to create or grow a business.  She founded Smart Women’s Empowerment in 2008 to bring free financial empowerment resources and programs to women around the world through her team of Contributing Experts. To learn more about Katana Abbott visit www.katanaabbott.com.

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