Throughout the nation the number of older Americans is increasing at a historic rate. Experts tell us that the dramatic growth in the senior population is a result of an increased life expectancy coupled with the fact that members of the Baby Boomer generation – the largest generation in history – are entering their retirement years. While seniors face many of the same problems that their younger counterparts do, they also struggle with unique issues and challenges. Moreover, those who care for them often encounter problems they have never before faced. As of the 2010 Census, Edmond, Oklahoma, was home to 81,405 people and the median age of residents was 34.8 years.
As a senior, or the loved one of an older adult, you will likely face social and legal challenges that are unique to the elderly. The good news is there are resources available to help you with many of the issues you may face. The elder law attorneys at Parman & Easterday would like to make finding those resources easier for you. Toward that end, we have put together the following Edmond, Oklahoma, area elder law resources that we hope you find helpful. If you have specific questions or concerns about an elder law issue, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.
As a resident of Edmond, you will undoubtedly find the need to contact local government offices from time to time. The best place to start for general city resources is the official City of Edmond, Oklahoma, website. On the city’s website you will find information and links to most city government offices as well as answers to many common questions. If you need to contact local law enforcement, go to the Edmond Police Department’s website for contact information.
Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, and Home Health Care
Most seniors prefer to remain in their own home as long as they are safely able to do so. At some point, however, the physical and/or mental deterioration caused by the natural aging process may make remaining home alone dangerous. If you have reached that point, or if a loved one has, it may be time to consider alternatives, such as daily home health care, assisted living, or nursing home care. Edmond and the surrounding area offers numerous options from which to choose. A number of reliable resources are also available to help you find the care you need, including:
- The Oklahoma State Department of Health offers a directory of licensed long-term care facilities throughout the state.
- The U.S. Administration on Aging offers the “eldercare locator” website which also offers a searchable database.
- Caring.com which offers you the ability to search for all types of care, including home care, assisted living care, and skilled nursing facilities in and near Edmond.
- Nursing Home Compare found on the Medicare.gov. This is the official U.S. government’s website for Medicare, offering you the ability to search for and compare licensed nursing homes anywhere in the country.
Locating the right long-term care (LTC) facility is only half of the battle, though. Figuring out how to pay for the high cost of LTC is the other half. In 2018, the average yearly cost of LTC nationwide was almost $100,000. As a resident of Edmond, Oklahoma, you are fortunate in that the average LTC costs averaged considerably less than the national average, at about $65,000, that same year. Nevertheless, if you are forced to pay those costs out of pocket your retirement nest egg could disappear quickly.
Planning ahead is imperative because neither Medicare nor most basic health insurance plans cover the expenses associated with LTC. Fortunately, Medicaid does cover LTC expenses; however the Medicaid eligibility guidelines can be problematic for many seniors which is what makes advanced planning so important. To ensure that your retirement nest egg is protected, and you are eligible for Medicaid if you need it in the future, the estate planning attorneys at Parman & Easterday can help you incorporate Medicaid planning into your comprehensive estate plan.
Retirement most certainly does not need to lead to the end of your social life. On the contrary, most seniors enjoy an active social life as long as they are able to do so. If you are looking for places to mingle, meet new friends, or find services that may help you within the community, a great place to start is the Edmond Senior Center. If you are a veteran, you may wish to visit the American Legion Post #111 or the VFW post #4938 in Edmond.
State and Federal Assistance
Many state and federal resources and assistance programs are geared specifically at seniors. An excellent example is the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Aging Services. Many seniors also qualify for assistance from the Social Security disability or Social Security retirement program. For information, including application instructions, visit the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability website. To sign up for your Social Security retirement benefits, navigate to the sign-up website of the SSA. If you are a veteran, or the surviving spouse or dependent of a veteran, you may also be entitled to a number of benefits through the Veteran’s Administration. Along with well-known benefits such as pension and disability benefits, you might qualify for additional benefits you may not be familiar with, such as Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefits.
Once you reach retirement age, you will likely be automatically enrolled in the Medicare program. Although basic Medicare is free to all seniors, Medicare actually has four parts and the other three parts may come with a premium. If you have questions about a covered service or need to find a provider, the official Medicare website can help. In addition, if you need help covering the high cost of long-term care at some point you might qualify for SoonerCare (Oklahoma’s Medicaid program).
Although you (or your loved one) may be entitled to a wide variety of benefits, getting an application completed and approved can be a monumental task. Navigating the governmental red tape can be challenging under the best of circumstances. If you are attempting to apply on behalf of a family member or other loved one, it may be even more difficult if you do not yet have guardianship over the applicant. Worse still is the reality that a significant percentage of initial applications for benefits are denied, often for no other reason than the application itself was missing information and/or documentation. The elder law attorneys at Parman & Easterday are available to help you through the process from understanding what benefits are available to you to making sure you are in a position to get approved for all the assistance available.
At Parman & Easterday we are committed to helping the older population in Edmond, Oklahoma, and their caregivers. Toward that end, we encourage you to consider planning ahead for long-term care by incorporating Medicaid planning into your estate plan as well as reviewing your existing estate plan to make sure other areas of importance are covered. For example, as a senior it is vital that you have an incapacity plan in place that includes tools and strategies necessary to protect your assets. If you have strong feelings about end-of-life medical care, executing an advance directive that would legally require health care professionals to honor your wishes is a wise choice. Finally, we often recommend creating a funeral plan and incorporating it into your estate plan. Doing so can prevent conflict among your loved ones after you are gone and guarantee that your funeral and burial will occur in accordance with your wishes.
If you need assistance with an elder law issue in Edmond, Oklahoma, contact the experienced elder law attorneys at Parman & Easterday by calling 405-843-6100 to schedule your complimentary appointment today.