The older population in the United States has been growing at an unprecedented rate for the last several decades – and experts tell us the trend will continue for the foreseeable future. As a result of the senior population explosion, issues that impact seniors, and those who care for them, have taken center stage in the U.S. in recent years. The legal community has also taken note and created a new practice area known as “elder law” that focuses on the needs of seniors and their caregivers. As of the 2010 Census, Yukon, Oklahoma was home to 22,709 with residents aged 65 and older making up 13.9 percent of that population.
Whether you are a senior yourself, a caregiver, or a loved one, finding resources to help with many of these issues can be challenging. To help get you started, the Yukon, Oklahoma elder law attorneys at Parman & Easterday have compiled some elder law resources that may be beneficial. If you have a specific elder law question or concern, please feel free to contact our office at (405) 843-6100 to schedule a consultation.
Whether you are young or old, it is always wise to prepare for the possibility of an emergency by having contact information for some of the more frequently used local government resources handy. Many of those can be found on the official City of Yukon website. On the city’s website you will find information and links to most city government offices as well as a calendar of local events. If you need to contact local law enforcement, you will need to navigate to the City of Yukon Police Department’s website for contact information.
Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, and Home Health Care
Although we can all look forward to a much longer average life expectancy than our ancestors had just a few generations ago, the natural aging process catches up to all of us eventually in the form of physical and/or mental deterioration. At some point, it may become unsafe to remain in your home by yourself which may prompt the search for assisted living or nursing home care. Yukon residents are fortunate to have a wide variety of options from which to choose in this area. If you are looking for assisted living or nursing home care for yourself or for your loved one, the following resources may be of help:
- The Oklahoma State Department of Health offers a directory of licensed long-term care facilities throughout the state.
- U.S Department of Health and Human Services 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 Yukon.
- 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.
The cost of long-term care (LTC) in the United States has increased dramatically right along with the older population, and is expected to continue to increase in the years to come. In 2018, the average yearly cost of LTC throughout the United States was $100,000 and the average length of stay was about three years. Oklahoma residents were fortunate in that they paid on average, considerably less than the national average at just under $65,000 per year for LTC. Planning ahead remains imperative though 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. With this is mind, the estate planning attorneys at Parman & Easterday urge you to incorporate Medicaid planning into your comprehensive estate plan as soon as possible to avoid facing transfer penalties that can be imposed if you transfer assets within the five year period prior to applying for Medicaid benefits.
Today’s seniors are not content to just sit in their rocking chairs on the front porch and watch the world go by. Instead, most seniors consider retirement to be an opportunity to work on that bucket list with old friends or to meet new friends with whom they can have new adventures. If you are looking for places to mingle or meet new friends, the Dale Robertson Center is a good place to start. If you are a veteran, you may wish to visit the American Legion Post #160 or the nearby VFW post #9265.
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).
Fortunately, there are a wide range of state and federal benefits and services available to help seniors. Making sense of the eligibility guidelines and navigating the application process, however, can be challenging. The elder law attorneys at Parman & Easterday are familiar with the various benefits and services to which you may be entitled and are committed to helping you with any questions or concerns you may have about eligibility or appealing a denial. Whether you are a senior yourself or a caregiver, we are here if you need us.
Our experienced elder law attorneys are also available to assist you with other areas typically of concern to seniors and those who care for them, such as incapacity planning, asset protection and incorporating your retirement plans into your estate plan. If you have additional elder law questions or concerns, or you need assistance with an elder law issue in Yukon, Oklahoma, contact the experienced elder law attorneys at Parman & Easterday by calling 405-843-6100 to schedule your appointment today.