The older population in the United States has beengrowing at an unprecedented rate for the last several decades – and expertstell us the trend will continue for the foreseeable future. As a result of thesenior population explosion, issues that impact seniors, and those who care forthem, have taken center stage in the U.S. in recent years. The legal communityhas also taken note and created a new practice area known as “elder law” thatfocuses 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 13.9percent of that population.
Whether you are a senior yourself, a caregiver, or aloved one, finding resources to help with many of these issues can bechallenging. To help get you started, the Yukon, Oklahoma elder lawattorneys at Parman & Easterdayhave compiled some elder law resources that may be beneficial. If you have aspecific elder law question or concern, please feel free to contact our officeat (405) 843-6100 to schedule a consultation.
Whether you are young or old, it is always wise toprepare for the possibility of an emergency by having contact information forsome of the more frequently used local government resources handy. Many of thosecan be found on the official City of Yukon website. On the city’s website you will findinformation and links to most city government officesas well as a calendar of local events. If you need to contact local lawenforcement, you will need to navigate to the City of Yukon Police Department’s website for contactinformation.
Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, and Home Health Care
Although we can all look forward to a much longeraverage life expectancy than our ancestors had just a few generations ago, thenatural aging process catches up to all of us eventually in the form ofphysical and/or mental deterioration. At some point, it may become unsafe toremain in your home by yourself which may prompt the search for assisted livingor nursing home care. Yukon residents are fortunate to have a wide variety ofoptions from which to choose in this area. If you are looking for assistedliving or nursing home care for yourself or for your loved one, the followingresources may be of help:
- The Oklahoma State Department of Health offers a directory of licensedlong-term care facilities throughout the state.
- U.S Department of Health and HumanServices offers the “eldercare locator”website which also offers a searchable database.
- Caring.comwhich offers you the ability to search for all types of care, including homecare, assisted living care, and skilled nursing facilities in and near Yukon.
- Nursing Home Compare found on the Medicare.gov. This is theofficial U.S. government’s website for Medicare, offering you the ability tosearch for and compare licensed nursing homes anywhere in the country.
The cost of long-term care (LTC) in the United Stateshas increased dramatically right along with the older population, and isexpected to continue to increase in the years to come. In 2018, the averageyearly cost of LTC throughout the United States was $100,000 and the averagelength of stay was about three years. Oklahoma residents were fortunate in thatthey paid on average, considerably less than the national average at just under$65,000 per year for LTC. Planning ahead remains imperative though becauseneither Medicare nor most basic health insurance plans cover the expensesassociated with LTC. Fortunately,Medicaid does cover LTC expenses; however the Medicaid eligibility guidelinescan be problematic for many seniors which is what makes advanced planning soimportant. With this is mind, the estate planning attorneys at Parman &Easterday urge you to incorporate Medicaid planning into your comprehensiveestate plan as soon as possible to avoid facing transfer penalties that can beimposed if you transfer assets within the five year period prior to applyingfor Medicaid benefits.
Today’s seniors are not content to just sit in theirrocking chairs on the front porch and watch the world go by. Instead, mostseniors consider retirement to be an opportunity to work on that bucket listwith old friends or to meet new friends with whom they can have newadventures. If you are looking forplaces to mingle or meet new friends, the Dale Robertson Center is a good place to start. If you are aveteran, 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 assistanceprograms are geared specifically at seniors. An excellent example is the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Aging Services. Many seniors also qualify for assistance fromthe Social Security disability or Social Security retirement program. For information, includingapplication 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 survivingspouse or dependent of a veteran, you may also be entitled to a number ofbenefits through the Veteran’s Administration. Along with well-known benefits such aspension and disability benefits, you might qualify for additional benefits youmay not be familiar with, such as Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefits. Once you reach retirement age, you will likely be automatically enrolledin the Medicare program. Although basic Medicare is free to all seniors,Medicare actually has four parts and the other three parts may come with apremium. If you have questions about a covered service or need to find aprovider, the official Medicare website can help. Inaddition, if you need help covering the high cost of long-term care at somepoint you might qualify for SoonerCare(Oklahoma’s Medicaid program).
Fortunately, there are a wide range of state andfederal benefits and services available to help seniors. Making sense of theeligibility guidelines and navigating the application process, however, can bechallenging. The elder law attorneys at Parman & Easterday arefamiliar with the various benefits and services to which you may be entitledand are committed to helping you with any questions or concerns you may haveabout eligibility or appealing a denial. Whether you are a senior yourself or acaregiver, we are here if you need us.
Our experienced elder law attorneys are also availableto assist you with other areas typically of concern to seniors and those whocare for them, such as incapacity planning, asset protection and incorporatingyour retirement plans into your estate plan. If you have additional elder lawquestions or concerns, or you need assistance with an elder law issue in Yukon, Oklahoma, contactthe experienced elder law attorneysat Parman & Easterday by calling 405-843-6100to schedule your appointment today.