Experts Discussed Innovative Resources for Quality Caregiving
As many more baby boomers and seniors on Long Island are caring for elderly family members, stress levels are up overall for family caregivers and the “sandwich generation”. To provide caregivers with legal advice, practical solutions and resources to make their caregiving jobs more manageable, Cona Elder Law and Hofstra University School of Law recently held a Caregiver Conference attended by over 200 people.
“We were delighted to have four expert speakers cover such issues as protecting assets, financing health care, strategizing long term care, accessing services and benefits, and providing quality living for family members who suffer with dementia,” explains Jennifer Cona, Esq., managing partner, Cona Elder Law. Many companies that provide services and products for seniors and caregivers were also available to answer questions and distribute important materials.
Attendees learned how to navigate the system of benefits, such as community programs, government benefits like Medicaid and Veterans benefits, how to engage in proper planning to protect assets and options to finance long term care. They also got practical tips on the best ways to communicate with family members who have dementia, redirect behavior patterns and create meaningful routines.
Paul Hyl, Esq., partner at Cona Elder Law, discussed asset protection strategies. “It’s always best to plan early, but it’s never too late to preserve some assets,” said Paul. He explained different types of trusts that can be used to transfer assets out of a person’s name who may have future care needs. For those that haven’t planned ahead, Paul spoke about the use of a promissory note to save assets even after someone is in a nursing home.
Melissa Negrin-Wiener, Esq., partner at Cona Elder Law, focused on various community programs and ways to finance chronic health care needs for seniors. She reviewed the Medicaid requirements for community care/home care as well as nursing home care, including the look back period whereby the government analyzes financial transactions before giving approval for these benefits. “Planning and eligibility for the different government programs varies widely so you need to be sure you get not only the correct information, but the broadest picture first before deciding what course of action to take for your loved one,” explained Ms. Negrin-Wiener.
Natalie Karp, MBA, CLTC and Rona Loshak, MBA, CLTC, co-owners of Karp Loshak LTC Insurance Solutions, explained the latest strategies in financing long term care. “Because 2/3 of long-term care insurance claims are for women, the carriers are changing to gender-based pricing and are planning to charge women 20-40% more in premiums,” explained Natalie, who urged women sitting on the fence to take action now. The duo also discussed the New York State Partnership plans and the new reciprocity rules and educated the audience on the new hybrid long-term care policies which combine life and long-term care insurance.
Quality of Life Specialist and owner of Innovations for Quality Living, Barbara Speedling, emphasized that if you want the right treatment for your loved one, you must get the right diagnosis. “It’s important to keep someone with dementia stimulated,” says Barbara. “You can sing a song they love, play a game, or go on outings - as long as you keep the person engaged.” Barbara provided tips on everything from finding the right medication to managing behaviors common to the disease.
Sponsors of the conference included:
Cona Elder Law PLLC
Hofstra University School of Law
The Bristal Assisted Living
Karp Loshak LTC Insurance Solutions
Long Island State Veterans Home
United Adult Ministries
Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation
Cona Elder Law is recognized as a leading elder law and estate planning firm on Long Island. The firm provides creative advocacy and cutting edge planning strategies and has been featured in many publications including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, L.I. Business News, Kiplinger’s, Reader's Digest and many others. Cona Elder Law attorneys are frequent contributors to Newsday’s Act II “Ask the Expert” column and have appeared as guests on WNBC-TV, CNN-fn, News 12, News 55, Channel 21 "Act II With Newsday" and many radio stations including WOR, WCBS AM and WFAN.