Understanding Senior Care and Elder Law


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Senior care and elder law are closely related industries that seek to provide care and protection for one of our most vulnerable populations - senior citizens. But while distinctly different, senior care and elder law often intersect when it comes to the needs of our aging family members. Understanding what each is and how it can help your elder loved one can significantly improve the lifestyle of your entire family.

Senior care is a healthcare field dedicated to providing basic assistance and medical care for seniors. The field broadly refers to three primary types of care:

In Home Care - The type of care that allows for the highest level of independence, in home care is provided by skilled professionals in the home of the elderly person. This can include full time, part time or relief care services.

Assisted Living - Assisted living generally refers to a community designed, built and managed in such a way as to provide long term support to seniors. Members of assisted living communities often live in their own apartment or condominium and have access to a variety of senior care services.

Nursing Care - Nursing care is the most intensive level of care and offers full medical services including medication management. Nursing care residents live in a specialized facility staffed by nurses and their aides, and in some cases psychiatrists and medical doctors are part of the regular staff.

Elder law is a relatively new field of law that deals exclusively with legal issues related to senior citizens. This includes estate planning, wills and trusts, laws dealing with insurance and medical care, and laws that protect the elderly from neglect or abuse.

Senior care and elder law intersect in the following 2 ways:

1.) Life Decisions

There are complicated laws surrounding legal issues like wills, long term care and estate planning. These laws require legal counsel even in the most ideal situations, but what often happens is that families begin asking about these laws only after a crisis has occurred.

For instance, in the case of an elderly family member suddenly taking ill and being unable to make their own rational decisions, legal intervention is often required in order for long term care to proceed. And in cases of dementia where family members want to provide care at home; there are legal responsibilities that must be undertaken when doing so.

The best solution to these problems is to create a plan before crisis occurs.

2.) Protection from Abuse

It's unfortunate that we would need them, but there are laws in place that protect seniors from neglect or abuse. In many cases the punishment for violating these laws are severe and come with hefty prison sentences. Family members that suspect their loved ones are being mistreated can take action by invoking elder law. Authorities are required to rigorously investigate any such claims.

Senior care is ultimately governed by elder law, so developing an understanding of the two is critical to providing a lifetime of support for an elderly family member. To learn more, call a professional in home care giver or senior care provider for an immediate consultation.

About the Author

Senior care and elder law are closely related industries that seek to provide care and protection for one of our most vulnerable populations - senior citizens. But while distinctly different, senior care and elder law often intersect when it comes to the needs of our aging family members.

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