As elder care attorneys, our focus is always on ensuring our clients have their legal bases covered, their questions answered, and their estates protected. Part of that effort is providing peace of mind not only to our clients, but their family members, who want only the best for Mom and Dad. Whether it’s assistance with veteran’s benefits or Medicaid coverage or putting together a living trust, we’re confident in the services we provide. Sometimes, though, community and other government resources can be just what the doctor ordered.
As much pride as we take in our profession, we know too that more of a team approach is always better. The lawyers can cover the legalities, the medical professionals can cover the health considerations and of course, the family members are always right there doing what only a family member can do. There are also government resources that many are unaware of. This week, we thought we’d go over a few of them. Can any of them help your elderly family members?
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Prescription drugs are available for any ailment. The advances in our healthcare system in terms of care, cure and prevention methods is impressive. Even as recently as 40 years ago, no one could have predicted the marvelous discoveries that they were on the cusp of making. Still, and because of those discoveries, it’s crucial everyone is on the same page when it comes to an elderly parent who may see a couple of different doctors for different ailments.
We encourage caregivers to explore the FDA site and understand the side effects, conflicts with other prescription drugs and warning signs for anything an elderly patient might be taking. The database on the site is massive and includes every single drug that the government agency has approved. It’s an easy way to empower yourself. You can visit the site at fda.gov
Your U.S. Senator
Did you know that every single senator in this country has a staff whose sole purpose is to remain current on elder affairs? It might be that the staff is following legislative changes that might unfold or it could be that a massive criminal investigation is unfolding at a nursing home. These people – the ones we’ve dealt with over the years, which are many – are compassionate and there to serve their state’s elderly.
Whether it’s to advise a caretaker or go to bat for seniors over a possible new law, this is a great way to keep you finger on the pulse of potential legislative changes.
Visit senate.gov and then click on the Vermont Senators link.
And while we’re on the topic of our elected leaders, you might want to check in with your state representative, who may also (though it’s not as certain as your senator’s office) have a staff dedicated to elder affairs. Visit house.gov and then click on the Vermont link.
Area Agency on Aging
Many are unaware that their local Area Agency on Aging is federally mandated. Its staff includes professionals who can help provide drivers to doctor’s appointments, Meals on Wheels and a host of other duties you might need. You can meet with a counselor to discuss the various community programs and help you with anything you might wish to do – including making an appointment for you. You’d be surprised at the various opportunities that many of these offices have – including reading programs where you can either tutor a young person or receive tutoring. It’s a great way, if you’re able, to get involved in your community.
As always, our team of elder care and estate planning lawyers remain committed to our clients. It’s more about keeping all of the avenues open. Sometimes, it’s the little things that can change communities.