Column: Helping our aging parents

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Commentary by Jon Quick

So many of us can relate to this story. Mom and Dad are well into retirement. They have enjoyed much of it, but as age takes over, they begin having difficulty with activities which once were simple – making meals, driving a car, handling their finances. Add in complex changes to health care from Obamacare and new Medicaid rules, and many seniors and their families don’t know where to turn.

CIC-VIEWS-1125-Aging parents

Geyer

Not many know there is help available through the assistance of an elder law attorney. “Elder law attorneys concentrate their practice on assisting clients with the complex issues of aging. We address health insurance issues, living arrangements, competency, financial concerns, and much more. Elder law attorneys serve as resources to assist families in finding answers to the questions which arise as people age,” said Rebecca Geyer, President of the Indiana Chapter of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys, a non-profit association consisting of lawyers who work with older clients, people with special needs, and their families in the state of Indiana.

This year has seen many changes affecting Indiana’s seniors, especially those on Medicaid. More than two-thirds of Indiana nursing home residents receive assistance through Medicaid, and thousands more receive Medicaid assistance at home or in assisted living. In June, Indiana implemented significant changes to its Medicaid rules as Indiana became what is known as an SSI state. “NAELA led a massive pro bono effort to prepare Qualified Income Trusts (also known as Miller Trusts) for nursing home residents who are now required to have these trusts in place if their monthly income exceeds $2,163. NAELA members can provide help and guidance through the sometimes difficult challenges of understanding Indiana’s new health care regulations,” Geyer said.

Targeting Scams Against Seniors

NAELA is also at the forefront of protecting seniors from financial abuse. Too often we read about instances of fraud and scams against our elder population. Seniors are especially vulnerable to identity theft, phone and internet scams. They receive calls from people claiming to be the Social Security Administration telling them that they owe, in some cases, thousands of dollars in order to continue to get Social Security and insurance coverage from the government. Some scam artists have even figured out ways to make words like “IRS” show up on telephone caller IDs. Geyer said “NAELA works closely with the Indiana Adult Guardianship office and the Attorney General’s office to deal with these elder fraud issues.”

If you or your family are confronting issues of aging, consider seeking help or advice from an elder law attorney. For more information, visit NAELA.org.

Jon Quick was a long time Executive for Emmis and CBS Radio.

Jon is now President of the Carmel based marketing firm QPR & marketing. He can be reached at Jon@QPRmarketing.com

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