MAXIMIZING QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ELDERS AND THEIR CAREGIVERS
Life Care Planning helps families respond with confidence to the challenge created by long life, chronic illness, and long-term disability. Law firms that practice this unique, elder-centered specialty of law are called Life Care Planning Law Firms. As a Life Care Planning Law Firm, the Flammia Elder Law Firm features an interdisciplinary team that works together to identify present and potential future care needs, locate appropriate care, and ensure high-quality care.
Life Care Planning gives families unprecedented power, control, and peace of mind throughout the long-term care journey. You owe it to yourself—and to your loved one—to find out more about this innovative approach.
Attorney, Kathleen Flammia, has helped us tremendously with handling legal matters pertaining to our aging mother. Through the complicated system and decision making process, she has guided and assisted us step by step. She is supportive and professional and has a staff that offers the same caliber of service.
5 Star Google Review – P.T.
Life Care Planning FAQ
What is a Life Care Plan?
Life Care Planning is the future of elder law. This planning approach integrates long-term care coordination and elder law services into an individually-tailored legal plan for each client. It provides older adults and their families with guidance for handling the inevitable challenges created by caring for an aging loved one.
A Life Care Plan defines, organizes, prioritizes, and mobilizes every aspect of an elder’s care. In addition to traditional asset-focused elder law services that help elders qualify for public benefits while preserving family wealth to the greatest extent possible, a Life Care Plan typically includes provisions for care coordination and other forms of family support.
The goal of Life Care Planning is to promote and maintain the health, safety, well-being, and quality of life of elders. Every Life Care Plan is designed to achieve three primary objectives:
- Make sure the elder gets appropriate care, whether at home or in a residential facility, and to maintain the quality of life that he or she desires
- Locate public and private sources to help pay for long-term care while resolving issues created by the high cost of care
- Offer the peace of mind that results when the right choices are made to ensure loved ones are safe and getting the right care, while preserving family resources
The Flammia Elder Law Firm uses a model called the Elder Care Continuum to help families understand the natural progression of aging and its impact on a loved one’s health, mobility, housing, and financial resources. An initial meeting with the Flammia Elder Law Firm may focus on the elderly loved one’s place on each line of the Elder Care Continuum. Gaps in care can then be identified and solutions discussed for closing those gaps.
What services does a Life Care Plan include?
Each Life Care Plan is customized to meet the needs of the individual and family involved. Most Life Care Plans will include one or more of the following services.
Legal Services: The legal issues created by aging, illness, chronic conditions, or disability can be terrifying. That’s why every Life Care Plan includes a customized mix of legal services designed to protect the loved one’s interests and to provide for dependents and other family members – now and in the future. Your Life Care Plan will include Elder Law, Estate Planning, and advocacy services that are appropriate for your loved one’s circumstances. You and your family can relax knowing that you are surrounded with legal support from experts who are familiar with every aspect of your situation.
Care Coordination: Many families who need help protecting an elderly loved one’s assets also need assistance finding and coordinating care. They need guidance with decision-making as the elder’s condition progresses. That’s why care coordination services are part of nearly every Life Care Plan we develop.
Client Advocacy: Elders have a legal right to safe, effective, and patient-centered health care and long-term care. A Life Care Plan protects those rights. Our Florida Bar Board Certified Elder Law Attorney and elder care coordinators work together to provide advocacy services that empower family caregivers and protect the quality of life of elders.
When is the right time to create a Life Care Plan?
The right time is immediately after any event that leaves you concerned about your loved one’s future. Trigger events like the ones listed below signal that a person’s condition is deteriorating, even though it could be months or years before long-term care outside the home is needed.
- A diagnosis of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, or other chronic condition
- A catastrophic event such as a fall, medication mishap, fire, accident in the home, or a car wreck
- Discovering that your loved one is wandering, malnourished, dehydrated, or unable to care for him/herself due to functional limitations
- A medical event such as a stroke, heart attack, or aneurism
- Burnout of the loved one’s primary caregiver
You could wait until the elder needs immediate nursing home care to develop a Life Care Plan. However, the delay puts you, your family, and your loved one at a distinct disadvantage. That’s why pre-crisis Life Care Planning is so valuable. A Pre-Crisis Life Care Plan benefits you and your family in several important ways:
- It helps get your loved one the care he or she needs today, which offers welcome relief for caregivers.
- It plugs you into our network of community services and resources.
- It increases the chances that your loved one can age at home, which helps preserve independence and dignity.
- It puts all your legal and financial affairs in order.
- It enables your family to avoid the asset protection crisis when your loved one makes the transition to long-term care outside the home.
- It empowers you with a network of support that will help you deal with every legal, health care, and long-term care transition that your elder will face for the rest of his or her life.
How is Life Care Planning different from Elder Law?
Traditional elder law practices are primarily asset-focused. Conversely, the Flammia Elder Law Firm is an elder-centered practice in which bettering our elderly clients’ lives is the main consideration. Instead of focusing on what happens to the client’s estate after death, Life Care Planning focuses on maximizing the client’s resources to promote his or her quality of care and quality of life for the remainder life.
Although preserving assets for future generations is not our primary goal, it is naturally an integral component of careful planning and resource allocation in most cases. In other words, the family benefits from a Life Care Plan in more ways than one. When we coordinate care for our elder clients, the family gets relief from the constant worry and demands inherent to family care giving.
What kind of “plan” is a Life Care Plan?
The Life Care Plan is a written, dynamic compilation of 1) identified present needs, 2) projected future needs, and 3) recommendations for decision-making related to good long-term care and financial prudence. Our team identifies all areas of concern for the client and/or family, many of which they may have been unaware. We sometimes have to reshape the Life Care Plan to adapt to changes in a client’s situation. Additionally, the plan presents proactive solutions to help prevent the infamous final destination of improper or ignored long-term care planning: the nursing home.
While the plan is important, the heart of Life Care Planning involves the relationships created between our clients and our staff. Elders experience more unexpected “events” with serious implications than any other demographic in the U.S. So, by coordinating our client’s care, the family can be prepared for what might suddenly occur. Should a crisis arise, families armed with a Life Care Plan and a direct line to our expert staff can avoid the kind of frantic action that clouds judgement and hampers decision-making. Without help, bad decisions during a crisis can have major implications. But that’s why we’re here – as your guide and advocate during whatever phase of the aging process your loved one has entered.
What’s in a Life Care Plan?
In addition to legal/elder law services, a Life Care Plan typically includes the following:
- Assessment: the Flammia Elder Law Firm’s elder care coordinator performs an initial evaluation of the elderly loved one in his or her current setting (i.e. home, senior community, health care facility, etc.).
- Recommendations: After review and discussion of the assessment, our team creates an individualized Life Care Plan made up of legal, health care, and long-term care recommendations. The decisions are ultimately the client’s to make, and we put his or her wishes into action.
- Placement: We identify the best living arrangements, as well as community resources, for each client’s specific situation.
- Transition: If our client moves from one location to another (from home to assisted living, from the hospital back home, etc.), we ensure that everything is handled as it should.
- Advocacy: We educate the client and family caregivers about their rights. If problems arise with a provider, we step in to advocate on their behalf.
How does a Life Care Plan benefit the elder and family caregivers?
The elderly or disabled loved one gets the right care sooner, as much independence as possible for as long as possible, and the ability to age with dignity. Families get help finding the right care and services, guidance with legal, health care, and long-term care decisions as the elder’s condition progresses, and security because the spouse and dependents are provided for. Whether you live across the street or across the country, a Life Care Plan offers welcome reassurance that your loved one will enjoy the best possible quality of life until the end of life.