Throughout the last several decades, the population of older Americans has steadily increased – and experts tell us that that growth will continue for the foreseeable future. In fact, by the year 2015, estimates indicate that seniors will outnumber their younger (age 21 and younger) counterparts for the first time in U.S. history. The rise in the elderly demographic has caused a corresponding focus on the issues and challenges that they face. Likewise, caregivers for the elderly frequently encounter problems they have never before faced.
Los Angeles County, California is the most populous county in the entire United States, with over 10 million residents as of 2018. Ten percent of the population, or one million residents, are age 65 or older in L.A. County, and seven percent of all households is made up of someone aged 65 or older living alone.
If you are part o the older population in Law Angeles County, or you are the caregiver of someone who is, you will undoubtedly encounter unique practical, social, and legal challenges that are related to the elderly demographic. Fortunately, there are resources available to help you. The elder law attorneys at Collins Law Group would like to make finding those resources easier for you. Toward that end, we have put together the following Los Angeles County, California elder law resources that we hope you find helpful.
By far, one of the most helpful resources for a resident of L.A. County is the county’s official website. On the website you will find contact information for county government offices as well as a wealth of information for residents. In addition, the website has an “Emergency” section where you will find things such as how to sign up for emergency alerts, earthquake preparation, and an emergency survival guide. Finally, as a resident of Los Angeles County, you will contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in the event of an emergency.
Nursing Home, Home Health Care, and Assisted Living Facilities
Thanks to advances in medicine, science and technology coupled with an overall improved standard of living, the average American can look forward to a considerably longer life expectancy than his/her ancestors had just a few generations ago. Nevertheless, the natural aging process catches up eventually. At that point, you may need assistance caring for yourself (or you may have a love one who needs assistance). Whether you only need someone to help with the daily tasks of living at your own home, or you require around the clock nursing care, Los Angeles County has an abundance of options. To help you find the right fit for your needs, you may wish to try using these reliable resources:
- The State of California’s “Health Facilities Search” website offers a searchable database of licensed nursing homes throughout the state.
- California Care Planning Council offers the ability to search for skilled nursing care as well as alternatives types of care for seniors. In addition, you will also find a wealth of additional information and resources for the elderly on the website.
- S Department of Health and Human Services offers the “eldercare locator” website which also offers a searchable database.
- com which offers you the ability to search for all types of care, including home care, assisted living care, and skilled nursing facilities in and near Commack.
- Nursing Home Compare found on the Medicare.gov. This is the official U.S. government’s website for Medicare, offering you the ability to search for and compare licenses nursing homes anywhere in the country.
Finding the perfect match for the type and level of care you need can be a challenge; however, the true challenge often comes afterward when you realize how much that care costs. In 2018, the average yearly cost of LTC nationwide was almost $100,000. California residents paid an average of just over $115,000 that same year for LTC. Unfortunately, neither Medicare nor most basic health insurance plans will pay for LTC expenses. Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program), however, will cover LTC expenses for those who qualify. The Medi-Cal eligibility guidelines can be challenging though for many seniors if they failed to plan ahead for the need to qualify. To ensure that your retirement nest egg is protected, and you are eligible for Medicaid if you need it in the future, the estate planning attorneys Collins Law Firm urge you to incorporate Medi-Cal planning into your comprehensive estate plan.
Leisure Time for Seniors
If you are a retiree, you already know that seniors today don’t consider their “Golden Years” to be a time to kick back and take it easy. On the contrary, today’s seniors often seek out new adventures while enjoying a very active social life. If you are looking for places to socialize, you might want to start with the Multipurpose Senior Centers located throughout Los Angeles. To find the one closest to you, navigate to the City of Los Angeles, Department of Aging’s website. If you happen to be a veteran, there are a number of VFW nearby and the American Legion Post 240 is located in Los Angeles County.
State and Federal Assistance Programs
Many state and federal resources and assistance programs are geared specifically at seniors. An excellent example is the California Department of Aging which administers programs that serve older adults, adults with disabilities, family caregivers, and residents in long-term care facilities throughout the State. The Department also administers funds allocated under the federal Older Americans Act, the Older Californians Act, and through the Medi-Cal program. Many seniors also qualify for assistance from the Social Security disability or Social Security retirement program. For information, including application instructions, visit the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability website. To sign up for your Social Security retirement benefits, navigate to the sign up website of the SSA. If you are a veteran, or the surviving spouse or dependent of a veteran, you may also be entitled to a number of benefits through the Veteran’s Administration. Along with well-known benefits such as pension and disability benefits, you might qualify for additional benefits you may not be familiar with, such as Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefits. Once you reach retirement age, you will likely be automatically enrolled in the Medicare program. Although basic Medicare is free to all seniors, Medicare actually has four parts and the other three parts may come with a premium. If you have questions about a covered service or need to find a provider, the official Medicare website can help. In addition, if you need help covering the high cost of long-term care at some point you might qualify for Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program. Although predominantly funded by the federal government, each individual state administers its own Medicaid program.
While these programs offer a wide array of much needed assistance and benefits to seniors, navigating the application process can be challenging. Many seniors are initially denied benefits and are too frustrated or intimidated to appeal that denial or apply a second time. The elder law attorneys Collins Law Office understand how exasperating it can be to run into one roadblock after another when trying to secure benefits to which you know you are entitled. Our attorneys and staff are dedicated to helping you in any way we can, whether you need help understanding the benefits available, applying for those benefits, or appealing a denial.
At Collins Law Firm, we are dedicate to helping seniors, and their caretakers, throughout Los Angeles County. The key to enjoying a less stressful retirement is planning ahead. For example, by incorporating a Medi-Cal planning component into your estate plan early on, you will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your assets are protected and your eligibility for Medi-Cal is assured should you need it in the future. Likewise, you should have an incapacity plan in place so you know ahead of time who will control your assets and who will make health care decisions for you if you become incapacitated down the road. As part of that plan, you may decide to execute an advance directive as well that will allow you to decide now what medical treatments you wish to approve or decline if you become seriously ill in the future.
The comprehensive estate plan you create now will protect you and your loved ones in the future. Please contact Collins Law Firm by calling (310) 677-9787 to register for one of our FREE estate planning workshops.