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Why long-term care planning is important for your parents

Many of us will enjoy the privilege of being able to spend time with our parents as they grow older. We are fortunate to live at a time in human history where medical advances make it possible for people to live well into their 70s and 80s. Unfortunately, one of the unintended consequences of advanced age are the diseases that can sometimes rob individuals of their abilities to properly care for themselves.

New York State allows residents to obtain guardianship over their loved ones in certain situations. If your elderly parents are currently suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer's or dementia, you may be able to establish guardianship of them so that you can better ensure the quality of their long-term care. The use of an experienced New York estate planning attorney can prove indispensable in that process.

Having guardianship of your parents allows you to monitor and control the health care providers tasked with looking after your parent's daily needs. In a perfect world, you should be able to rely on health care workers to provide the utmost levels of care and supervision of your parents at every long-term care facility throughout the state. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

In fact, there are some things you should be on the lookout for when determining whether your parents are receiving adequate treatment. According to the New York Department of Health, there are certain "red flags" in some long-term care facility statistics. For example, you should look for the percentage of patients in a facility that are being physically restrained. Also, look for the percentage of patients suffering from bedsores as this may indicate a lack of physical activity. The percentage of long-term patients for whom the care facility provided influenza flu vaccinations might also provide clues about a facilities patterns of practice.

Having guardianship over your elderly parents allows you the authority to remove your parents from potentially harmful situations. Taking the appropriate legal steps now to obtain guardianship may help you prevent your parent's unnecessary suffering in the future.

Source: New York State Department of Health, "Nursing Home Profile-Frequently asked questions" accessed Mar. 10, 2015

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