Nancy Fiedelman, Eldercare Consultant
Most people don’t plan – they deal with issues as they occur. It’s important to talk to your family members in advance because if you wait until you need help, you might not have the time to explore all the options. You will make better decisions if you have a good knowledge base.
The Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP)
is a free program that offers “confidential help and advice about health insurance and long-term care insurance.”
Family needs to know where it is and understand the wishes.
Durable Power of Attorney:
There are actually several kinds, which can vary as to the amount of authority granted and when they come into effect.
The two kinds mentioned: a “current power of attorney” takes effect immediately upon execution and the “springing power of attorney” takes effect upon the happening of a certain event (such as when one becomes incapacitated).
It is important to consult an attorney when drawing up this document and to cover aspects you don’t understand or changes in the law.
The “Transportation Guide to Northern Virginia” is available through the Fairfax County website.
Some things you’ll find out about are:
MetroAccess: Available from 5:30 am – midnight 7 days a week.
Fairfax Seniors on the Go is income related for people over 65. Red Top Taxi gives a 10% discount.
Also, the Jewish Council for the Aging offers Connect a Ride and it’s non-sectarian. Call 703-323-6494.
Long term care insurance:
Review your policy regularly because benefits and needs change.
What does Medicare cover?
Medicare Part A covers hospital.
Medicare Part B covers medical.
A copy of Medicare & You is available every year. It summarizes Medicare benefits, rights and protections and answers frequently asked questions.
Medicaid is not just for indigents. Consult with an attorney to understand your situation and get advice on your future.
How to find an Elder Law Attorney:
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)
Area Agency on Aging is a good resource but won’t refer you to non-governmental professionals.
There are different kinds of retirement communities. Do your research and check out lots of different places. Just because someone you know likes one, doesn’t mean it will be the right one for you.
How do you evaluate in-home services?
Fairfax county has a handout.
Home care agencies can have independent contractors or employees.
There is a series of free books available from the National Parkinson Foundation on topics like speech and swallowing, and nutrition.