Mediation and Estate Planning Blog

Our Mother Needs Constant Care, but Our Family Disagrees on How to Provide Care for Her

Our mother needs constant care, but our family disagrees on how to provide care for her.

As our senior citizens are living longer, they might require specific care and medical attention that their families are unable to provide. We at MPSV have encountered this situation many times.

Below is a recap of our 5 steps plan of action we use to get the families the information they need to make an informed decision and reach an amicable solution.

1. Determine the physical ability and mental capacity of the elder

An evaluation of the physical ability and mental capacity of the elder can be done by a the doctor. The assessment should include a wide range of topics including the elders' mobility, bathing, dressing, eating and toileting ability, memory function..

2. Discuss the type of placement needed by the elder with the family members

Once the evaluation of the capability of the elder has been concluded, then an evaluation can be done as to the appropriate placement for the elder. The placement may be in the elder’s home with in-home care services, or a residential facility, or a skilled nursing facility.

It is at this stage that family members should start discussing the level of care needed by their loved one. Any discussion on this matter before phase one and two were completed will inevitably lead to a dead end for one simple reason: family members are simply not qualified to evaluate the physical and mental capacity of a person.

3. Compare costs versus financial resources of the elder to find a place the elder and/or the family members can afford

Once the level of care and assistance required by the elder has been determined, it is then necessary to look at the cost of the various options. The family should seek the assistance of financial professionals. For instance, it might be appropriate to have a trained financial planner assist in creating a model to determine how long the elder’s money would last if the elder was placed in a particular facility. Likewise, because there is always the possibility that the elder will run out of money, the family may want to consult with an elder law attorney to determine how the elder could best plan for Medi-Cal eligibility.

4. Determine the costs versus resources ratio

Based on our experience, we believe it is important to observe these following easy steps to determine the costs versus resources ratio:

Look at the elder income on a monthly basis and determine the monthly costs.

Check every state and federal allowances the elder is entitled to such as but not limited to: social security, monthly pension, life insurance, veterans benefits..

If the elder is a homeowner could the house be rented, and if so what would be the monthly income derived from the rental of the house. Or, should the house be sold and the proceeds invested in order to generate a monthly income for the elder care?

5. Bear in mind the importance the facility location

Once the family has determined the budget available to take care of the elder, the family members should be mindful of which location would be best for the elder. If the elder has strong ties in their local neighborhood it may be appropriate to find a facility in that neighborhood so that their friends can visit them on a regular basis. Many times, if the elder is placed across town their elderly friends will not have the ability to come and visit them.

Finally, another crucial consideration is the proximity to children–which location would be the most convenient for the children to be able to come and visit the elder.

Once all of these issues have been considered and discussed with the help of a mediator, almost all the time, an appropriate placement can be agreed upon. Play by the above rules, make it simple by relying on facts instead of emotions only and you have every chance to achieve a win- win solution that works for every person involved in a timely manner.

Please contact us if we can be of assistance in working with a family you know to help resolve or manage conflict. We have the passion and the experience to assist families in distress.

Sophia Delacotte