Underestimating the Risk of Disability
No one likes to think about the possibility of their own disability or the disability of a loved one. However, as the statistics below demonstrate, we should all plan for at least a temporary disability.
Most individuals will face at least a temporary disability at some point during their lifetime.
Study after study confirms that one in three Americans will face at least a temporary disability before they reach the age of 65. In raw numbers, over 37 million Americans, or roughly 12% of the total population, are classified as disabled according to the 2010 census. Surprisingly, more than 50% of those disabled Americans are in their working years, from 18-64.
For many, the disability will not be short-lived. According to the National Home and Hospice Care Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics, over 1.46 million Americans received long term home health care services at any given time in 2007 (the most recent year this information is available).
Three-fourths (3/4) of these patients received skilled care, the highest level of in-home care, and 51% needed help with at least one “activity of daily living” (such as eating, bathing, getting dressed, etc.). The average length of service was more than 300 days, and 69% of in-home patients were 65 years of age or older. Patient age is particularly important as more Americans live past the age of 65.
A disabled individual is often unable to make personal and/or financial decisions. If the disabled person cannot make these decisions, someone must have the legal authority to do so. A durable power of attorney is very important to have during these times. Otherwise, the family must apply to the court for a guardianship. It is preferable to avoid a guardianship proceeding if at all possible.
Alternatively, a fully funded revocable or irrevocable trust can ensure that the senior’s person and property will be cared for as desired.
When making these important decisions for your loved one, it is important to consult an elder law attorney with experience in regards to the options available for your disabled loved ones and their families.
Contact Elder Law of Omaha today for your FREE 30 minute attorney consultation at (402) 614-6400. Visit our website at www.ElderLawOmaha.com.