Kulas & Crawford – Palm Bay, Florida Elder Law Resources
Throughout the nation the number of older Americans is increasing at a historic rate. Experts tell us that the dramatic growth in the senior population is a result of an increased life expectancy coupled with the fact that members of the Baby Boomer generation – the largest generation in history — are entering their retirement years. While seniors face many of the same problems that their younger counterparts do, they also struggle with unique issues and challenges and those who care for them often encounter problems they have never before faced. Palm Bay, Florida has a year around population of 103,190 residents as of the 2010 Census. Almost 15 percent of the population is age 65 or older with 8.3 percent of households consisting of someone 65 or older living alone.
As a senior, or the loved one of an older adult, you will likely face social and legal challenges that are unique to the elderly. The good news is that there are resources available to help you with many of the issues you may face. The elder law attorneys at Kulas & Crawford would like to help make finding those resources easier. With that in mind, our elder law attorneys have put together some Palm Bay, Florida elder law resources that we hope you find beneficial.
Local Government and Law Enforcement
As a resident of Palm Bay, one of your best resources for government offices and issues that impact residents will be the City of Palm Bay website. Although you can always call 911, it is also helpful to know how to locate your local law enforcement agency online. The Palm Bay Police Department along with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Department provide law enforcement services to residents of Palm Bay..
Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, and Home Health Care
As time goes by, you may reach at a point at which you realize that additional help is needed to care for yourself or for someone you love. Whether that means daily home health care, assisted living, or the type of care you can only receive from a nursing home, Palm Bay offers numerous options from which to choose. Fortunately, seniors today have a wide variety of options when it comes to assistance with the effects of aging. For help locating the right type of care and the right facility for your needs, you might find the following resources helpful:
• The State of Florida offers a “Nursing Home Guide” that allows you to search for and compare facilities as well as offers a wide range of other helpful information and resources for seniors in need of long-term care.
• Eldercare Locator which is provided by the U.S. Administration on Aging and offers a searchable database of long-term care facilities.
• Caring.com offers a list of skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and home care in and near Palm Bay, Florida.
• Nursing Home Compare which is found on the Medicare.gov. website 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.
The cost of long-term care (LTC) in the United States has increased dramatically right along with the older population, and is expected to continue to increase in the years to come. In 2018, the average yearly cost of LTC throughout the United States was $100,000 and the average length of stay was about three years. In the Palm Bay, Florida area, LTC costs mirrored the national average for the last several years, averaging almost $105,000 for 2018.
Planning ahead is imperative because neither Medicare nor most basic health insurance plans cover the expenses associated with LTC. Fortunately, Medicaid does cover LTC expenses; however the Medicaid eligibility guidelines can be problematic for many seniors which is what makes advanced planning so important. With this is mind, the estate planning attorneys at Kulas Law Group urge you to incorporate Medicaid planning into your comprehensive estate plan as soon as possible to avoid facing transfer penalties that can be imposed if you transfer assets within the five year period prior to applying for Medicaid benefits.
Socializing and Leisure Time
If 40 is the new 20, then 60 must be the new 40. One thing is certain — retirement no longer means an end to your social life. On the contrary, most seniors enjoy an active social life well into their retirement years. If you are one of those seniors, and you are looking for places to mingle, meet new friends, or find services that may help you within the community, a great place to start is the Greater Palm Bay Senior Center (GPBSC). If you are a veteran, the American Legion Post 117 in Palm Bay and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1005 are always great options for meeting new friends and mingling with old ones.
Local, State and Federal Assistance
Many local, state and federal resources and assistance programs are geared specifically at seniors, starting with the Department of Elder Affairs for the State of Florida. 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 Florida Medicaid for the Aged and Disabled.
Many seniors, and loved ones, find the dizzying array of state and federal benefits to be confusing. Navigating the rules and procedures required to apply for those benefits can be equally confusing. At Kulas & Crawford we understand how frustrating 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.
Getting Help from a Palm Bay, Florida Elder Law Attorney
Whether you are a senior yourself or a loved one, our experienced elder law attorneys at Kulas & Crawford are committed to helping you with the myriad of legal issues you may be facing. Along with planning ahead for long-term care by incorporating Medicaid planning into your estate plan, we can also review your existing estate plan to make sure other areas of importance of covered. For example, as a senior it is vital that you have an incapacity plan in place as well as tools and strategies that protect your assets. If you have strong feelings about end of life medical care we can discuss executing an advance directive that would legally require health care professionals to honor your wishes in that regard. Likewise, we can incorporate a funeral planning component into your estate plan to prevent conflict among your loved ones after you are gone and guarantee that your funeral and burial will occur in accordance with your wishes. Please feel free to contact the experienced Palm Bay, Florida elder law attorneys at Kulas & Crawford by calling (772) 398-0720 to schedule an appointment.