Oct
23
2012
0

Dogs Have a Therapeutic Effect on Older People

My father spent some of his final months in a large assisted living facility. He was in his late 80’s, and was at times depressed and grouchy. Since the passing of my mother, he would not socialize easily, and would reject the entreaties of the resident ladies in the facility. He also would not participate in any of the activities that the “social director” would arrange. When I would visit my father, he would be waiting for me in the lobby of the facility, sitting alone, and not talking to anyone. When I would meet with him he would say, “Where the hell have you been?” I noticed that there were many other residents just like him, all sitting alone, and not talking to anyone.

 One Saturday I picked up my brother to go with me to visit our father. My brother had a 10 year old Labrador retriever named Gracie. This dog was very friendly, to say the least. She loved everybody, and would make herself at home wherever she was. I asked my brother to bring Gracie with us.

When we arrived at the facility, Gracie pulled us in, immediately went up to an elderly man, not our father, and put her head in his lap! The man was not at all offended, his face lit up, and he started to pet Gracie. My brother apologized and pulled Gracie away. We started to look for my father, and Gracie spotted an elderly lady who was standing up, and leaning against her cane. Gracie walked up to the lady and pushed her snout against the lady’s thigh to say hello. The lady was startled at first, but started to pet Gracie and rub her ears, for which Gracie was grateful.

 Finally, we saw my father, sitting alone in a chair, sitting up straight with his cane out in front of him. Gracie went up to my father, and put her head in his lap. My dad’s face lit up, and he began to pet Gracie. This was the first time my father did not say to my brother and I, “Where the hell have you been?” when we went to visit him.

 After that meeting, we took Gracie with us to visit our father whenever we could. We noticed also that therapy dogs were brought into the facility on a regular basis for visits, which was always a big hit with the residents. Dogs can be very soothing for older people, and for my father it softened him and brought a smile to his face. Studies have shown that after visits with therapy dogs in care facilities, that the loneliness factor is lessened and that the blood pressure of the residents is lowered. You should consider bringing a dog with you when you visit your older loved ones.

Written Michael J. Young, elder law attorney and probate attorney in Walnut Creek, CA and former in-house counsel for title insurance companies. www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com LawYoung1@Gmail.com 1931 San Miguel Dr., Suite 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. 925-256-0298. Mr. Young serves Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, including the cities of Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Concord, Brentwood, Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Clayton, etc. Mr. Young advises clients regarding Probates, Probates with Real Estate, Medi-Cal, nursing homes, asset protection, the VA Aid and attendance pension benefit, and long term care planning. Mr. Young is an Elder Law Attorney and Probate Attorney with offices in Walnut Creek, CA. Walnut Creek Elder Law Attorney, Walnut Creek Probate Attorney

Oct
11
2012
0

Where are Mom’s Papers?

It is very important to know where your loved one’s papers are!

We are always trying to accomplish elder care planning as early

as possible, so that we can get all of our ducks in a

row before memories fade.

 

Last week we helped a family whose elderly mother needed

long term care planning. The father had died almost two years

earlier, and he had been in charge of all legal

and financial matters for the couple. The mother was in a nursing home

and could not remember for sure if she had a trust or any estate planning

documents, or whether her home was in a trust. The family also did not know

if there were any estate planning documents, could not find any, and did

not know about a trust. They wanted us to apply for Medi-Cal for their mother,

and to protect her home from a potential Medi-Cal lien. 

 

I asked the children to keep looking for the legal documents.

I checked with my resources at a title company, and was able

to a get a copy of the last deed of record for the home,

and the deed confirmed that the home was indeed in the mother’s family trust. 

Fortunately, the deed referenced the attorney who prepared it. I called

the attorney, who said he had retired, but thought that he had

copies of his clients’ documents in a storage facility. It took awhile,

but the attorney eventually provided us with copies of the estate

planning documents, including the trust. We were able to amend the

various documents for government benefits and asset protection purposes,

and we proceeded to protect the home from a potential Medi-Cal lien.

 

We also needed to see recent statements of all bank accounts, IRA

accounts, etc., for Medi-Cal qualification. We also needed to see life

insurance policies that the mother owned.

The mother was not sure about any of this,

nor were her children. I asked the children to please look for

these documents, to watch the mail for new statements, and to

familiarize themselves with these matters. The mother confirmed

that she wanted her children to help her.

 

The children were able to find the statements, and

also found a life insurance policy that the mother owned. Fortunately, at least

for Medi-Cal qualification, there was no cash in value that

we would have to deal with to create Medi-Cal

eligibility for the mother.

 

The mother was thankful that her children were helping.

The father had apparently been a very strong willed person,

who for whatever reason, did not choose to involve his

children, let alone his own wife, with any of these important issues.

 

All worked out well in this case, but not without loss of time

and with additional angst and tension that the family

and their mother did not need at this time. 

Written Michael J. Young, elder law attorney and probate attorney in Walnut Creek, CA and former in-house counsel for title insurance companies. www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com LawYoung1@Gmail.com 1931 San Miguel Dr., Suite 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. 925-256-0298. Mr. Young serves Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, including the cities of Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Concord, Brentwood, Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Clayton, etc. Mr. Young advises clients regarding Probates, Probates with Real Estate, Medi-Cal, nursing homes, asset protection, the VA Aid and attendance pension benefit, and long term care planning. Mr. Young is an Elder Law Attorney and Probate Attorney with offices in Walnut Creek, CA. Walnut Creek Elder Law Attorney, Walnut Creek Probate Attorney

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