For most aging adults, family members act as the health care and financial agents. Most of us have a spouse, adult child, sibling or other family member who is able and willing to be our agent(s).
More and more frequently, however, we are hearing from elder orphans—or those who have no adult children, spouse or companion to rely on for company, assistance or input.
Nearly 1/3 of all 45-to-63-year-olds are single (either never married or are now divorced). There is also a growing number of “solo-agers,” or older adults without children, living alone. Currently, about 29% (13.3 million) of non-institutionalized older persons live alone. The majority of those are women (9.2 million, vs. 4.1 million men).
There are limited options for seniors without family.
Our long-term care world is set up to help those with involved family members. Hospitals, doctor’s offices, home health, hospice, assisted living communities, and nursing homes expect each patient or resident to have an involved family member to make decisions, arrange transportation, offer support, or provide medical and personal care on a 24/7 basis if needed.
When completing estate planning documents, most have family members to name as surrogate decision-makers.
We encourage every older adult to complete an advance directive, power of attorney for health care, and will and/or trust. Each of these documents require a named surrogate decision-maker. A financial agent is needed in the POA; a healthcare agent in the advance directive; an executor in the will; and a trustee in the trust.
For those without family and friends, professional agents can be hired.
Hurley Elder Care Law recently announced our new service: the Aging Ally. The Aging Ally is a service offered by Hurley Elder Care Law to help older adults in Georgia age with a safety net. Intended to provide extra support to older adults who do not have a designated healthcare and/or financial agent, Hurley Elder Care Law can now step into that role, becoming a hired advocate and decision-maker when necessary.
Our team of professionals can become the client’s healthcare and/or financial agent, providing decision-making services, oversight of healthcare and financial affairs, and protection of financial and physical well-being.
Someone may be a good fit for the Aging Ally Services if:
He is unmarried or widowed with no children.
She is aging without the support of family members.
Any adult children are spread out across the country and not readily available.
Any adult children are uninvolved or estranged.
He prefers enlisting a neutral party in order to keep peace and tranquility within the family.
She is concerned about burdening her family with the responsibility of care.
He has outlived his relatives and friends.
Her spouse is in poor health, and she is concerned about his well-being if she were to die before him.
He is concerned that heirs would consider their needs before his when making decisions about care.
She feels overwhelmed by the process of planning for future care needs and would like assistance from a comprehensive firm that has over 100 years of combined experience.
The Aging Ally Services include many tailored services.
After a thorough assessment, we customize each plan so that we have the level of involvement that is needed in any given situation. This is not a one-size fits all program. We want to find the right size for you and your specific needs. The Aging Ally Services can include:
-Estate Planning (e.g., updated Advance Directives, Powers of Attorney, Wills, and/or Trusts);
-Asset Protection Planning to maximize our client’s resources;
-Care Coordination Services (an initial assessment and on-going involvement by our licensed staff);
-Surrogate Decision-Making, if/when needed by our team;
-Hiring and Oversight of Other Helping Professionals (e.g., CNAs, Geriatric Care Managers, etc.);
-Bill Paying, if/when needed;
-Long-Term Care Placement in the least-restrictive environment that meets both financial and medical needs;
If you are interested in learning more about Hurley Elder Care Law’s Aging Ally Services, please contact our office in order to make an appointment with one of our Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELA). We begin each relationship with a phone call and an in-person assessment with our team. You can reach us at (404) 843-0121 or through our website.