How It All Started
Through the little window, I could see her walking down the cinder block hallway on the other side of the steel door. She was sad, mad, weeping. At 7 years old, I couldn’t understand why my momma was wearing this restrictive jacket, wrapped around her upper body. I had seen her wrapped up before, but this time was different. Now, we were separated by this steel door, and I couldn’t give my momma a hug or kiss. I still see her vividly, like it was yesterday… This is why we do what we do.
For much of my early years, my mother was in and out of state mental institutions. My father struggled to take care of her, my sister and me, and keep his job as an assistant carpenter. We were poor, I just didn’t know the extent of it. We struggled to find the right treatments, the support and help that my momma, father, sister, and I so much needed. I was thankful for the government commodities. I just wish my dad could find help, someone to help my momma and tell us where to find help. My momma found peace and freedom in 2003, dying of congestive heart failure.
As I grew up during the Cold War with Russia and its allies, Russia was a place where all property was owned by or went to the government under the pretense of equality. What was true then and true now, these socialist, communist governments were controlled by a few strong-men, and the politicians and mega-rich (Russian oligarchs) fed off the work and resources of the common people. There is and was no middle class, only the rich and powerful vs the lower working class. One aspect that makes America great is the ability to hold onto the fruits of our labors (money and property), create and innovate, start new businesses, and pass it on generation after generation. Today, however, due to longevity and our government policies, the money and property of individuals requiring long-term care are liquidated in mass.
Why We Continue
What is happening with the hard-earned assets of our older population equates to the wholesale redistribution of property in a country founded in part on the right of individuals to expect essential care and to own and pass property. Individuals should be able to keep their hard-earned money and property. They should be able to control it while they are alive and able, and pass it on to their loved ones so the next generation might have the resources needed to live and prosper.
According to studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 70% of people over 65 will need some type of long-term care during their lifetime. According to the latest U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)’s Administration on Aging (AOA) research, the average woman needs long-term care services for 3.7 years, and the average man for 2.2 years. Keep in mind, these numbers may include some combination of care within the home (provided by family members and/or paid caregivers), care in an assisted living community, and/or care in a skilled nursing facility. A report jointly prepared by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living found that the average length of stay for residents in an assisted living facility is about 28 months with the median being 22 months.
With the average yearly price tag ranging from $42,000 to $54,000 for assisted care, and $74,400 to $120,000 for skilled nursing care, even a large amount of retirement and life savings will be depleted fast. Often, a family’s assets are consumed by the care of the first spouse, leaving the second spouse to struggle, fearing outliving their remaining assets, and lacking care and resources.
I am extremely grateful for the advances of modern science and medical care. Everyone wants a long and healthy life with options and care. But at what cost. There has to be a better way.
There are cost-effective strategies and practices for helping individuals and families save their assets and live the life they desire and get the health care and services they both need and want as they age.
Think about it. You’ve worked 30 or 40 years accumulating a retirement nest egg, paying off the mortgage, helping kids through their college or trade school, and to be debt free. However, you or a family member has one catastrophic health event that depletes your home and nest egg in a very short time. That is the reality of our world, but it doesn’t have to be.
My Personal Goal As An Elder Law Attorney
My goal is to help individuals control their property while they are alive and able, take care of themselves and their loved ones if they become ill or disabled, and give what they have to whom they want, the way they want, and when they want, while saving every tax dollar, professional fee and court cost possible. Ultimately, my aim is to help those individuals transform their lives and the lives of others, and keep their dignity, health, and well-being until they pass to the new world.
This Is Why We Do What We Do
My momma could have received the care she so desperately needed. My mother and father could have avoided the fear, anxiety, and loss of their assets. How many of our families, friends and neighbors are in the same position? What might have happened if they had known their options, tools and strategies to protect themselves, their loved ones and their assets. “Knowledge is Power.” How many could have avoided those pitfalls using that knowledge? This is why we do what we do.