Maine Center for Elder Law Blog

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

For Love's Sake

91-year-old Real L'Heureux broke out of the dementia care facility he resides in to be with his girlfriend.

Maine Center for Elder Law attorney Barbara Schlichtman was interviewed for this recent Portland Press Herald story written by staff writer Matt Byrne. The story is a bittersweet one of aging, love and decision-making. The article brings up many important issues families have to consider when faced with a decline in a loved one's abilities. Senior's Daring Escape Raises Troubling Question.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Should you use your 401(k) before Social Security?

My wife would like to retire at 62. Would it be better for to use the funds from her 401(k) first to get to the age of 65 before filing for Social Security?

See the full answer here,

Every situation is different. But it can be beneficial for many individuals to consider waiting to at least full retirement age (FRA) before starting Social Security and using 401(k) or IRA distributions to fund the "bridge period" between the time retirement starts and Social Security is claimed, says James Mahaney, a vice president with Prudential Financial.

The reasons are two-fold. One, if your wife starts Social Security at age 62, she'll lock in a permanent "real" reduction of 25%. "I say 'real' because the lower benefit will provide a smaller base on which cost-of-living-adjustments will apply into the future," says Mahaney.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Town Where Everyone Talks about Death

La Crosse, Wisconsin spends less on health care for patients at the end of life than any other place in the country, according to the Dartmouth Health Atlas.

Reducing costs wasn't the reason La Crosse has its advance directive program. Bud Hammes was trying to help their patients, and the reduction in spending was an accident. But now, lots of other communities want to copy the La Crosse program.

Full story:

Friday, March 14, 2014

Maine Center for Elder Law Opens Portland Office

Maine Center for Elder Law opened a Portland office in January 2014.  The office is on Monument Square, directly above Longfellow Books and Foley's Bakery.  The building was formerly Benoit's Department store,

Parking is available in the connected parking garage.  You enter next to Foley's Bakery and take the elevator to the 2nd floor.  Allow time for some coffee and one of the best baked goods in town.  You can shop at the farmer's market on Wednesdays.

Attorney Barbara Schlichtman will be the attorney in the Portland office most of the time; however, all attorneys will meet clients in Portland when necessary.  Barbara works in Kennebunk part of each week along with attorneys Martin C. Womer and Britton R. Garon.

Maine Center for Elder Law continues to focus its practice on elder law and special needs planning.  Elder law inludes guardianships, conservatorships, estate planning documents, MaineCare planning and applications.

You may call Barbara Schlichtman on her direct line at 207-619-2529.  This number is directed to whichever office she is occupying.  The primary number for Kennebunk remains 207-467-3301.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Why Do Elderly Parents Fall For Scams That Seem So Obvious To Us?

There are various reasons why our elders are such easy prey for these thieves.  One root cause is isolation and loneliness, a fact of life for many seniors who are not closely monitored by loved ones.  A pleasant, slick professional calls on the phone in a friendly and engaging manner and traps the vulnerable elder with kind words, attention and a feeling of connection.  The thieves are trained and smart.  They smell the kill. They know exactly what to say to get the elder to trust them.

Another very important factor is diminished cognition in the elder.

Read full story,

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Gift idea: Sensory Quilt

We recommend this quilt because its textures seem to comfort people with fidgety hands.

Sensory Quilt is now on the market. It makes a great holiday gift or can be a tool used by caregivers to help soothe clients. For those of you who haven't seen it, the Sensory Quilt is a colorful, beautiful lap quilt with five different textures and various activities.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Medicare Open Enrollment begins Oct. 15, 2013

This link to the Medicare website offers lots of useful information,

In most cases, this open enrollment period may be the one chance you have to make a change to your health and prescription drug coverage for 2014.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Alaska, Hawaii and Maine scored among the nation's best for nursing homes

Staffing is a key factor in determining a nursing home's quality of care, according to new state-by-state analysis from advocacy group Families for Better Care.

The organization graded each state's overall quality of nursing home care based on eight metrics, from the Kaiser Health Foundation, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and state long-term care ombudsman programs. Families for Better Care touts this as the first report of its kind.

“States whose nursing homes staffed at higher levels ranked far better than those with fewer staffing hours,” said Brian Lee, executive director of FBC and former Florida long-term care ombudsman. This finding supports what many stakeholders have been saying for years, Lee noted.

Alaska, Hawaii and Maine scored among the nation's best for nursing homes, and all earned “A” grades in all staffing categories, such as direct care staffing hours and registered nurse hours. Alaska was ranked No. 1 in the nation overall. Rhode Island came in at No. 2, followed by New Hampshire.

Full article:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Alabama Man Charged with Receiving Benefits Based on Fraudulent VA Pension Application

From the andalusia star news

Local man accused of stealing from VA

Published August 3, 2013


Governmental benefit programs based on an applicant's income and/or assets depend on honest disclosure by applicants in order to determine eligibility and benefit levels.  Whether or not the defendant in this story is guilty, the story is a reminder of what not to do.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Maine's Ombudsman Program a great resource


The Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is a non-profit agency whose mission is to advocate for quality of life and care for long term care consumers. Federal and Maine laws authorize the staff to investigate complaints made by or on behalf of long-term care consumers and to assist consumers in exercising their rights that are guaranteed by law.

The program serves residents of nursing facilities and assisted housing programs including: residential care facilities and assisted living facilities. In addition, we serve recipients of home care services, adult day services and homemaker services.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Financial protection for Maine's elderly advances

The House passes a bill to deter assets exploitation as Maine prepares for a surge in its population of seniors.

L.D. 527, sponsored by Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, a former Cumberland County sheriff, was passed by the House on Tuesday. It now awaits votes in the Senate.

The bill would clarify state law to say that people with dementia and other cognitive impairments cannot consent to financially abusive conduct by caregivers that would be criminal without the consent.

In a state plan released last year, the Department of Health and Human Services said one in five Mainers older than 65 have been exploited financially by family members, caregivers or scammers.

Dion, who is now a lawyer, said that as a police investigator, he often walked away unsatisfied from unprovable cases involving elders. Often, many seniors couldn't "consent the way the general public understands consent," he said.

Full Story

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The Maine Center for Elder Law, LLC, assists clients with Medicaid (MaineCare) Planning, Planning for VA Aid and Attendance Eligibility, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning, and Probate, Estate & Trust Administration matters in York County, Cumberland County and nearby Maine counties.

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