Quality of Life

Thursday, July 21, 2016

So Talk Already! Your Kids Really Do Want to Know

We think it's great that there is so much information out there on the importance of talking with your family about your wishes. Sure, it's daunting to find time to sifting through all the website, blogs, articles, posts and tweets; but the result of all the communication is that we really are increasingly aware of what's important as we age. And awareness is a great step toward dong something about it. So are websites like the conversation project (see our blog post on "the conversation"

Read more . . .

Monday, April 25, 2016

Old MacDonald Had a Farm...

... and on that farm he had some veggies!

Maine Senior FarmShare Program
The Maine Senior FarmShare Program entitles eligible seniors to receive a FarmShare, $50 worth, of first-quality, fresh local produce from a Maine farm for a core eight-week period during the growing season.  Seniors sign up directly with a participating farmer each year in April.

Read more . . .

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Conversations: "It's always too soon... until it's too late"

Ellen Goodman, Co-Founder and Director of The Conversation Project, says the primary reason people gave for not talking to their loved ones was "It’s too soon." But it’s always too soon … until it’s too late.

"In some recess of my mind, I still assumed that death came in the way we used to think of as 'natural.' I thought that doctors were the ones who would tell us what needed to be done. I was strangely unprepared, blindsided by the cascading number of decisions that fell to me in her last years. I had to say no to one procedure and yes to another, no to the bone marrow test, yes and yes again to antibiotics. How often I wished I could hear her voice in my ear telling me what she wanted. And what she didn’t want."

Read her New York Times blog post here... maybe it will help start your own conversation.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Everything Gets Complicated When a Person has Dementia

An Annals of Internal Medicine paper reports that the money needed to treat dementia in a patient’s final five years is greater than for heart disease and cancer. Take a look at this New York Times article by Gina Kolata.
Three diseases, leading killers of Americans, often involve long periods of decline before death. Two of them — heart disease and cancer — usually require expensive drugs, surgeries and hospitalizations. The third, dementia, has no effective treatments to slow its course.

So when a group of researchers asked which of these diseases involved the greatest health care costs in the last five years of life, the answer they found might seem surprising. The most expensive, by far, was dementia.

The study looked at patients on Medicare. The average total cost of care for a person with dementia over those five years was $287,038. For a patient who died of heart disease it was $175,136. For a cancer patient it was $173,383. Medicare paid almost the same amount for patients with each of those diseases — close to $100,000 — but dementia patients had many more expenses that were not covered.

On average, the out-of-pocket cost for a patient with dementia was $61,522 — more than 80 percent higher than the cost for someone with heart disease or cancer. The reason is that dementia patients need caregivers to watch them, help with basic activities like eating, dressing and bathing, and provide constant supervision to make sure they do not wander off or harm themselves. None of those costs were covered by Medicare.

"Everything gets complicated when a person has dementia," noted Dr. Christine K. Cassel, a geriatrician and chief executive of the National Quality Forum.

Maine Center for Elder Law attorneys have helped many seniors and their families with estate planning designed to fit each unique situation. We never know what life will bring our way, but we do know we can plan in advance--for everyone's sake.

Read more of the NYT article here.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Unbefriended: When you Outlive Your Family and Friends

The New York Times has been running an excellent series by columnist Paula Span called "The New Old Age." In a recent piece, Paula wrote about the "unbefriended" (and the term doesn't have anything to do with Facebook). We thought this was an informative article to share on the importance of Advance Health Care Directives. Read on!

Near the End, It's Best to Be 'Friended'

The unconscious man in his 90s was brought to an emergency room where Dr. Douglas White was a critical care physician. The staff couldn’t find any relatives to make medical decisions on his behalf.

“He had outlived all his family,” recalled Dr. White, who now directs an ethics program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “We were unable to locate any friends. We even sent the police to knock on his neighbors’ doors.”

Nobody could find an advance directive, either. In the end, the hospital’s ethics committee had to help guide the medical team to decisions about continuing life support.

Experts describe patients like this one as “unbefriended.” But you can also be unbefriended, even if you do have friends and family, if you are incapacitated and haven’t appointed someone you trust as a health care proxy.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

SAGE Advice: Support and Advocacy for Gay Elders

Maine Center for Elder Law associate attorney Britton Ryan Garon is a self-described "younger, straight ally" for SAGE (Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders). She is also a board member of SAGE Maine, which was founded in 2013.

Garon was recently interviewed for an article in The Village. "No one wants to speak about aging in this country period, let alone the issues facing the LGBT community. Death and dying are swept under the rug. The less it is acknowledged, the harder it is to put plans in place."

Read the full article written by Faith Gilman.

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.

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.

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:

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.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Boomers reinvent themselves in retirement

The Baby Boomers who grew up during the hippie counterculture movement are unlikely to follow in their parents' footsteps as they approach retirement.

But Boomers, many of whom are turning 65, have no road maps. They not only have to figure out how to make their money last, but they need to reinvent themselves in the second act of life.

"Before, retirement was a destination," says Dorian Mintzer, a therapist and board-certified retirement transition coach based in Boston."You had your retirement party and bought your condo in Florida. Now it's a process. It's a journey that can be daunting but can be very exciting, too."

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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