Throughout the nation the number of older Americans is increasing at a historic rate. Experts tell us that the dramatic growth in the senior population is a result of an increased life expectancy coupled with the fact that members of the Baby Boomer generation – the largest generation in history — are entering their retirement years. While seniors face many of the same problems that their younger counterparts do, they also struggle with unique issues and challenges. Moreover, those who care for them often encounter problems they have never before faced. As of 2015, Galveston, Texas had an estimated population of 50,180 year around residents with 21.8 percent of that population falling into the 45 to 88 year old age bracket and another 13.7 percent of Galveston’s population is 89 years of age or older. In addition, one in ten households in Galveston is comprised of someone age 65 or older living alone.
Whether you are a senior yourself, a caregiver, or a loved one, finding resources to help with many of these issues can be challenging. To help get you started, the Galveston, Texas elder law attorneys at The Mendel Law Firm, L.P have compiled some elder law resources that may be beneficial. If you have a specific elder law question or concern, please feel free to contact out office to schedule a consultation.
Local Government and Law Enforcement
As a resident of the City of Galveston, you will undoubtedly find the need to contact local government offices from time to time. The best place to start for general city resources is the official City of Galveston website. There you will find an extensive list of contact information for city offices as well as links to services for residents. It is equally important to be able to quickly and easily navigate to the relevant law enforcement agency online, should you need them. The Galveston Police Department along with the Galveston County Sheriff’s Department service the residents of Galveston, Texas.
Nursing Home, Home Health Care, and Assisted Living Facilities
Most of us go to great lengths to remain in our own homes for as long as possible. As time goes by, however, you may reach at a point at which you realize that additional help is needed to care for yourself or for someone you love. Whether that means daily home health care, assisted living, or the type of care you can only receive from a nursing home, there are numerous options from which to choose in Galveston and the surrounding area. A number of reliable resources are also available to help you find the care you need, including:
- Texas Health and Human Services — where you will find a list of all licensed nursing home facilities along with a variety of additional resources for seniors and caregivers.
- Care Planning Council of Texas — offers a list of skilled nursing facilities as well as alternatives such as home care and assisted living facilities. You will also find a wealth of information and resources for issues that impact the elderly.
- Nursing Home Compare — located on the Medicare.gov website is the government’s official Medicare website.
- SeniorsMatter.com – a directory of resources for caregivers of elderly loved ones
As the cost of long-term care (LTC) continues to rise across the country, the need to plan ahead increases as well. In 2018, the average yearly cost of LTC throughout the United States was close to $100,000. In the State of Texas residents were fortunate to pay, on average, less than the national average at about $80,000 per year for LTC in 2018. Nevertheless, if you have to cover that cost out of pocket it adds up quickly. The best way to combat the high cost of care is to incorporate long-term care planning strategies and tools into your comprehensive estate plan. The estate planning attorneys at The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. also recommend that you include Medicaid planning in your estate plan given the fact that neither your basic health insurance policy nor Medicare will help cover the high cost of LTC should you need it down the road. We can help you create a plan that will protect your assets, including your retirement nest egg, and ensure that you qualify for Medicaid if you need it in the future to help cover the high cost of LTC.
Leisure Time for Seniors
In the 21st century, retirees no longer look at retirement as a time to slow down. On the contrary, many seniors consider retirement a second chance to socialize, travel, and even spark new romances. For seniors living in and around Fenton, a wide variety of places can be found to mix and mingle. A great place to start is the Dickinson Community Center as is the Senior Center Services page of the Houston-Galveston Area Council. If you happen to be a veteran, you will undoubtedly want to check out the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) posts in Galveston and/or the American Legion Post 20.
State and Federal Assistance
As an older Texan, there are a wide variety of state and federal assistance programs you may be interested in, starting with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). The DADS program is a crucial resource for older adults living in assisted living or nursing home facilities. As a senior, you may also qualify for assistance from the Social Security disability or Social Security retirement program. For information, including application instructions, visit the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability website. Information about your Social Security retirement benefits can also be found on the website. If you are a veteran, or the surviving spouse or dependent of a veteran, you may also be entitled to a number of benefits through the Veteran’s Administration. Once you reach retirement age, you will likely be automatically enrolled in the Medicare program. Although basic Medicare is free to all seniors, Medicare actually has four parts and the other three parts may come with a premium. In addition, if you need long-term care at some point, you may need to qualify for Texas Medicaid benefits to help cover the high cost of that care.
Many seniors, and loved ones, find the dizzying array of state and federal benefits to be confusing. Navigating the rules and procedures required to apply for those benefits can be equally confusing. At The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. we understand how frustrating it can be to run into one roadblock after another when trying to secure benefits to which you know you are entitled. Our attorneys and staff are dedicated to helping you in any way we can, whether you need help understanding the benefits available, applying for those benefits, or appealing a denial.
Getting Help from a Galveston, Texas Elder Law Attorney
Whether you are a senior yourself or a loved one, our experienced elder law attorneys at The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. are committed to helping you with the myriad of legal issues you may be facing. Along with planning ahead for long-term care by incorporating Medicaid planning into your estate plan, we can also review your existing estate plan to make sure other areas of importance of covered. For example, as a senior it is vital that you have an incapacity plan in place as well as tools and strategies that protect your assets. If you have strong feelings about end of life medical care we can discuss executing an advance directive that would legally require health care professionals to honor your wishes in that regard. Likewise, we can incorporate a funeral planning component into your estate plan to prevent conflict among your loved ones after you are gone and guarantee that your funeral and burial will occur in accordance with your wishes.
If you have questions or concerns about any elder law concerns, contact an experienced Galveston, Texas elder law attorney at The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. by calling (281) 759-3213 to schedule your appointment today.