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How You Can Help Nursing and Assisted Living Homes During COVID-19

How You Can Help Nursing and Assisted Living Homes During COVID-19

With COVID-19 seriously affecting the country’s nursing home population, many facilities are locked down to visitors, leaving residents without in-person connections to family members and friends. Many residences have also had to cut their schedule of in-house social events—think bridge groups or movie nights—and move meals to room service only. 

Residents who may be feeling worried, lonely or bored need your help, and their hardworking caretakers need your appreciation. Whether you’d like to show support for your loved one’s nursing team or simply remind your community’s elders that they’re not forgotten, we have a few ideas to get you started. 

Send some love

Break out your notecards, stationary and fun markers and start writing. Organizations like Letters of Love accept handwritten notes—one-way, anonymous words of encouragement and love. Their volunteers sort and package the letters before sending them to senior facilities. They also accept donations to help manage the cost of postage. 

Some nursing homes have put out the call for pen pals for residents, aiming to establish longer-term correspondences. Others, like Atlanta’s A.G. Rhodes, feeling overwhelmed by the processing and distribution of letters and cards, are requesting drawings, notes and pictures sent via email. If you’re hoping to send more than a note—like new games, puzzles or unused personal items—check with the facility beforehand to be sure they’re accepting such donations. 

You can also share a video message through organizations like #CareNotCOVID to let residents know you’re thinking of them.

Cater a meal

If you’d like to say thank you to the healthcare heroes caring for Atlanta’s elders, consider catering a staff lunch or dinner. If you have a facility in mind, contact them to find out what their policy is regarding food deliveries. Your thoughtfulness will also do double-duty, helping our hurting restaurant industry stay afloat as well. Also, if you order Girl Scout Cookies, you can donate a box to frontline healthcare workers without paying shipping charges. 

Practice social distancing

While some businesses are beginning to reopen, consider how much you really need to shop, dine out or visit with groups. Residents in nursing homes are at risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms, and once a home has a confirmed case, it often spreads rapidly among close-quartered residents. Additionally, nursing home staff members often don’t have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to truly keep them safe. By reducing your own circulation in the community, you help limit the spread.

Most importantly, follow all nursing home restrictions on visitors, mail and donations. While it’s hard to be apart from those we love, it’s helping protect their safety and the staff who care for them.

Speak With an Atlanta Elder Law Lawyer

Planning is more important than ever right now. At Nadler Biernath, we have experience handling all aspects of elder law. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation (conducted virtually) to discuss how we can help your loved ones. 

By | 2020-05-19T15:00:06+00:00 May 18th, 2020|Latest News and Events|0 Comments

Thank You to Budd Terrace’s Healthcare Heroes

Thank You to Budd Terrace’s Healthcare Heroes

Here at Nadler Biernath, we’re saddened by the toll COVID-19 has taken on our seniors. We know that many elders, especially those living in nursing centers, are bearing the brunt of this disease. But we’re also grateful for the skilled staff, including the doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, techs, cooks and environmental services professionals, who are caring for our older loved ones—often putting their own health at risk.

That’s why we wanted to say “thank you” to some of the healthcare heroes working at Budd Terrace at Wesley Woods near Emory. Together with Chris’ Pizza, we catered a meal for 100 staff members on May 8. We hope that it brought them a little break and a chance to recharge during a stressful time. To all of the caregivers, thank you for doing your best to care for Atlanta’s most vulnerable. 

By | 2020-05-18T15:04:42+00:00 May 14th, 2020|Latest News and Events|0 Comments

Supporting Special Needs Parents

Supporting Special Needs Parents

As a parent, you’re used to prioritizing your child’s wellbeing. As a special needs parent, you might often be throwing yourself into finding treatments, therapies and educational accommodations that fit your child’s needs. But in our current circumstances, now is the time to center on your own wellbeing as much as your child’s. Your energy keeps the household running. Your calmness helps your child face disruption. Your strength models a healthy way forward.

Finding stability in routine
If your child thrives on regularity, work to establish a new routine for the household with things that are under your control, like family time, outdoor time and rest. But while you’re drawing up the family schedule, don’t forget to make time for yourself.

If you live in a two-parent household, this may mean taking turns getting out of the house for a walk or holing up in another room with a book for 30 minutes. Carve out a few minutes before your child wakes to make coffee, take a shower or message a friend. After your child is asleep, give yourself a little time beyond nighttime cleanup—but also keep an eye on the clock. Getting adequate sleep will help you avoid burnout and give you the strength you need to do it all again tomorrow. Child Mind Institute has resources focusing on mindfulness and the importance of self-care.

Letting go of perfection
While it’s a great goal to maintain good sleep, diet and exercise habits, don’t worry too much if every day doesn’t quite go to plan. You also don’t have to “make the most” of this time by organizing every closet, learning a new language or starting a side business. Caring for your special needs child is enough. Make sure family and friends help contribute to this mindset, and take a step back from relationships that leave you feeling inadequate. Find your community. FOCUS + Fragile Kids has parent resources and support. Understood.org also has resources on how to change expectations and let go of perfection.

Creating harmony in the home
Try prioritizing calming and uplifting activities that do double-duty for you and your child. Depending on your child’s abilities and personality, you might take a family walk, create a group art project or call a friend. Some kids may also enjoy the act of practicing gratitude with you—thinking of what makes you all happy right now instead of what’s hard or stressful. Practicing gratitude doesn’t close you off from accepting grief as well. Don’t be afraid to unload your fears on another adult who is able to listen.

Autism Speaks has a deep list of resources covering everything from caregiver coping techniques to how to handle stress. Parenting resources from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Strong4Life cover topics like taking care of yourself and teaching coping skills.

Right now, special needs parents need support more than ever. Check in with your loved ones and don’t be afraid to speak up when you need a hand or a break. Parents, you are doing your best. Give yourself a pat on the back and a break where you can find one.

Speak With a Special Needs Lawyer

At Nadler Biernath, we’re happy to be able to support families as they navigate this ongoing crisis. We have experience handling all aspects of special needs. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation (conducted virtually) to discuss how we can help your loved ones. Stay safe and healthy!

By | 2020-05-08T14:08:21+00:00 May 6th, 2020|Latest News and Events|0 Comments

Dealing With Not Being Able to Visit Elderly Family Members

Dealing With Not Being Able to Visit Elderly Family Members

Because older adults are at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19, many people are being forced to temporarily postpone visits with elderly family members. This is hard for everyone, of course, but right now it’s one of the best ways to keep your loved ones safe. And, if they live in an assisted living facility or nursing home, staying away also helps protect other residents and their caretakers (often people you know and trust).

But forgoing visits for the time being doesn’t have to mean isolation. What can you do to keep your older family member feeling loved, safe and connected?

Call and call again. Check in daily, or even more than daily if it feels right. By speaking to your loved one regularly, you’ll know quickly if something sounds amiss. You’ll also be able to make sure your family member’s mental health isn’t taking a turn for the worse. If your older relative has hearing loss, make sure he or she has a suitable phone, or call the nursing home and request that they facilitate a phone call.

Get tech savvy. A short time ago, it may have seemed like too much of a challenge to get your older relative comfortable with FaceTime, Skype, Zoom or another audiovisual platform. But now, the ability to have a face-to-face connection is more important than ever. If your parent is isolated in his or her home, try walking through the setup or installation steps over the phone. If he or she lives in a care home, see if an employee has the time and ability to help.

Send a care package. No, they’re not just for your college freshman! Your elderly loved one is likely feeling disconnected and bored without the ability to see visitors, venture out, or socialize with friends and other residents. Drop off (it’s allowed) or mail in puzzles, coloring books, novels or favorite nonfiction books, art supplies, needlecraft supplies, board games or other entertainment. You can also start mailing letters, cards and art from the grandkids.

Plan a TV or movie date. If you’re worried your loved one spends an unhealthy amount of time watching the news, suggest an alternative that you can share together. Choose a show or movie that you both have access to (you may have to return to the appointment viewing of cable TV unless your relative has streaming services). Watch together, either over the phone or checking in later to discuss.

Try a distance visit. If your loved one lives in a facility, see if rules allow for a ground-floor window visit. Simply seeing each other through glass can be a comfort. If your elderly relative lives independently, have the kids decorate the car and drive by.

Take care of yourself. It can be hard to manage kids, perform your job and advocate for your older relatives. It’s painful to not be able to see those you love, worry that they’ll get sick and wonder if they’re being cared for. Don’t neglect your own health during this challenging time.

Speak With an Elder Law Attorney

At Nadler Biernath, we’re happy to be able to support families as they navigate this ongoing crisis. We have experience handling all aspects of elder law. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation (conducted virtually) to discuss how we can help your loved ones. Stay safe and healthy!

By | 2020-05-08T05:13:22+00:00 April 22nd, 2020|Latest News and Events|0 Comments

Helping Special Needs Kids Deal With Schedule and Routine Changes

Helping Special Needs Kids Deal With Schedule and Routine Changes

As the parent of a special needs child, you have probably put a lot of time and effort into creating a routine that works for your family. You’ve ideally figured out the right lineup of activities and social time, the right mix of therapies and appointments, and, if your child is grade school age, an individualized education plan (IEP) that’s tailored to fit his or her learning style.

That’s why it’s so hard to see your child’s schedule—a routine that may bring comfort and familiarity—go out the window with the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. As you and your family adjust to a new reality of working from home, educating from home and social distancing, we have some ideas to help.

Talk about it. If you haven’t already, find a way to discuss what’s going on with your child in a way that’s age and developmentally appropriate. Remain reassuring, but be honest. Validate your child’s disappointment and grief over canceled events, missed friends or disrupted activities. Regressions are to be expected.

Make a new routine. If a routine helped reassure your child before, it can help now in these uncertain times. Start with your typical schedule: You’ll still want your kids to get up, eat breakfast and get dressed each day. Try to incorporate gross motor activities that work for your child, like bike rides, yoga or walks. Also set aside time for family activities—scavenger hunts, board games or puzzles are all good options, depending on your child’s interests. Ask for your child’s input, and make the family schedule something visual.

Tailor your education plan. If your child has an IEP, you’ll want to talk to your school about how this will translate to distance learning. Will there be one-on-one instruction? Lessons that include modifications? See if your child’s teacher can help you set goals to work toward at home.

Keep up virtually. In addition to online learning, your child may be able to keep up with regular therapy appointments through telemedicine. Remember, it may take some time to adjust to the new process. Also encourage your child to talk to friends and family members over video calls. If your child’s anxiety becomes especially serious, call your pediatrician to ask about virtual mental health services.

Focus on the positive. While everyone is facing fear and the unknown, try to enjoy your time with your child. Make a list of things you’d like to do together—maybe cook a new food, create a piece of art or read a favorite book aloud. Think of ways you could help or virtually reach out to others, whether they are families in your special needs community, the elderly or healthcare workers.

If you need some new ideas to stay active and creative, FOCUS + Fragile Kids has activities to keep your kiddos’ minds and bodies engaged. You’ll also find workshops on subjects like special education during school closures.

Speak With a Special Needs Lawyer

Planning is more important than ever right now. At Nadler Biernath, we’re happy to be able to support families as they navigate this ongoing crisis. We have experience handling all aspects of special needs planning. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation (conducted virtually) to discuss how we can help your loved ones. Stay safe and healthy!

By | 2020-04-13T15:36:30+00:00 April 8th, 2020|Latest News and Events|0 Comments

The CARES Act: What You and Your Family Need to Know

The CARES Act: What You and Your Family Need to Know

We are in largely uncharted waters with regard to the benefits and tax-related consequences that these payments will have on recipients. Information changes daily in some cases. For the most up-to-date information on these issues, we recommend that you check Social Security & Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), where the SSA will post updates as they arise.

With the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act now law, many families are hoping to see some relief from the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ve probably already heard about the direct government payments (more on those later), but while the rebates are the most newsworthy provision, there are other aspects of the law that might help you or your family through this challenging time.

Here are some of the key aspects of the law that you’ll want to know about:

Direct government payments: The government will be giving out rebates of up to $1,200 per person or $2,400 per married couple, with an additional $500 per child. The cash amount drops as income levels climb, phasing out entirely for people who make more than $99,000, or $198,000 for couples. 

The rebates will also go to people who claim Social Security benefits, including disability or Supplemental Security Income, provided they are also within the income requirements. For purposes of determining benefits eligibility, rebate checks will not be counted as income. Rebate checks will also not be counted as a resource for twelve months following receipt of the check. Note that if you’re a senior who typically does not file a tax return, you will still be able to receive your rebate check without filing a tax return, if you are a social security recipient. 

Extra unemployment benefits: The federal government is adding up to $600 per week to a recipient’s existing state benefits. The benefits will be extended 13 weeks. Self-employed people, freelancers and contractors are also now eligible for unemployment. 

Mortgage forbearance: Homeowners struggling to make payments may ask their mortgage servicer for relief, provided the loan is owned by a federally backed lender, either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. The act also pauses foreclosures. 

Student loan deferral: Federal student loan payments can now be paused on Department of Education held loans until September 30th. 

Retirement fund penalties and RMDs changed: The early withdrawal penalty is waived for anyone tapping into a retirement account for COVID-19-related reasons (such as becoming sick or losing a job). Distributions are still taxable, though the tax amount may be spread over three years. If the withdrawal is completely repaid in three years, there is no tax liability. For people who are already retired, required minimum distributions (RMDs) are waived for 2020.  Those who would otherwise be required to take distributions under an inherited IRA are also permitted to forego the RMD for 2020. 

New Medicare provisions: To avoid unnecessary trips to the pharmacy for an already at-risk population, Medicare recipients may receive a three-month supply of certain medications. Telehealth coverage is expanded, and the requirement that the patient saw the telehealth provider in the past three years has been dropped.

More mental health support: The act extends Medicaid’s mental health services through Nov. 30.

Charitable deductions: For those in a financial position to donate right now, taxpayers will be able to deduct up to $300 from their taxable income. 

Insurance coverage: The CARES Act requires private insurance plans to cover treatments and an eventual vaccine, as well as making COVID-19 tests free. 

Note, too, that Medicare fraud schemes are on the rise during this pandemic. Protect your information and stay up-to-date on scams

Speak With an Atlanta Special Needs or Elder Law Attorney

Planning is more important than ever during this challenging time. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation (conducted online) to discuss how we can help your loved ones. 

By | 2020-04-08T18:21:39+00:00 April 8th, 2020|Latest News and Events|0 Comments

Caring for Aging Parents During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Caring for Aging Parents During the Coronavirus Pandemic

At Nadler Biernath, many of our clients are in the “sandwich generation.” Folks are caring for aging parents and young children. As we all work to process the ever-changing news and deluge of information about COVID-19, one thing is clear: Older adults are at higher risk for severe illness. For those with aging parents, this can be unsettling. Below, you’ll find some information we’ve compiled to help keep you and your loved ones healthy and connected during this time of uncertainty.

Keep Yourself Healthy
If you’ll be providing care for a high-risk parent, it’s important to keep yourself healthy. The World Health Organization recommends you:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Follow respiratory hygiene by covering your cough or sneeze with a bent elbow or tissue you then dispose of
  • Call a medical provider if you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing

Pay attention to your mental health, too! Connect with friends virtually and enjoy time with your family, while finding space for yourself as well.

Caring for Your Parents
Your COVID-19 plan for your parents will likely have much to do with their living situation and required level of care.

If your parent lives independently, offer to handle the grocery shopping. Time created an expert-driven roundup on how to safely shop for and handle your food. Encourage your parent to practice social distancing. Routine can be difficult to break, so parents may need regular reminders not to go to a grocery store, drug store or keep social engagements. And, as hard as it is for everyone, if you have young kids, it’s safest to avoid in-person interactions for now. While we should all socially distance ourselves, we don’t have to be isolated, thanks to our age of technology. Encourage your parent to use the phone or computer and reach out to friends and family.

If your parent lives in an assisted living facility or nursing home, follow the facility’s guidelines regarding visitors. For the safety of all residents, many facilities are not allowing visitors. If visitors are not allowed, make sure you understand the facility’s emergency plan and how you’ll stay updated on your parent’s health. Find out if regular doctor visits can be performed via telemedicine. Some facilities will also allow a “window visit,” if your parent’s room is on the ground floor.

If your parent lives with you, set up a household self-quarantine. Regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces in the home, like doorknobs, sinks and light switches.

If your parent has dementia, know the likely signs of illness—often increased confusion. Support personal hygiene, and consider making written reminders to wash hands. If your parent has an in-home caregiver, have a plan for backup care. Remind the caregiver to wash hands upon entering your home.

Using Technology to Stay Connected
With limited visits or even self-isolation, you’ll want to make sure that your older loved ones are also staying mentally healthy. The CDC recommends taking breaks from the news, moving your body and staying connected. Organize a video call for your family. Have your parents and kids read books together over the phone. Set a time to watch a favorite show together, then talk it over the next day. While it’s not the same as being together, you may find new ways to connect.

Speak With an Atlanta Elder Law Lawyer
Planning is more important than ever right now. At Nadler Biernath, we’re happy to be able to support families as they navigate this ongoing crisis. We have experience handling all aspects of estate planning and elder law. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation (conducted virtually) to discuss how we can help your loved ones. Stay safe and healthy!

By | 2020-04-08T13:27:07+00:00 March 31st, 2020|Latest News and Events|0 Comments

A Message from Nadler Biernath on the Coronavirus/COVID-19 

A Message from Nadler Biernath
on the Coronavirus/COVID-19

Dear clients and friends,

During this challenging time, we’d like to take a moment to update you all on our office and the work we’re continuing to do. We have closed down our office to keep you and our staff safe. Moving forward, all March and April meetings will be virtual. Also, we are delaying signings—which are required to take place in person.

We also believe that planning is more important than ever right now. While we can’t control many of the outside circumstances we’re all facing, Nadler Biernath can help give you peace of mind. Now is a good time to get your estate planning started and be sure that your older or special needs loved ones are cared for.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a closer look at some topics we hope will support our clients during this time:

  • Caring for aging parents during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Dealing with not being able to visit elderly family members
  • Helping special needs kids deal with schedule and routine changes
  • Supporting special needs parents

We’re working hard to support the elder and special needs communities at this time. We’ll continue to communicate information, share resources and keep clients up-to-date — stay tuned.

By | 2020-04-08T13:27:14+00:00 March 24th, 2020|Latest News and Events|0 Comments

What Can Go in a Trust?

For the parents of a special needs child, ensuring lifetime comfort and care can seem like a bit of a financial catch-22. In order to qualify for government benefits, including Medicaid, the special needs individual can have only limited income and assets. But the government benefits alone don’t provide enough to live on comfortably. 

That’s where a special needs trust comes in, helping cover not only medical expenses and caregiving costs, but also travel, education, entertainment, pet care as well as many other things things that can maintain and enhance the quality of life for a special needs individual. 

Special needs trusts, however, have no value until they’ve been funded. And deciding how to fund the trust is a challenge of its own—one that requires professional guidance to avoid errors or even disastrous financial missteps.  

How Do You Fund a Special Needs Trust?

Parents of a special needs individual will likely open a third-party trust. However, it’s worth noting that if the special needs individual has independent assets, including any personal injury settlements, those will need to go into a first-party special needs trust. 

With a third-party trust, the entire family can help out. In fact, it’s important that grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives and friends understand that major gifts and inheritances should go in the trust, not directly to the special needs individual.

When funding a third-party special needs trust, parents, other family members and friends can include:

  • Checking, savings, money market, and investment accounts. If you also hold CDs, check with your financial institution to be sure they can be retitled to the trust without penalty prior to maturity. 
  • Retirement accounts.  While you can’t transfer the ownership of an IRA or 401(k) while the owner is alive, the account owner can name the trust as the beneficiary. And with the recent changes to distribution rules for inherited IRAs under the SECURE Act of 2019, a trust for a child with special needs may be the most tax-efficient possible beneficiary for a retirement account. 
  • Real estate. The family home is often a place of familiarity and security for a family with a special needs child, as well as a major investment. If the property is sold or rented, proceeds benefit the trust. If the special needs child passes away before siblings or other beneficiaries, the property can be transferred from the trust. If you plan to continue housing a special needs child in the family home, be sure that there are also enough funds in the trust for upkeep of the property. 
  • Insurance. Life insurance payouts can benefit a special needs trust, providing lasting income for a beneficiary. It helps to be savvy with policies, however. Some families choose survivorship policies, which are often more cost-effective as they only begin payments after the death of both members of a married couple.  

How to Plan

It takes careful consideration and individualized focus to set up and fund a special needs trust properly. Even then, families can expect to regularly update and adjust their funding plan as their investment profile changes over the years. A special needs lawyer can help establish a trust and provide regular feedback, as well as connect clients to trusted financial planners for advice on how much to put aside.

Speak With an Atlanta Special Needs Lawyer

If you’re the parent or loved one of an individual with special needs, you’ll want help protecting his or her financial future. At Nadler Biernath, we have experience creating and funding trusts. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation to discuss how we can help your loved ones. 

Super Lawyers 2020 Recognize Laura Akins and Heather Nadler!

The attorneys at Nadler Biernath are pleased to announce that Associate Attorney Laura Akins has been recognized as 2020 Rising Star on the Georgia Super Lawyers list. Partner Heather Nadler has also been recognized as a Super Lawyer—a designation she’s earned since 2015. Both Laura and Heather were recognized in the field of Elder Law.

Each year, Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters company, evaluates attorneys from across the United States for an annual roundup of top lawyers. Super Lawyers features attorneys from more than 70 practice areas. The multiphase selection process draws on peer nominations and evaluations, as well as independent research.

The Rising Stars list devotes particular attention to lawyers who are 40 years old or younger, or who have been in practice for fewer than 10 years. Only 2.5 percent of lawyers who practice in Georgia are honored as Rising Stars.

Congratulations to Laura and Heather from the entire team!

About Nadler Biernath

Nadler Biernath is a law practice dedicated to the planning needs of senior citizens and individuals with special needs. Nadler Biernath assists clients in the Atlanta area and throughout Georgia. Contact us today for a free consultation.

 

By | 2020-02-14T14:27:20+00:00 February 13th, 2020|Estate Plan, Latest News and Events|0 Comments