These are just some of many questions attorneys at Heritage Law Group answer regularly.
"I want to help elderly citizens who need assistance, and their families and caregivers don't know all the resources available," said attorney Jake Mason.
The confusion is one reason the office is inviting the community — from senior citizens to caregivers, adults with older parents, even healthcare students — to its Elder Law Expo and Workshop.
A free event, the community can hear workshops on legal and health issues seniors often face, plus get information from area vendors serving senior citizens, and even grab a free boxed lunch.
It will be especially beneficial for the "sandwich generation," or adults caring for both their parents and their children.
"They can see there's other people going through the exact same thing," Mason said.
Mason said the biggest legal hurdles regarding senior citizens are:
- navigating Medicaid
- knowing about and receiving VA benefits
- adult children obtaining power of attorney or a conservatorship to manage funds of the elderly parents suffering from severe dementia and Alzheimer's
|Jake Mason, an attorney|
at Heritage Law Group,
"The problem is it might be too late to get power of attorney when they're not on their bank accounts," he said.
Often, it means the adult children must get a conservatorship, a costly and lengthy process.
"You're basically taking away a U.S. citizen's rights."
Seniors are also more vulnerable to elder abuse, primarily fraud. In 2016, 1,178 persons 65 and older were victims of fraud under false pretenses in Sumner County. Another 465 were victims of fraud via impersonation.
►Related: Tennessee lawmakers announce legislation to combat elderly abuse
Elder;law has some overlap with elderly abuse, although often those cases are handled by criminal defense attorneys.
Anyone who suspects abuse or neglect is legally obligated to report it to Adult Protective Services at 1-888-277-8366.
The expo coincides withNational Elder Law Month and Older Americans Month. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 15 percent of Sumner County's population was 65 or older.
Mason often speaks at senior citizen centers in Sumner County about Medicaid and VA benefits. The office saw a huge need for the expo after the influx of referrals from assisted living and other senior-related facilities.
He and Jenna Hunter, director of business development at Heritage Law Group, saw the variety of resources available for seniors, yet citizens were still unaware of where to turn.
"They can relate to vendors (at the expo) and learn what's in their community and all over Middle Tennessee," she said. "It's not big corporations; it's local companies for the most part."
Workshop presentations include:
- "What On Earth Is Elder Law?" by Jake Mason, attorney at Heritage Law Group
- "Dementia, Aging & Memory Loss" by Dr. Megan E. Mason, neurologist at Sumner Medical Group/Saint Thomas Medical Partners
- "Physiological Changes in Older Adults and the Role of Exercise/Physical Activity in the Prevention of Falls and Physical Decline" by Todd Jenkins, exercise physiologist at Tristar Centennial Parthenon Pavilion
- "Healthcare and the Law" by Deborah R. Farringer, assistant professor of law at Belmont University College of Law
If you goWhat:Heritage Law Group presents a free Elder Law Expo & Workshopat Volunteer State Community College. Family caregivers, healthcare professional, seniors and students of law and healthcare can attend a variety of workshops on health and law targeting seniors, health screenings, prizes, senior-related vendors and complimentary lunch.
When: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. May 11
Where: Volunteer State Community College, 1480 Nashville Pike
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Elder Law Expo answers common seniors-related questions