As an elder law attorney, the pandemic has impacted my practice including my safeguards to meet with people, and our screening and thorough cleaning processes. The impact on my clientele has been devastating, both emotionally and physically; and it is a period of awakening and focus in all our lives.
Statistics abound such as 800 people are dying daily in the United States with 80% of the deaths from Covid-19 for those over age 65: with the median age of death being 80 years; especially hitting those with compromised respiratory and cardiovascular systems. To add on to this impact to society and especially the elderly, is the required isolation of our vulnerable elders from contact with others including their children and grandchildren, and other loved ones. The psychological impact, and isolation have made matters worse for the elderly when separated from loved ones.
My role is to help the client obtain a greater sense of control, usefulness, and satisfaction of unfinished business. Never has the impact of illness and death been at the forefront of most people’s daily thoughts as is happening today with repeated news, information, and social media bombarding the psyche of all of us.
After gathering the requisite information such as assets, income, and debts; the crucial questions are geared to what primarily triggered them to come see me. What keeps you up at night? For some, it is how they, or their loved ones, will pay for the care, whether it is being at home, assisted living, rehab, or in a nursing home? Is it too late to do anything? Also concerns regarding their legacy such as providing for their heirs and avoiding family strife. How to consider and document my healthcare wishes? How to protect a loved one’s assets legally? Everyone’s situation will be different as to the family dynamics, health, assets, history, and what is in place all ready. My job is to explore goals and my clients’ situations. Then, to help the client to document these wishes in their lifetime planning and protection of assets, and healthcare and estate planning documents in order to reduce their anxiety and fear, in order to free and focus their energies on living.