The sands are shifting in the extensive world of elder law, but industry experts say the key to security in the changing winds is to “plan, plan and plan.”
“With all this going on, you can’t afford not to plan. Make sure you secure your future,” said elder law attorney Ronald Fatoullah during a Courier-hosted senior expo held at North Shore Towers.
Fatoullah urged seniors on August 24 to think about the importance of long-term care planning and filing legal documents, saying elders — especially over 50 years old — should have a will, a living will, a living trust, powers of attorney and a health care proxy.
Other leaders in the field armed the crowd of close to 200 with tips on avoiding scams and reducing risks for dementia.
James Christopher, the assistant vice president and senior fraud investigator at New York Community Bancorp, said to invest in a shredder to prevent “bad guys” from sifting through garbage and opening up bank accounts with information they find. He also warned seniors not to give their account information to their health care workers and not to fall for the “infamous lotto scam,” in which seniors are mailed a check saying they won the lottery.
“We continuously get these problems,” he said. “You don’t get something for nothing.”
Another frequent problem amongst seniors and their caregivers, said president of Royal Health Care Services Phyllis Ettinger, is mistaking dementia for Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia, Ettinger said, is the “define all” term encompassing loss of brain function that could be cured by remedies, while Alzheimer’s is a specific disease and a form of dementia that gradually gets worse over time.
To lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Ettinger said the most important thing to do is exercise the body and brain with taking brisk walks each day, reading, doing crossword puzzles and playing mentally stimulating board games. Not smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, maintaining a healthy diet, being social and getting a good night’s sleep are also vital, she said.
Christine Feingold, funeral director at Sinai Chapels, also warned snowbird seniors to be aware of differing prearrangement and trust account laws in Florida and New York. Setting up an account in one state, she said, does not necessarily mean it transfers over to the next.
Before the lecture began, seniors had a chance to mingle with leading businesses in the industry, including vendors Fatoullah and Associates, Bankers Conseco Life Insurance Company, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation, Margaret Tietz Center Light Health System, New York Community Bank/Queens County Savings Bank, Catholic Cemeteries, Ramps for Better Living, Senior Source of Self Help Community Services, Atria Senior Living, Samuel Field Y, Senior Bridge, Highland House, Bussani Mobility, The Regency, ProEquities, Family Care Connections, LifeWatch, Turnpike Comfort Shoes, Plan Plus Ltd, Integrity First Senior Care, Prudential and Elderplan.