Our 22 Top Articles of 2022

Those who read our newsletter or follow our blog know that we covered a lot of ground this past year. The COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency has been in place for more than two and a half years at this time, and although things feel much more normal now, new variants are still emerging. Luckily, vaccines and boosters continue to be available but we should all still be vigilant.

Recovering from the Pandemic

According to Kaiser Family Foundation, “(l)ooking ahead, states remain focused on developing and evaluating telehealth policy, addressing health equity, and addressing workforce shortages. Even as pandemic, economic, and political landscapes shift, Medicaid has and will continue to serve a large share of Americans, providing comprehensive health coverage and long-term care that are likely to remain key aspects of pandemic response and recovery.”

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Breakthroughs

This year, we reach an important milestone in dementia research – the 10th anniversary of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, which stemmed from the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA). The National Plan was created with an ambitious vision: to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by 2025. The plan and its yearly updates outline goals for a coordinated effort across federal and non-federal partners to accelerate research into Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD), and to better meet the needs of families currently facing these diseases. Learn more about some of the accomplishments over the past 10 years here.

Many new findings in dementia and Alzheimer’s research were also uncovered this year, which you can read about in our many articles on the subject.

New Legislation for Veterans

Legislation making several changes to benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was enacted after being signed into law last year. One example was when President Biden signed the PACT Act into law in August 2022 that expands health care benefits to veterans exposed to toxic chemicals from burn pits, radiation, chemicals, and other deployment-related health hazards.

This year, the VA also launched the Dementia Education Portal for VHA dementia educators.

Top Farr Law Firm Newsletter and Blog Articles

To celebrate the new year, we’ve ranked our 22 most popular articles from 2022. Check out the list to see the year’s highlights and remind yourself of the most important issues of the past year, and tell us what you’d like to see next year. And as always, thank you for reading our newsletter and blog! We are here to educate and to make a positive difference in your life and the lives of those you love.

  1. What the PACT Act Means for Veterans

President Biden signed a bill into law in August 2022 called the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act, or PACT Act, is the most significant expansion of veteran health care in 30 years, since the Agent Orange Act.

  1. Scam Alert: There has been an Uptick in Pension Poaching Scams

Military retirees and veterans often face scams specific to their service. This past spring, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reported an increase of fraudsters and non-accredited representatives who are targeting the pension benefits of senior veterans, their dependents, and survivors. There was an uptick in a particular scam called pension poaching, a financial scam targeting those who are potentially eligible for VA benefits.

  1. What is Neuropalliative Care and Why is it a Good Option for those with Progressive Neurological Diseases?

Neuropalliative care is a field of medicine focused on improving the quality of life for patients and families living with progressive neurological diseases (PNDs), such as Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Neuropalliative care is not only for patients near the end of life but at any stage of their illness. This article offers advice about neurological diseases and holistic treatments, such as neuropalliative care.

  1. Deed Scams and Title Scams – Protect Your Senior Loved Ones

Deed scams have been around for quite a long time and generate regular calls to our office from clients wondering if these solicitations are legitimate. Deed scams involve official-looking envelopes with official-looking letters that originate from official-sounding bogus “agencies” such as Record Retrieval Department, Records Transfer Service, Local Records Office, or Secured Documents Services. These types of scammers send homeowners letters that appear to be a bill from an official government agency for a property deed. However, despite the fact that it looks official, it’s not a bill nor is it from any government agency. Read more about these scams in this article.

  1. Is Your Loved One Ready for a Nursing Home?

Caregivers and families often make a huge effort to keep their loved one at home for as long as possible. But there often comes a time when a nursing home is the best choice, or only choice, for a loved one. When thinking about nursing home care, the first thing you need to understand is the difference between nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This article examines the differences.

  1. Does Decluttering Help or Hurt People with Dementia? Two Sides to the Story

People with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia hoard and cause clutter in their homes. For those with dementia who hoard, you might think de-cluttering would make it easier to do daily tasks. This is not always the case, according to a new study.

  1. Is the Term “Special Needs” Going Out Of Style? Rethinking the Terminology in Light of the Law

According to the findings of a 2016 study, persons “are viewed more negatively when described as having special needs than when described as having a disability or having a certain disability, indicating that special needs is an ineffective euphemism.” Learn more about it in this article.

  1. “Hospice Nurse Julie” Dispels Myths about Death and Dying on TikTok to Over a Million Followers

Julie McFadden is a TikTok-famous hospice nurse with 1.1 million followers. She loves her job because she helps people find peace in death, and she uses her social media presence to share her knowledge on the subject. Learn more about Julie and some of the experiences she shares on TikTok.

  1. More Families Can Now Take Advantage of Estate Tax Exemption Portability

The IRS recently amended its simplified process for requesting an extension of time to make a “portability” election. For wealthy families, the IRS improved a process that could result in millions of dollars in tax savings. The strategy, known as estate tax exemption portability, or just portability, is used by high-net-worth married couples to reduce or eliminate federal estate taxes when the second spouse dies.

  1. What is the Difference Between a Nursing Home and Assisted Living?

Assisted living facilities and nursing homes are two of the most common types of facilities for long-term care. Many people use the terms assisted living and nursing home interchangeably, without understanding that these types of facilities differ in many ways. The main differences are is in how the facilities are licensed and in the level of care each can provide. This article explains what you need to know.

  1. Opus: A New Kind of Senior Living for Middle-Income Seniors

The Opus senior living concept focuses on affordable senior living and volunteering.  It offers a whole new kind of living within the financial reach of middle-income Americans, a group that does not qualify for subsidized housing but can’t afford upscale senior living options. The goal is to give all seniors “the opportunity to live a full life of connection and purpose in a dynamic, supportive environment.”

  1. What if I Don’t Want a Funeral?

The pandemic caused many funeral services and other large gatherings to be postponed for long periods of time. However, as service costs rise, and as families and friends are increasingly spread out geographically, many people are choosing to skip the traditional funeral in favor of a memorial service at a later date or in some cases, no service at all.

  1. Is a Family Caregiver Entitled to Compensation from an Estate for Their Caregiving Services?

Providing care for a parent sometimes means sacrificing a career or other earning opportunities while doing so, and it is therefore quite common and reasonable for a child to be paid for their caregiving services, especially if that child has siblings who are not helping with the caregiving. This article describes some of types of caregiving agreements and provides suggestions for how to deal with this situation.

  1. What are the Duties of a Health Care Agent?

A health care agent (also called a health care proxy, a medical agent, or a health care representative) is a person who is appointed to make health care decisions on behalf of someone else. This article describes what the role entails.

  1. Naomi Judd Left Daughters Out of Her Will—Validity of Document is Now Being Questioned

Naomi Judd, who struggled with severe depression for years, died by suicide at age 76 on April 30, 2022. Naomi Judd apparently disinherited both of her daughters, and her grandchildren, leaving her entire estate — estimated to be valued at approximately $25 million — to her husband, Larry Strickland. This came as a complete surprise to the rest of her family, as described in this article.

  1. The Caregiving “Crisis”: Findings from a New Genworth Study

65.7 million Americans (or 29% of the adult U.S. adult population involving 31% of all U.S. households) serve as family caregivers for an ill or disabled relative, according to estimates from the National Alliance for Caregiving. Caregivers provide care to people who need some degree of ongoing assistance with everyday tasks on a regular or daily basis. The 2021 Genworth Caregiving study explains the current state of caregiving in the United States.

  1. Why Are So Many Young People Having Strokes?

Stroke prevention efforts are most often focused on older adults. That’s because 60% of strokes happen in adults 65 years and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many don’t realize that strokes are becoming much more common at a younger age, as well. Learn more in this article.

  1. Minimally-Invasive Breakthrough Procedure for Alzheimer’s Disease Approved for Early Alzheimer’s Patients in UT Study

Deep Brain Stimulation, or DBS therapy, is being tested in a clinical trial for Alzheimer’s patients, using the new Vercise™ Deep Brain Stimulation System. The surgery is minimally invasive and performed with the help of robotics to enhance rapid recovery with minimal pain, blood loss, and hospital time.

  1. Introducing the Dementia Doula

The word “doula” comes from the Greek word meaning “woman who serves,” so it is very easy to see how this term can be applied to many other helping professions. We have previously written about positive death doulas, also called end-of-life doulas. This article introduce our readers to the profession of dementia doulas, a relatively new field of expertise that many people have never heard of but that individuals and professionals in the world of Elder Care and Elder Law must learn about.

  1. Virginia Governor Vetoes Proposal to Repeal State’s Filial Responsibility Law

More than half of U.S. states, including Virginia, have filial responsibility laws obligating adult children to financially support their parents. These laws, which have mostly gone unenforced for decades, except for a handful of cases that we have highlighted in past articles, are reappearing in court cases as an aging population struggles with astronomical long-term care costs.

  1. The Biggest Misconception About Medicaid

When a loved one needs long-term care, Medicaid is the single largest payor of nursing home care costs because so many people can’t afford to cover the costs themselves. It is often imperative to the individual’s quality of life. This article describes some important things our readers should know about LTC Medicaid.

And our most read article of 2022 was…

  1. Your House is NOT Protected from Medicaid

It is a HUGE myth that most people think the family home is protected in connection with Medicaid. It is not. At best, as explained above, it is temporarily exempt. Under federal and state law, Medicaid programs across the country are required to try to recover the cost of nursing facility stays and home and community-based services. Medicaid recipients are often not told before they accept services that they can be required to reimburse the cost of those care services, even if that means losing their home. Read this article to learn more.

We’re Looking Forward to Things to Come

Thank you for making these our top 22 articles of 2022. We promise many new and exciting things to come in 2022! As always, if you or a loved one are nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, or if you have not done Long-Term Care Planning, Estate Planning, Retirement Planning, or Incapacity Planning (or had your planning documents reviewed in the past several years), please call us for an initial consultation. Happy New Year!

Elder Law Fairfax: 703-691-1888
Elder Law Fredericksburg: 540-479-143
Elder Law Rockville: 301-519-8041
Elder Law DC: 202-587-2797

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.

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