How Americans Die

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Have you ever wondered how Americans die?  Back in the 1900‘s the average life expectancy was under 50 years of age. By 2010, the life expectancy increased to just under 80 years of age which made me start to wonder: What is causing Americans to die in this day and age?

An interactive graph on Bloomberg.com (http://www.bloomberg.com/dataview/2014-04-17/how-americans-die.html) depicts how some Americans die. One key point I found interesting is the mortality rate for people aged 25-44. From the early 1980’s to the mid 1990’s, AIDS was the main cause, which at its peak, killed more then 40,000 Americans a year. Slowing infection rates and better treatment eventually allowed many of those with the virus to survive into their 50s and 60s.

Another interesting statistic is that in general, most Americans are living longer and dying of natural causes. About one-third of all deaths are people 85 and older. The downside to living so long though is that it dramatically increases the odds of getting dementia or Alzheimer’s. The rise of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia has had a big impact on health-care costs because these diseases kill their victims slowly thereby causing an increased drain. In fact, about 40 percent of the total increase in Medicare spending since 2011 can be attributed to greater spending on Alzheimer’s treatment.

Overall, the share of U.S. health-care spending going toward nursing and retirement homes has declined slightly since 2000 and has remained flat since 2006.

With Americans living longer, it makes me, a 33 year old, start to worry about the future and what’s going to happen when I reach retirement age. Will I have enough money to get me to the end of my life? Working at an estate planning and elder law firm has really opened my eyes. It’s never too late or too early to start planning for the future! If you’ve been putting off planning for your future, we would love to meet with you and create a custom plan to make sure you have your assets protected throughout your life and at your death.

If my mom is making really bad financial decisions, should I have her declared incompetent?

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By: Attorney Nathan Simpson

This is a questions that comes up routinely in the course of my practice. Many children feel that the best course of action is to have a parent placed under guardianship. While in many situations this is necessary, it is a drastic step that should not be taken lightly. Guardianship proceedings place your parent under the care of a court, which means that even if you are appointed as guardian, a judge will look over every decision that you make. Additionally, court records open you and your family up to public scrutiny.

Often, the best course of action is to talk to your parent. Through use of a power of attorney, you can manage your parent’s finances without court intervention. A properly written power of attorney will allow you to do everything that your parent can do with regard to property and bank accounts, while keeping your parent’s finances private.

While there may be times when a guardianship is necessary, talked to an experienced elder law attorney before making any decisions.

Hearing Aids – There’s an App for That

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By Kathy Cooper

Do you have a loved one who is suffering from a hearing loss? A recent New York Times article discusses the benefits of new hearing aids that are almost invisible and adjust to your surroundings, making your hearing even better than normal hearing. The controls are in your iPhone. They are not cheap, but they do have the benefit of keeping your or your loved one engaged in life. Thom’s grandmother suffered from a hearing loss that worsened as she aged. The problem was that she would not use her hearing aids. They were hard to use and big. She just did not like them. Unfortunately, it also meant she was more and more isolated. It is a shame to have our loved ones withdraw when there is a simple an effective way to help them rejoin the world — spread the word!

 

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Scam Alert: Bogus Funeral Notifications

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By Carmen Potterton

It seems that every time you turn on the news, there is yet another scam being reported and unfortunately, many of them tend to target senior citizens.

Senior Planet recently posted a scam alert concerning funeral notifications. An email is sent that is supposedly a notification that a friend has died. In order to get the details, you have to click on the link provided and once you do, the scammers infect your computer with malware. Malware generates viruses and spyware that allows the scammers access to your computer. [Read more…]