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.

What are Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) and why do they matter?

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By Michelle Mason

The activities of daily living are basic tasks of everyday life. This is a term that is used in healthcare to refer to daily self-care activities within an individual’s place of residence or in an outdoor environment. Many programs use ADLs to determine not only the functional abilities but also the level of care and the benefits available to the individual.

Assessing a senior’s functional abilities helps the family and medical professionals determine a person’s current care needs. Assessments can be valuable, by showing patterns of either progress or decline.

Whether the senior is able to perform all of the activities of daily living independently, or if they need help with just a few of them, the assessment will help the professional team create a care plan to meet each individual’s needs.

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Winter Safety Awareness Week with tips to prevent falls in wintry conditions

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COLUMBUS – Many parts of Ohio have already gotten a sneak peek at winter this year with early snow accumulations, cold temperatures and icy conditions. November 17-23 is Winter Safety Awareness Week in Ohio. One of the biggest risks from wintry weather is falling, particularly among older adults. Icy conditions make it harder to stay on your feet, and the cold may cause us to limit our activity, which can lead to loss of strength and balance.

To help you prevent falls this winter, STEADY U Ohio, the state’s new falls prevention initiative, offers these tips:

  • Bundle up to stay warm but make sure you can see in all directions and move easily and freely.
  • Wear sturdy shoes or boots with treads, even if you’re just going out to get the newspaper. (Submitted by Cindy Hintz, via Facebook)
  • Do some light stretching before you venture out; it will make you physically more able to prevent a fall.
  • Carry a small bag of salt, sand or kitty litter in your pocket or purse to sprinkle in front of you for traction on icy paths.
  • Avoid walking on surfaces that may be icy if you can. If you can’t, slow down, shorten your stride, walk with feet pointed out slightly and knees gently bent to improve traction and balance.
  • Snow can hide curbs and uneven surfaces. If you can’t see where your foot will land, find another way.
  • Replace worn rubber tips on canes, walkers and crutches. Ask a mobility equipment dealer about winter canes or cleats you can add to existing equipment.
  • Dry off shoes, canes, crutches and walkers as soon as you get indoors. Wet shoes on dry surfaces are just as dangerous as dry shoes on wet surfaces.
  • If you are going out alone, carry a cell phone; know who you will call if you fall, and make sure that person knows what to do if you call.
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, which can affect your balance as well as how your body responds to medication.
  • Ask your doctor or physical therapist about indoor exercises that can help you maintain strength and balance when you can’t venture out.
  • Wear sunglasses to reduce glare from the sun and snow and ensure that you can see where you are walking.
  • Carry a cleaning cloth and stop immediately to clean your glasses if they fog up going from outdoors to indoors.
  • Ask your post office, newspaper and garbage collector about service options that might make it safer for you when conditions are bad.
  • When in doubt, don’t risk it. Ask for help if you don’t feel safe doing something.

Shedding Pounds after 50

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By Janet Fickle

Losing weight is a goal for many people regardless of age. Older adults who are overweight are at risk of damaging their overall health. After 50 years of age, muscle mass tends to dwindle while body fat begins to increase. Men and women willing to make some changes with their diet and exercise can lose weight.

Changing your diet in small ways, such as eating more low calorie foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains will start you on the path to losing those unwanted pounds. Changing your eating habits isn’t easy, but once you start eating healthy, the benefits will soon become apparent. [Read more…]