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Elder Law & Housing

Feb 27, 2011

Virginia Lawyers Weekly published, on February 21, 2011, Vol. 25, No. 38 a supplement to its weekly news edition on Elder Law. The supplement was sponsored by the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (VAELA) and listed every member in Virginia including Edward Zetlin Law. Also, in the addition were articles on various aspects of elder law.  I wrote an article on Elder Law & Housing.  The following are excerpts from the article:

Housing for the elderly is a broad term implying everything from independent home ownership to nursing home care.  The term "continuum of care" describes this system of lodging and services that maximizes independence but assures appropriate care.  As a system it's more an ideal than a reality. 

Assisted living can mean everything from single family dwellings remodeled into licensed facilities to large high rises with varied activities and services. 

Elder lawyers are often called upon to assist clients and their families in understanding complicated, multi-paged assisted living admission agreements.  These agreements are more complicated than the typical landlord-tenant lease since signors are contracting not just for space but for services.   

A variant on assisted living care are continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs).  CCRCs are a form of supportive housing that guarantee residents lifetime appropriate care including independent living, assisted living and nursing home care.

Nursing homes are medical facilities and subject to federal law and regulations as well as Virginia statutes and regulations.  Medicaid long-term care coverage is a major source of payment for nursing home care along with long-term care insurance and private pay.  The elder law attorney should advise the client about resident rights and services from the Virginia state ombusdman program.  Howerver, its often incumbent upon the elder law attorney to assure that resident rights are followed.

Advising on housing for the elderly is a multifaceted issue.  The elder law attorney must understand the continuum of care, sources of payment for each level of care and what collaborative resources can be used to select and arrange proper care.

Housing for the elderly is not one area of law but a series of varied issues of law requiring knowledge of the community and services.

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