Posts Tagged ‘NY’

New NightCare Program for Seniors with Alzheimer’s at Sarah Neuman Offers Respite to Caregivers

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Our guest blogger this week is Amy Brandwene, LMSW. She has a Certificate in Gerontology and MBA in Marketing from Fordham University. She has worked with older people and their families in skilled nursing environments, assisted living and continuing care retirement communities.

As the sun sets, anxiety increases for some elders with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. That’s because of “sundowning,” a condition characterized by increased confusion and agitation which starts in the late afternoon or early evening and often includes nighttime wakefulness, aggression and wandering. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that some 25% of people with dementia suffer from sundowning. It takes a huge toll on caregivers who must choose between care and vigilance and their own sleep, and so, is a leading reason for people with dementia to be placed in nursing homes.

Littman Krooks Elder LawThe Sarah Neuman Center at Jewish Home has introduced the NightCare program designed to comfort and engage elders with this level of dementia, and to provide respite for their caregivers. Offered several nights per week, from 7 PM to 7 AM, the NightCare program is staffed by experienced, caring professionals like Ruth Mederski, LPC. She explains, “At night when these seniors can become more anxious, we are there to give reassurance.”

In additional to providing a caring and safe environment, the NightCare program offers activities designed to help these elders connect with others; conversation, games, and art, music and recreational programs can all be beneficial. For those who can participate, falls prevention and safe walking programs, as well as Tai Chi and elder-friendly yoga are available. There is a nurse who can administer medication, and if the elder also participates in the Adult Day program at Sarah Neuman, there is coordination between the day and night nurses.

The NightCare program at Sarah Neuman offers dinner after arrival, snacks and breakfast. The program will also include a caregiver support group to help families cope with the strain of dementia care.

Perhaps the most meaningful offering of the NightCare program is peace-of- mind for the caregiver. The son of one NightCare client has shared that “it’s a great relief knowing my mother is safe and cared for at night. I can sleep.”

For more information contact: Amy Brandwene, LMSW at Jewish Home’s Sarah Neuman Center in Mamaroneck, NY 914-864-5804.  She is currently the social worker for the Sarah Neuman Center’s Day Center and NightCare program.


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Estate Planning & Elder Law: What You Should Be Aware of If You Live in New York and Florida

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Many New Yorkers retire in Florida, and many others choose to spend the winter months there while maintaining a residence in New York. As part-time New Yorkers and part-time Floridians, retirees have the best of both worlds. But living in two different states can present certain complications when it comes to estate planning and elder law.

One important consideration is where your legal residence will be, which can be important for purposes of estate taxes. Where you spend the most time may not be as important as where you are registered to vote, what state issued your driver’s license, and what address you list on tax documents.

Your will and any trusts should be tied to the state where you are a legal resident. However, if you own real estate in another state, you should have your estate planning attorney make sure that you do not need additional documents to transfer the property when you die or to manage it if you become incapacitated.

It is also important to make sure that documents such as a living will and health care power of attorney are valid in both states. If you happen to be traveling through another state and are hospitalized, out-of-state documents will probably not cause a problem. But if you spend a significant amount of time in another state, it is advisable to be sure that such documents comply with the laws of both states. If you spend a good deal of time in a state far away from close family members, then you may also want to consider naming a local family member or trusted friend in health documents, so that someone can get to a hospital quickly in the event of an emergency.

Littman Krooks is well-positioned to help you with these matters. Because so many of our clients live both in New York and Florida, we have partnered with Solkoff Legal, P.A. a leading Florida elder law firm, to offer superior estate planning and elder law services to residents of both states. Contact us for more information. Click here to read more about our alliance with Solkoff Legal.


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Picking Up the Tab

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

This article was featured in the Westchester County Business Journal (November 27, 2012). For a link back to this article,  click here.

BY Bernard A. Krooks, Esq., Littman Krooks LLP

Baby boomers could soon face their own fiscal cliff, as state governments consider the implications of “filial responsibility” claims making their way through court systems. Although seldom enforced, statutes holding adult children responsible for their parents’ bills are on the books in about 30 states. A Pennsylvania man was recently told to pay $93,000 for his mother’s nursing home care.

Filial responsibility laws have been around since colonial times, but with the advent of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, most states stopped enforcing them. Now that the national dialogue is increasingly focused on the role that entitlements should play in balancing the budget, that could change.

New York has no filial responsibility law at this time, but consider the numbers: According to AARP, nearly three-quarters of the $13.4 billion spent each year in New York for nursing home care is primarily paid by Medicaid, a program that’s jointly funded with federal and state dollars.

With the largest generation in U.S. history approaching retirement, costs stand to balloon. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already been aggressive in his efforts to rein in Medicaid costs. Shifting responsibility from a controversial, publicly funded benefit to family members could prove attractive.

Filial responsibility laws usually involve situations in which a parent has unpaid medical bills or has relied on government support. States have been known to garnish wages, assign property liens and report unpaid debt to credit agencies. In some places, it’s possible to serve jail time.

Enforcement has typically involved situations in which the adult child was somehow responsible for the parent’s impoverishment, perhaps by defrauding them. Not so in the Pennsylvania case. So adult children who may have had absolutely no control over their parents’ financial decisions could suddenly be faced with whopping bills.

These are particularly stressful economic times for boomers, faced with tuition debt, shrinking retirement investments and recession-hobbled careers. Although courts have typically not forced adult offspring into poverty, the result can still be devastating. The son hit with his mom’s $93,000 bill had an $85,000 yearly income.

Given longer life spans, traditional preparations for retirement may be insufficient. In many cases, the younger generation has assumed that mom or dad could just move in with them, if necessary. At worst, they figured that Medicaid would handle nursing home expenses. But the elder care landscape may be changing in ways that are difficult to predict, and potential liability argues for increased involvement by adult children in their parents’ financial planning.

Because elderly parents can be stubborn about sharing money details, it may be helpful to frame such discussions in terms of the arrangements that middle-aged “kids” are making for their own golden years. And long-term care insurance should certainly play a part in the conversation. If parents don’t already have a policy, run the numbers.

Depending on their age, high premiums may mean that it’s more cost-effective to self-insure. In either case, money should be allocated to cover care that may not be handled by either Medicare or Medicaid. It may be advisable for adult children to help out with premium payments now to avoid more expense later on. If acquiring a long-term care policy is practical, sorting through the options can be confusing. So it’s wise to seek advice from a certified elder law attorney, who can explain the various options and riders available to you in these insurance policies.

It appears that many of the filial responsibility suits underway in Pennsylvania – given current program guidelines – are aimed at prodding offspring to file Medicaid applications on behalf of their parents. So establishing and maintaining eligibility for the government benefits that are currently available are other important considerations. Again, the process can be complex and legal advice can avert costly mistakes.

It’s not easy to watch parents age, and most adult children want to do everything possible to ensure their security. No one can predict what will happen in New York state regarding filial responsibility statutes, but candid family discussions and contingency planning could avoid having to make painful, crisis-driven choices in the future.

Bernard A. Krooks is managing partner of the law firm Littman Krooks L.L.P. (, with offices in White Plains, Manhattan and Fishkill. He is a certified elder law attorney and past president of both the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Estate Planning Council of Westchester County.