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The Misconceptions about Hospice

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Bishop Sharon Martin

I’m thrilled to bring to everyone today, an interview I conducted with Sharon Martin. Sharon is from Hospice.

New York, Manhattan was built by pioneers, by mavericks, who were not scared to be bold and think big, and that is something Sharon does. I consider her a celebrity and a maverick. Last year she was honored at the Chicago conference as a national example of how to extend hospice care and really reach a ton of families, especially in the minority community where there has been a stigma about hospice in the past. And I wanted to know how all that came about.

What had happened that lead up to the Chicago and the national Tennessee experience was that word started getting around other hospices that the submission rate in Cleveland County escalated from 17% to 52% in the African American community. So all the other hospices when they heard it were all like, what did you do.

On a national level, only 8% of the African American community uses hospice services. We’re at 52% which is just an amazing number on the national level.

Any business or organization that have those kind of numbers should be in the S&P 500. Those are amazing numbers, and to raise a submission rate from 17 – 52% in any endeavor is not as simple a task as it might sound. A lot of that has to do with the overall hospice plan here in Shelby, and Sharon is a main player in doing that. She is an outreach person for this community. This is a job that requires heart. Successfully going out into a community to discuss something as sensitive as end of life care, is not an easy thing to achieve.

I took a lot of hard knocks when you go out in the community and start talking about hospice. Immediately people of all races start thinking, okay we’re dying tomorrow, mamma’s dying, pappa’s dying tomorrow. But that is not the case. We even now have a patient in our Wendover facility, that has been with us three years, and so it can go into long term care. It can go into short term care but what I like to tell people, to get the most out of hospice services, as soon as your physician says to you or to the family, I only think ‘Sharon’ has 6 more months to live, that’s when the family should really be seeking out hospice services, so the family and the loved one can get the full benefit of hospice services.

Sharon has been with hospice for over 6 years, but did not at first want to get back into the work force. I wanted to know how she got involved with hospice in the first place?

“Six years ago our CEO Myra McGinnis and vice president Patty McMurray determined that the African American community in Cleveland County were not using hospice services as they would like.

And so what I learned after being hired was that this discussion went on for about 10 years, just trying to think of ways to engage the African American community with hospice services.

I was retiring. I had been laid off from a mental health agency, and so I thought I’m going to retire because my background is in social services, and mental health and also in ministry so. Later on I learned I was the one they were looking for but I was not the one who wanted to work, so they actually had a hard time getting me to come in for an interview.

A friend of mine called me and said Sharon there’s a job at hospice that has your name on it, that job is perfect for you.
It was Bishop Michael Moore and he said that job is yours, and I thanked him and said but I’m not going to work and I hung the phone up, not quite that rudely but I’m not even going to talk about this. Anyway, he calls back a couple of days later, and said Sharon seriously that job is definitely for you, and I said I’m not interested in the work, I’m not going to work. I just want to be a grandmother to my two grand children and I’m just going to go to their school and enjoy life helping them out in school.

After the third call, I decided out of respect to him to call Patty McMurray and Hospice about the position. I was hired in 20 minutes after talking to Patty. So that’s how I became a part of the hospice family.

And it is a family. Hospice is a very tight knit community of people who wear their hearts on their sleeves. This is more than just a job to Sharon, and I asked her if she would explain why that is.

How I found out about hospice on a personal level was 30 years ago in Akron Ohio, where my parents were and where I was raised. My mother called me one day and told me my father had terminal colon cancer, and she said Sharon, I’m going to allow an agency to come in and call hospice. Well at that time I was in Greensborough NC and this is what I said to mother, what is good for you is good for me.

And so as I would travel back and forth to Akron to visit my parents, I learned first hand how the hospice staff would come in and take care of my dad, and give him a bath, and do whatever was necessary to take the relief from my mother. So that was what was so comforting to me, because my parents had been married for 52 years and my mother was not going to leave my dad.

And so my dad was at home, and hospices services came in, and after my father died this is what I said to my mother one day, if I ever have any money to contribute to any organization, it would be hospice Akron Ohio. Little did I know I would be working for hospice Shelby NC. So that’s a great comfort to my soul.

I think hospice does an amazing job. I’ll tell you what is amazing about Shelby and Cleveland County is it is unreal the great services we have in every different type of industry related to senior care. I mean nationwide beacons, from Life Enrichment and Suzi Kennedy to Hospice and Sharon Martin. I just can’t applaud Sharon enough for being held up as a nationwide model on how to reach and convert a population, any population and take it from 17% to over 50%. That is just impressive and she deserves all the praise she gets from that.

One of the questions that I know there is some confusion about, is people in general seem to think of hospice as a physical place, which it does have but it is much more than that, and so I asked Sharon if she could clarify some of that confusion.

Many people, not only African Americans, they just have this great fear of hospice services. For some reason they don’t understand end of life care. So that became a challenge to be able to just talk to the community in general about what end of life care was.

A lot of people look at hospice as a place. Hospice is not a place, and that is what I really want the audience to understand. Hospice is a concept of care. Just like a hospital is a concept of care, hospice is a concept of care.

And that is that we try to make a persons life more comfortable as they go towards death. But what is so unique about hospice care is that we help the entire family, not just the patient. If we go into a persons home, and we’ve seen there is a great need, maybe a power bill needs to be paid, maybe a family doesn’t have food in the home, whatever that family needs, then that is what we will try to provide for the family.

So it’s like holistic care, we take care of everybody that is involved.

So don’t think that hospice is just the hospice house in Kings Mountain, and the hospice house in Shelby. It is so much bigger than that, it reaches the entire county, which brings up another question that causes some puzzlement. How many people does hospice actually help?

People think that we only serve 24 patients a day, but we have two facilities which is the place that people are at, and that’s Wendover in Shelby and the Testa family house in Kings Mountain. Well the total patient load with those two facilities are only 24 patients so they might question when I propose to people when I’m doing talks and presentations how many people do you think we serve per day?

And people just look at me with a puzzle in their face and then I’ll say just go throw out a number, and they’ll start 40 and then 60, and I’ll say higher, 80, higher, 100, higher, so we play this little high/low game, and finally when someone says 150, that’s when I stop, because that is exactly how many patients we serve every day, 150. Last year, in 2015, we went all the way up to a 190 patients. Well that’s because we serve people in their home.

That is a daily number, that is unreal. Think about that, hospice ministers and administers care to so many more than 24 people on a daily basis.
And just like Little House on the Prairie, where the doctor made house calls, the hospice family are really in peoples homes. The doctor comes out to the home, the nurses, the hospice workers come out to the home, and do not just care for the individual who is suffering. I’ve talked to some hospice workers and administration before, and it’s really so much more than that. They are really ministering and helping the spouse and the family as well.

Hospice is a hospital on wheels. We go into a person s home, we set up a bedroom, a living room, just like a hospital facility would, we have a hospital bed, the nurses, the nca2’s?? we have a chaplain, a grief counselor, a social worker that makes up the team. So 6 people are working with this family in their home to take care of their loved one.

So that’s what we do, we go into the home and make everybody feel comfortable and wonderful. We take the burden off of the family so they can spend all their time with mamma, daddy, or sister, and just be there for the loved one, to love on them as the process of dying increases. That’s the main thing I want to say.

So we were talking about an individual who needs hospice care, a whole family who needs hospice care. If hospice is serving a 150 people daily, and all the many workers they must have, I know that they do fund raisers, but I know that can’t possibly come close to paying the bills. So how can people afford it, how can hospice pay for it?

Well we are actually non-profit so we do rely on the generosity of the community but what I really want everyone to know, if the person has Medicare, 100% of their hospice services are paid for by hospice care. So we will never ask that person to pay out of pocket, as long as they have that red, white and blue card, all of their hospice expenses are paid for.

On the other side, even if a family doesn’t have the money to pay for whatever is needed, the donations, the generosity of people in Cleveland County, like the Testa family, they are going to make sure, and other families that have made yearly contributions and donations, we make sure a family gets the same care as if they had a million dollars as compared to they only have one dollar. So everybody gets the same care no matter what.

Well that is right along with our entire philosophy at McIntyre Elder Law, and just fits right in with helping seniors protect their assets and legacies. Keeping them in control of their assets and providing them the best health care options possible. And I mean I know first hand from having many many clients and families who have dealings with hospice.

The Hospice family has always been so kind to everyone at McIntyre Elder law. They let us use their facility up there to do events for seniors once in a while. Hospice is just a blessing to the community.

The last thing to I’d like to mention is about ‘Hearts for Hospice.’ I asked Sharon to tell us about that.

It is a fund raiser that we started 5 years ago. It’s been a very profitable fundraiser where we are only asking people for a one dollar donation. We have a heart that Pam Isaac our marketer created and it’s called hearts for hospice, it’s two lives, in memory of and honor of, and from, and you can buy a heart for a dollar and we will post it up on our wall, or you can keep it yourself. All the money that you contribute for hearts for hospice goes for patient care.

So this is a unique thing about hearts for hospice, we started asking people for a dollar, and the first year it was predicted we wouldn’t raise $500 but we raised $4000. In the last 5 years we’ve raised almost $27’000 with hearts for hospice because people would give a dollar, some people would give $100. So it kind of evens out. Some of the children want to buy a heart, they only have a quarter, so I said that’s alright.
Please call me. I will mail them to you, bring them to you, there is 25 in a pack.

Sharon’s number is 704 751 3591 and that is her direct office number.

So call Sharon, she would love to talk to you.

I’m Greg McIntyre of McIntyre Elder Law. I hope you have enjoyed this weeks Elder Law Report, and hope the information provided by Sharon Martin will help dispel some of the common misconceptions associated with Hospice.

Until next time, Make it a great day.

Call For Your Reservation: 704-259-7040

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby

Medicaid Crisis Planning Seminar – Thursday, February 25th from 5:30pm to 7:00pm

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We’ve been talking about Medicaid crisis planning on the radio lately, and I wanted to tell you about a seminar we’re giving at the Le Grand Center in Shelby North Carolina, on Thursday February 25th.

This is a special presentation for 20 people only. I’m giving a few of these this year but for reasons that I’ll mention later, we have limited how many people can be at this seminar.

We are going to talk specifically about Medicaid Crisis Planning, that’s all. But you have to qualify to go.

This is an important seminar that I have rarely given before. I wanted it to be an intimate setting where we can talk about the things going on in your lives, and really break bread together. I have seen so many situations where people waited to long and didn’t know what they could do, and lost everything, it’s all gone. This seminar will make a huge difference to you.

There are 3 things you need to qualify:

1- You must have an immediate need if you want to attend. You must have a loved one, a husband, a wife, yourself, or a parent, but it must be an immediate family member, who is in a nursing home, or is headed to one right now. They or you must be in a crisis health care situation, or long term care, and you’re seeing your families money depleted and spent down by 7, 8 or $10’000 a month.

2- You must own your own home, and/or other real estate.

3- You must have a net worth of liquid assets over $200’000.

Call our office even if you don’t qualify for the seminar. If you have called to get a seat at the seminar, we will walk you through those questions. If you don’t qualify, my staff will set you up for an immediate consultation with me.

We want you to get it right

We have an entire department set up to do nothing but help save your hard earned money and property. We show you exactly what benefits you qualify for, and help you become eligible for those benefits. You just have to be so careful when you’re in the benefit planning world, like Medicaid Planning for long term care. You have to be extremely careful and knowledgeable about how to arrange assets properly. It just has to be done just right or it won’t be approved.

If you’re not careful you’ll lose it, or spend it or sell it. Even if you’re spending money it has to spent just right okay. So we want you to get it right. We’re in the business of saving the money and property of individuals and families period. This seminar is part of that.

The Le Grand Center.

If you haven’t been to the Le Grand Center you ought to go. It’s not the type of place you would expect to find in a sleepy little town like Shelby. Shelby is very lucky to have this.

This has turned out to be a great asset. It’s a very modern building, and can accommodate about any size of conference you are looking to have. We have elected to use one of the smaller rooms so everyone can eat and we can talk in a more intimate setting. That is the reason we’re using a small classroom this time, no big ballroom.

We are going to furnish a beautifully catered dinner, and we’re going to decorate the room so everyone can be comfortable, sit down at round tables, enjoy their meal and learn how to best deal with their crisis. We want this to be a pleasant experience for everybody.

If you live in Cleveland County it will be easily accessible for you. If you are in Lincoln, Rutherford, Polk or any other county, the Le grand Center is just off highway 74, right across from the Cleveland county fairgrounds at 1800 East Marion Street.

Why 20 people only?

I’ve noticed if I’m giving an educational talk to a group of 80 people, it’s much different than when I talk to 5, 10 or 20 people.

A smaller group of people gives more opportunity for them to ask questions. It makes them feel more comfortable. People don’t always know what ‘Benefits Planning,’ or Crisis Planning,’ means, and hesitate to ask questions, but when we get a group like that (of 20 people or less), it’s more like a conversation where everybody benefits from everybody else’s questions.

Some people don’t know the questions to ask. People don’t know what they don’t know. They think all I need is my will, my Power Of Attorney and I’m set. They don’t realize what is available to help them. These are the things that you need to know, about getting your estate in order, and making sure your money and assets go to the people you want it to go to, not spent down on long term care.

There have been a few times lately, when we sit down with a small group of people, and have dinner with them at an assisted living facility or an apartment complex, and we just talk about everything in a really personal setting. It’s something I really enjoy doing. It’s like being at a table with friends.

And that is what this is going to be like.

I love getting this information out there. My office has become almost two practices, one to educate and one to serve legal needs.

I am passionate about helping seniors which is why I’m excited about the Medicaid Crisis Planning seminar.

Yes, it’s a serious subject. It’s something that you should come to if you have the need.

Our office address is 123 West Marion Street, McIntyre Elder Law. We are right across from the new open air farmers market pavilion, right opposite the flag.

Our phone number is 704 259 7040.

Call the office to reserve your seat for the Medicaid Crisis Planning seminar on Thursday February 25th. Ask to speak with Hayden. She will qualify you, and confirm the schedule.

There is no sweeter place to come home to than Shelby NC.

Call For Your Reservation: 704-259-7040

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby

Elder Law and Medicaid Secrets Revealed. Part 1. “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know.”

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Elder Law and Medicaid Secrets Revealed.
Part 1.
“You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know.”

Think about those words. ‘You don’t know what you don’t know.’

This is your opportunity to know more because the more you know the better you can plan.

This blog post is big, it’s important so pay attention.

In this post I will reveal elder law secrets that can help you. It’s pulling back the carpet and giving away the farm time. These are the secrets you need to know to protect your hard earned money and property okay.
We’re talking pre-planning to protect against that long term health care situation.

It is estimated that 70% of seniors are going to need some type of long term care. I want to hammer that home. That’s a huge deal. That is what much of my time is devoted to fighting against.

All this makes me mad. I’m mad this morning.

With all the technology and advancements we have, people still do not know how to protect what is theirs. Do you know that, people (that means you) aren’t even aware of what they can do?

Now what am I talking about here? I’m talking about keeping hold of your assets, your property, and your retirement savings in your senior years.

So let’s go at it.

What will protect your hard earned money and property if you plan ahead?
A Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT).

This is one of the most important things you can learn. All of sudden they’re at your door. They’re saying you or a family member have to go into nursing home care, or a long term care facility. That day you need to understand what your options are, before it’s too late.

Watch the full interview here:

How does a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust work?

Imagine you have a big jar with a spout on the side in front of you. I’ve used this visual with my clients when I’m talking to them about this issue in my office.
This jar is your MAPT. You’re going to put some money in it right now. This is a way where we can put a portion of the money you have earned for retirement/ savings into that Medicaid Asset Protection Trust. Usually a half, or one third, or two thirds approach.

Now, you will need to set up a third party trustee, it could be one of your adult children that you really trust, or it could be a trust company that is set up. Once you’ve set it up they have a fiduciary duty to provide for your health and maintenance and welfare. This makes sure you stay in the same lifestyle you’ve become accustomed to. Income from your money will still come out of that spout on the side of the jar directly to you. It can be a direct deposit to your bank account if you want to use it that way.

Listen to the full podcast here:

What is the benefit of doing this?

First, imagine tapping the jar with a pen, that’s the clock ticking on the 5 year look back period. It starts that clock ticking. After that passes, everything in the jar is locked and protected from that Medicaid situation, that long term care situation.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, a look back period is a block of time in which Medicaid can look back to see if any of your assets have been transferred before applying for Medicaid.

You’re locking your money in to the MAPT and it’s protected after the date of those 5 years.

From the day you put anything into it, you can continue to put money or things in. You can put your house into it if you wanted to. It would be immediately protected against the look back period.

What would be the advantage?

Okay, here’s a big one.

A Ladybird Deed can protect your house immediately against Medicaid spending against the look back period. That’s the advantage of a Ladybird deed. You own it, it’s yours.

But what you can do with a Medicaid Asset Protection trust, apart from starting the clock ticking, is you can take your house and put it in the MAPT and all the rest of your property if you want. Once the look back period has passed, I can sell that house within the environment of the MAPT. The money stays there. It’s still in there from the proceeds of the sale.
It’s still protected.

However, if you have a Lady-Bird Deed and sell your house, you, personally, realize a large sum of money which if you were already on Medicaid, would short circuit that benefit and Medicaid would immediately stop paying.

So, with a MAPT, I can sell that house, what else can I do? I might be able to buy other property. Well in that environment of the MAPT, I could direct my trustee to do just that.

Future Presentations
There is a lot of important information that I want to give you but I do not have room for in this post. Because of this, I will be giving a number of presentations on Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts specifically, and on Medicaid crisis planning (part 2 of this blog post).
If you’re in a situation where your parent or parents are going to a nursing home, or you’re spouse is going there or already there, and you see the money disappearing, and it’s breaking your heart and your bank accounts, call our office at 704 259 7040.

We will schedule you a time to come in and meet with me, or pre-qualify you for one of these seminars. This is for people who need that information right now, right this minute.

Another Option for you.
In early February 2016, I have a book coming out called ‘Saving the Farm.’
We are going to have a book launch at the Life Enrichment Center in Shelby and everyone is invited to it. The tentative date for this event is Thursday February 11, and I will confirm that date and time in the coming weeks.

‘Saving The Farm,’ is a book on helping families with wealth preservation. I named it that because my grandfather was forced to sell his farm due to health care costs. This is one of the reasons I became an elder lawyer, to help others going through a similar situation.

It is not just about Elder Law topics, although you are going to get all the details about how to save your hard earned money and property right there.

If you do want to implement a plan however, you might want to give me a call but the book is going to give you a lot of topics that I can’t cover here.

You need this book so you know how to plan. I have boiled it down to about a hundred and fifty pages, so it’s quite concentrated. You can read it in a few sittings. It’s also a reference book about anything I’m talking about here or anything related, even senior dental care.

I hope the information here is useful to you. If you are one of those desperately searching for answers, then call me at my office 704 259 7040.
My name is Greg McIntyre and I am an Elder Lawyer.

Look out for special information about the ‘Saving the Farm,’ book launch party in February this year.
I look forward to seeing you there.

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby


Feeling Squeezed in the Middle of a Generational Sandwich? How to Take Care of Yourself as You Take Care of Others

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Feeling Squeezed in the Middle of a Generational Sandwich?
How to Take Care of Yourself as You Take Care of Others

Raising your kids, working, trying to take care of yourself, and now caring for an aging parent? That makes you part of the Sandwich Generation. You are not alone—almost half of America’s 40- and 50-year olds are in the same boat.

Most of us have adjusted to balancing children, work and finding some time for ourselves. But when we add caring for an aging parent, it often becomes too much. And usually it’s the “me” part that is sacrificed…until you hit burn out.

Here are some ways to leverage your time and resources so you can also take care of yourself.

Enlist Your Kids
Even the smallest child can spend charming one-on-one time with a grandparent. If your parent lives with or near you, they can spend time together in person. If your parent is not near you, they can Skype on the computer, use FaceTime or play multi-player online games. Your children, no matter what their ages, will benefit from spending time with Grandma or Grandpa, they will see how you value and care for aging family members—and you will get some extra time to return phone calls, make dinner, or even catch a quick nap!

Ask About Options at Work
Check with your employer’s human resources department about resources that might be available to you. Depending on how long you expect to be caring for your parent, there may be a multitude of options available to you, including elder care research and referral services, flex time, even working from home options. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) calls for eligible employees to receive 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave. (Private employers with less than 50 employees are exempt.)

Seek Assistance
There are legal and community resources that can help you make the best care and financial decisions for your parent. A local Elder Care attorney can prepare the necessary legal documents and help you maximize your parent’s income, long-term care insurance and retirement savings, and qualify for VA or Medicaid benefits, if applicable. He/she will also be familiar with various living communities in the area and in-home care agencies. You can also hire someone to review and verify/dispute insurance claims and medical billing.

Find Your “Me” Time
Stress is your biggest enemy and you have to find ways to reduce it. Joining a caregiver group, in person or online, will let you share your questions and frustrations, and learn how other caregivers are coping. Don’t be afraid to ask favors of friends and other relatives, such as picking up your kids while you go to the doctor with your parent. You could also learn to order in dinner every now and then without feeling guilty. Learn what you need to maintain your stamina, energy and positive outlook. That may include regular exercise (a yoga class, walk or run), a weekly outing with friends, or time to read or simply watch TV.

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby






Build Your Empire

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Empire State's BuildingRecently, I took my family to New York City, the Big Apple, the city that never sleeps, as sort of a celebratory rite of passage for my oldest son’s 16th birthday.  As I sat on the plane preparing for takeoff, for what seemed like an eternity, I had that feeling in the pit of my stomach… You know, a little anxious, a little scared, but mostly excited. “What if something happens?” I thought as my wife and 16 year-old sat beside me. Luckily for my family, I have my foundations or foundational documents (GDPOA, HCPOA, Living Will, Will) in place just in case something happened to me. Others are not so fortunate, although with a little planning and a quick trip to the office, they too, could have that peace of mind.

Without proper planning, the assets that you have worked so very hard for, for an entire lifetime could all be lost.  And then you would be unable to pass your assets down to your family, and to leave a legacy to help your children and grandchildren.  A legacy built upon your hard work.

Many in Manhattan know this. Wealthy Manhattanites hire lawyers to draft trusts and implement wealth protection strategies to care for their families well into the future.

Why should you not be afforded the same protection? Why should your family not be given the same chance to build upon the foundation you have laid through your lifetime of hard work?

Empires like Manhattan were built over many generations… Each generation building upon the foundation of the last… Passing on wealth and legacy.

Start laying the foundation for your empire today!

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby


What Happens if a Family Member Becomes Incapacitated? The Unpopular Topic of Discussion Every Family Needs to Have

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What Happens if a Family Member Becomes Incapacitated?

The Unpopular Topic of Discussion Every Family Needs to Have

Just bringing up the possibility of someone in your family becoming mentally or physically incapacitated is often difficult. We tend to think of only the very elderly needing long-term, hands-on care, but a recent report by the Alzheimer’s Association found that one in nine Americans age 65 or older currently have Alzheimer’s. With the baby boom generation aging and people living longer, that number may nearly triple by 2050. Dementia isn’t the only reason for long-term care, of course, but almost everyone knows someone already affected by it.

Waiting too late to plan can throw a family into confusion about what the Mom or Dad would want, what options are available, and what resources can help pay for care. Rushed decisions are often the most costly. Having the courage to discuss the possibility of incapacity now can go a long way toward being prepared should that time come. By the way, because anyone can become incapacitated at any time due to illness or accident, the entire family would benefit from planning for every family member.

Planning/Discussion Considerations

Care Options: Depending on the type and expected duration of care needed, options range from in-home care to adult daycare to assisted living facilities to nursing homes. Assistance with activities of daily living (ADL), which include eating, bathing and dressing, are generally not covered by health insurance. Professional care can be expensive; the national average for basic assisted living services is now about $42,000 per year. Care for those with dementia can last longer and cost more. Family caregivers, who provide the bulk of in-home care, are often unpaid, and the emotional and financial tolls can be considerable. Your discussions need to realistically consider family finances and circumstances.

Finances: Where will the money come from to pay these expenses? What resources will be available? Health insurance does not cover assisted living/nursing home facilities or help with ADLs. Medicare covers some in-home health care and a limited number of days of skilled nursing home care, but not long-term care. Medicaid, which does cover long-term care, was designed for the indigent; to qualify, the person’s assets must be spent down to almost nothing. VA benefits for Aid & Attendance may be available for veterans and their spouses. If there are significant assets, you can self-insure and pay the costs as you go. Home equity and retirement savings can also be a source of funds. If you want to protect these assets for your family, long-term health insurance may be an option. (Premiums are much lower when you are younger.)

Documents: Everyone over the age of 18 needs basic legal documents. These include an advance health directive or healthcare power of attorney (legally appointing another person to make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself); a durable financial power of attorney (legally appointing another person to make financial decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself); and a trust and/or will.

Having the Discussion: Your parents may be harboring secret fears about what will happen to them if they need long-term care. Talking about this honestly, listening to their fears and desires, and putting a plan in place before it is needed can help reassure them (and you). If you want to talk to your children, reassure them that you are just being realistic. Starting with a story about someone you know or an article you read can be a good way to break the ice.

How to Get Help: An attorney who specializes in Elder Law has already helped many families in these same situations, and will be able to make recommendations that will save you considerable time, money, and stress. He/she can also work with other advisors (financial/investment, insurance, CPA, etc.) to help put together the best plan for your family’s circumstances.

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby




Medicaid Crisis Planning – Part 2

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MedicaidWe’re talking crisis. We’re going to get down and dirty today.

We had a new article come out in the ‘Shelby Shopper’ this month called, ‘Are wills obsolete?’ I know a lot of people are talking about that, and the real problems with the probate and wills process okay.
And we’re going to talk about that today, really centered around Medicaid planning, which is Medicaid Crisis Planning.

Are Wills Obsolete?

What happens if you find yourself a spouse, a mum or a dad, or a family member in a crutch where they’re
headed to a nursing home, or in a nursing howtoobsolete-800home, or assisted living facility, and money is being spent down like crazy, it’s being thrown away like water.

What do you do?
Well, you come to me.

There’s crisis everywhere at the moment? It’s a blood red market right now. The Dow is down 300 points, crisis, panic, panic. That’s really troubling for a lot of retirees.

People have worked hard to acquire things and you don’t want to just give them up or lose them in the end, or at some point in the future.

Watch the full show here:

My grandfather always planned and saved so he could leave something to his children, so he could help them start out on their own. And my father always saved and invested.

We all want to leave a better lot in life for our children, give them a leg up. I think that’s just human nature, don’t you?

It’s something a lot of people don’t think about.
They don’t think about it because they don’t realize what they can do. They also don’t know what will happen if they don’t do certain things to protect their assets.

This is something people should pay close attention to, because knowledge is power. If you don’t know what you don’t know, you can’t make the best decisions for your future.

That’s why you need to come and consult with someone who knows, like myself, like the people at our office.

Why is all this important to seniors?
A lot of us have invested in the stock market, and 401Ks and IRAs that are going up and down like a rollercoaster.

Listen to the Full HD Podcast Here:

You’re watching your retirement go down but you know it always comes back up eventually, it’ll bounce back, you can’t afford to panic right? We’re in it for the long haul.

But what else can make your retirement disappear?
It’s something much faster than the stock market.

Going into a nursing home is going to cost you somewhere around $50’000 to $75’000 to $100’000. That’s probably a lot more than you’ll lose on a 300 point drop on the stock market.

Watch that money disappear at a clip of $75’000 to $100’000 every year, year after year after year. That’s when I’m sitting with someones wife who is crying and upset because she believes she is going to be poor and destitute because of a long term health care situation that her husband has. Perhaps he has early onset dementia.

The sad thing is, they both worked their whole lives, just hard workers who worked to build their retirement, and it’s just disappearing like water over a waterfall. And it’s not their fault.

The Money Situation
This elder couple have paid out 40 to 50 cent on every dollar they’ve earned through income tax and from sales tax.
They pay 3 times what it cost to buy their house from the interest over 30 years on their mortgage. So, if they paid $100’000 when they bought their house, they end up paying the bank $250’000 to $300’000.
Then in order to access a benefit like Medicaid for long term care, they have to spend down all the money from the 50 cents they got to keep, their dollars, and are potentially forced to sell their property or have a lien placed on their house, or taken away if it goes through a will or passes by a will. (??)

That is why you should read my article ‘Are Wills Obsolete,’ because that’s where liens are attached, that’s where that Medicaid lien attaches and takes that away from your family and from going to your children. That’s a college education for a grandchild right there.

I don’t like that in our system. I can’t reconcile that everyone doesn’t agree with me on those points.

Look, from my perspective you really have to get behind your clients position, you have to get those blinders on and be just die hard loyal to that person and their position. And that’s how I view my job.

The client in the hot seat is a senior, and I’m helping them have as many health care options as possible. I’m helping them if it’s a couple or family, protect their hard earned assets they worked their entire lives to get, and keep those assets in their control.

I hear a lot about what age should you start giving away your property or your land?

The normal person would say about 60 to 65.

The real answer is, absolutely never. NEVER.

A hundred percent, a hundred and fifty percent never ever ever ever ever should you give your property away. Maybe that’s the way our programs and our legislature have set things up but their wrong. And the system is wrong. And we need to fix it.

You do all that, and then?
In the end you access the health benefit to help pay for long term care. That’s the same benefit that is causing all your assets to disappear. That’s the 50 cents on the dollar you got to keep, and the house that you paid 3 times as much for to the bank, you’ve got to give all that away in order to access that same benefit.

And who paid for that benefit in the first place? You did, with that other 50 cents that was taken away in taxes. And that’s the position that I take.

I am talking here about an emergency and crisis situation but I’ll lead into that by talking about wills.

So, what is a will?

It’s a document that’s created that designates, when you pass away, where your property is to go and/or to whom.

When you take a will to the court house to probate it, you have to wait a 90 day waiting period, whether it’s a small or regular sized estate, and possibly publish that in the paper to give the public notice and wait 90 days before you can do anything.

Why do they do that? Why do you open up that 90 day waiting period?

It’s in case you owe money to someone, if you have creditors or something.

If you don’t have a will, don’t worry, the laws of NC already has a program set up to pass all your property any way the state sees fit.

I’m sure everyone trusts the state to pass that property the way you would want right?
No absolutely not.

It benefits people to know how the state will administer your estate. Usually it’s a pretty fair deal. The state is usually going to split it up equally among kids. The problem comes in if there’s a spouse. It could pin the children and the spouse fighting against one another for assets.
In a family where there are step fathers, step mothers, step brothers, or step sisters, it just gets crazy.

I’m going to be really clear. The state is doing what it can to anticipate a fair way, or try to think of a fair way to distribute your assets. But it might not be your way.

You may want your wife to get everything. You may want your children to get everything. You may want a church to get a portion, or a charity but it’s not necessarily going to happen that way. It’s rare that it happens just the way you want it to, unless you draft a will.

Why would Medicaid have to come in and pay for long term care for someone who requires nursing home or assisted living care?

This happens if you have exhausted your Medicare.

How long will Medicare pay?

20 days.

And what happens after 20 days?

If you have a supplemental, it will pay up to 80 days. So 100 days in all if you have a supplemental. So you have a very short period of time from the time you actually walk into a facility, until the time you begin paying out of pocket, or your long term care insurance kicks in, if you have it. If you don’t have it, you should try to get it.

Why should you have a long term care policy? And why is this such a big issue?

What are the odds that people over 65 years old are going to need some form of long term care?

According to the current statistics, it’s just around 70%. 70 percent of seniors. That’s frightening.

Medicaid Crisis Planning Seminar
That’s why I do a hard core Medicaid crisis planning seminars that you need to come and see. I’m giving seminars this year. I’m giving 6 in Cleveland County on Medicaid crisis Planning.

They are going to be limited to between 5 and 20 seats or 5 to 20 couples. If you want to come to a Medicaid crisis planning seminar we have one in February.

You have to qualify for these seminars. You have to have a loved one going into nursing home or assisted living long term care. We are going to sit down and talk about the secrets of Medicaid crisis planning.

You can save your money and property of your loved one and your family.

It could be a person whose parent is headed to or in a nursing home or assisted living facility, and their parents assets are quickly disappearing. It could be a wife or husband who is scared because all their retirement is rapidly going away.

And they’re scared because they have been told they can only keep $2000. Well that’s not true.

Monetary information.
Generally a healthy spouse can keep $119,220 under the current rules in their name, or the community spouse as they’re called.

The person receiving care can keep around $2000 or less in their name. But we can save more than that.

There are strategies that can be employed, and there are spend downs that can be used correctly. That’s what we need to take a look at.

There is strategic deed planning, we talked about Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts last week in part 1 of this show, but moving on to a crisis, there is deed planning even in a crisis. There are Ladybird deeds we can employ to save property right now and avoid the 5 year look back period.

These are the things we need to talk about. And these are the things we will get down and dirty about at our Medicaid Crisis Planning seminars.

You need to see an attorney who knows about long term care and Medicaid and special assistance Medicaid.

For those who would like to call and talk about how to save your money and property, call my office and sit down with me for a free consult. Just mention you heard me on the radio show ‘The Elder Law Report.’

Our number at the office is 704 259 7040.

I’m Greg McIntyre, the elder law guy, lawyer Greg, and I have a firm called McIntyre Elder Law, that’s what we do.

We help seniors protect their assets and legacies.

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby



2016 New Years Resolutions – Making Resolutions and Taking Action.

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It’s a New Year again. Welcome to 2016 everyone. I’m totally jumping into 2016 this morning. It’s a new year, I can’t believe it’s a new year. Where’d the last year go man? I’m not ready. It went by quick. Maybe as we get older we sleep through a lot of it.

This is my year end review show or blog. I’m going to talk a little bit about resolutions and planning for 2016, and what that entails.

Resolutions are such a sensitive subject. “What are your resolutions?” They’re personal but general at the same time. Most of us throw out the same resolutions each year as if they’ve just become part of the tradition of New Year. Maybe that’s why so many of us fail to achieve our resolutions, and fail so quickly.

I want to change that.

I want to make a difference because your resolution should be something that can make a difference to you and even others in the new year.

And maybe that should be the first step to achieving your resolutions:
So my first point is this: Have a resolution (or resolutions) that make a difference, not just for you but for someone else also.
I know, resolutions are supposed to be or usually are self-centered or ego-centric. They’re supposed to be about how I can change something about myself that I don’t like, or improving something like finances, health, job or whatever.

Let me explain my thinking.

So that’s another year. We reflect on the year, we do the new years celebration thing, and then we set out to make new years resolutions for next year right. And that’s what everyone is doing right now or has already done.

Just a short while ago, I was looking at Time magazines top ten of all time broken new year’s resolutions. I chopped that down to the top five.

No.1- Lose weight and get fit.
No.2- Quit Smoking.
No.3- Learn something new.
No.4- Eat healthier and diet.
No.5- Get out of debt and save money.

I think those are the top resolutions made and broken.

Most resolutions as I mentioned are self centered or ego-centric. That’s not that we’re deliberately trying to exclude other people, we just want to make improvements for ourselves.

And it occurred to me that if you make resolutions that include others, that can benefit another person, you’ll be more likely to succeed in those resolutions. That brings me to my second resolution point: Accountability.

Having a resolution that can benefit another, even if that benefit is secondary to your own, will push you to follow through. You will feel accountable.
So if you want to get fit, start riding bikes with your kids. Or resolve to do something where you have support from others, who support your goals.

If you want to resolve financial goals, bring your spouse in on it. If you have someone who is an advocate with you, you won’t want to let them down. You become accountable to them, which pushes you to succeed.

Hayden who works in my office said on our New Years Radio Show that, “the best exercise program I ever did, I did with a friend and I would feel I let her down if I didn’t do it. It helps your plan if you make a commitment to someone else.”

So, what are your resolutions for 2016 and how are you planning on keeping to them. Figuring that part out is as important as the resolution itself, if not more so.

For me, I grew a lot this year, personally and professionally. I really focused on estate planning and elder law services. I didn’t spread myself thin. And that’s really amazing, I call it the X factor, I’ll write a book about it one day.

Doing this allowed me to take action. I mean real action

And that brings me to my third resolution point: Don’t spread yourself thin. Don’t have 20 wildly differing resolutions all going at the same time in different directions.

Having just a few resolutions to focus on will allow you to achieve the next point much more effectively. So point four is: Take action. “Actions speak louder than words.”

So, here they are:
• Choose your top two or three resolutions and commit to them. Just a couple of them. Focus on those only.
• Then make sure you bring someone in with you. Someone who will maybe benefit from your resolution also, who will support your goal, and hold you accountable. Who will keep you on track.
• Take action. Don’t let your resolutions just be words. Put action behind them.

And finally and possibly the most important point of all, make sure you really want to achieve your resolution. I know how that may sound. What I mean is, choose the resolutions closest to your heart.
Example: If you need to lose a few pounds but you’re only doing it because people are telling you that you should, the chances are you will drop it like a stone at the first opportunity. Choose from your heart.

What are the most important things to you that you want to resolve this New Year?

Good luck and Happy New Year everyone.

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby


Alzheimer’s and Dementia with Expert, Teepa Snow

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Teepa Snow

For this very special episode, I was honored to be able to interview expert on Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Teepa Snow. During our discussion, Teepa and I spoke about everything from care to causes and what needs to change in the systems to allow for more humane treatment of loved ones with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. 


How did you come to be the expert’s expert in Alzheimer’s and Dementia? 

It’s interesting, I would have never thought that. But I started off doing a lot of work with the USD School of Medicine and I was part of a team when I graduated and got my Occupational Therapy degree. I have worked in long-term care, so when they were looking for somebody it seemed like a good match and I had the good fortune to work with a good nurse, a good social worker, and then a couple of really good strong, family practicing general internal medicine physicians who understood geriatrics really well. That allowed me to learn the art of working with lots of disciplines, but to work with people that have Dementia. 

Then I did some work with head injury, and I did that for three years. I also went back and worked again with Dementia in a psychiatric setting. Then I did home care and community care, and I worked at the VA. During all this time I kept building expertise in geriatrics and I find more and more I understood Dementia and could work with those with Dementia and show improvement while working with their caregivers a lot better than most of my colleagues. I found it interesting and exciting, not scary and awful. During that time I’d also be doing in-services and training, so as time went by people would start going with me to do things. Then I worked for the Alzheimer’s Association as the Education Director in the eastern North Carolina area. We made a couple of training videos because we were doing workshops, which lead people to want more and more workshops. So we thought, “Okay, let’s develop a video now.” The video became the video used nationally by many groups that addressed the issues one would face when trying to care for someone with Dementia. From there it snowballed. 

Listen to the full interview here:


What would you say has been your experience with patients with Alzheimer’s and Dementia? And what is the difference between the two? 

That is the most common question I am asked. Think about Dementia as a great big umbrella, and under that umbrella, one of the boxes is Alzheimer’s disease. But there’s other boxes: there’s frontal temporal lobe Dementia, there’s alcohol-related Dementia. So we’ve got a lot under that umbrella, but if it is under the umbrella it means four things: 1.) that at least two parts of the brain are starting to die, and what’s causing it will vary. 2.) as of right now, if it truly is Dementia, there is nothing we can do to slow it, stop it, or turn it around. We don’t have anything to rid of it; none of the drugs change the disease. 3.) if it’s truly Dementia, it’s going to get worse, it’s going to progress. All sorts of Dementia are neuro-degenerative, meaning they kill off the nerve cells in the brain. 4.) they’re all terminal illnesses, and once you have it, if nothing else kills you first then it will kill you. It will destroy so much of your brain that your brain can’t run your body anymore. So if you make it to the end, you’ll die of pneumonia because you can’t coordinate your swallowing and your breathing and your ability to fight infection, so you’ll get an infection in the blood stream that you can’t fight. If you get dehydrated and your brain says, “You don’t need any fluid”, your brain then says that you’re done. 

We didn’t used to keep track of that as Dementia, but it’s actually the Dementia that’s causing your body to shut down. And now it’s the 5th leading cause of death for people over 65 and the 11th leading cause of death for all ages. 


And the only one we don’t have a cure or treatment for. 

That’s right, nothing that does anything for the disease. The only thing we have is some people benefit from some of the medications some of the time for a short period of time. That’s it, that’s all we have. Care therefore becomes the critical feature, and yet if we look at our care patterns and what the government support is, it’s nothing. We do nothing for people living with Dementia, we manage their acute medical illnesses poorly because primarily we don’t know what to do with Dementia but I can fix the UTI. So what I’ll do is tie you down and give you antibiotics. Well, what’s going to happen the next time? We’ll do it again and again, but where are we going with that? So we unfortunately put people through a lot of distress because no one really understands what the disease looks like. Doctors think, “I can treat that” but yet they can’t treat the Dementia.


Does a living will help in these situations in any way? 

Well, let’s say I have an advanced directive that with any other health condition would be honored. The only state in the nation right now if I developed Dementia would be Oregon. In every other state, Dementia precludes me from having my directive followed. 


You unveil an important point, which is the living wills apply to when someone is terminally incurable, brain death has occurred and they’re being maintained by respirators. That doesn’t count for this situation where the mind is not coordinating with the body. 

This idea of competence is really complicated when it comes to Dementia because although I may not be competent to handle financial affairs, I might be competent to decide whether or not I want turkey or chicken for dinner. But that’s not how we’ve divided the pie here; it’s all black and white. 


So the legislature needs to work with people like you that are on the front lines in developing laws and directives to account for situations like Dementia and Alzheimer’s. 
Yes, because they don’t exist. With feeding tubes, they came to the realization that actually we weren’t improving anybody’s life and the value of doing that was actually nil. It actually didn’t change the quality or quantity of life, it made people more likely to have bad things happen. 


You deal in the healthcare industry on a regular basis. How much abuse of those directives is present? 

It’s possible, but let’s figure out what’s going on, and I would think the abuse that goes on to the people who have Dementia is much worse right now because they are put through things that I don’t know how anyone can do to another human being. And they call it “care”. 


I’ve said before, we treat animals in end of life situations better than people. 

Right, where is that going to take somebody? And to get people to take that step back and go, “Guys, this is not euthanasia like you’re talking about. I’m not taking somebody’s life away from them, I’m helping them do the things that they really value.” And yet we are more than willing to restrain people, tie them up, give them additional medications to make them protest so that I can deliver the “treatment” I believe they should have so they can live three more days. 


With zero quality of life and lots of pain. That’s ridiculous. 

How many times are we going to put somebody through this before we say, “You know, they said no.” Okay, let’s people together and work through this before we get to this place so that we’re really acting in the person’s best interest. Not working from anyone’s opinion, but what the patient clearly asked for before this started. 

This is going to be a movement from the ground up. I think Wisconsin and Minnesota are dealing with the issues, and they’re dealing with the issues because they, like North Carolina, have a large rural aging population. The resources are changing, the care situations are problematic. And people would rather die on their farm than move into a facility and lose their sense of identity and purpose. So how are we going to deal with this? Something needs to change about how care is delivered; people would never choose that. You walk into these places and you go, “Yes, better than it used to be”, but would I live here? Absolutely not. 

People pay phenomenal sums of money for an intensive care stay at the end of life for no decent outcome whatsoever, no quality of life during the process. And yet we will not pay a penny for the person to be cared for in a different situation. 


With 2/3 of the population being over 65 since 2010, Dementia and Alzheimer’s on the rise, you have to be able to identify it and then know how to react to it to give proper medical care. 

And yet there is no requirement at all for hospitals to have any kind of training in Dementia, for EMS services to have any kind of specific training in Dementia or police and fire departments, yet they’re the front lines, they’re the people out there in the community. 

The civil rights issue for people living with Dementia is finding that balance between what support and care I do need, and people making decisions about me without me, and me being able to be incarcerated for the rest of my life without a trial. If you put me in a secure unit, I may never get out again. Who’s to say that I’m there by virtue of what’s best for me versus what’s best for my oldest son who decided that I was causing a lot of trouble and it would be easier for him to manage my estate without me being present. 

Right now across North Carolina, it is permissible to lock people up and it doesn’t matter what they want or what they think. It’s rampant, and it’s a knee-jerk reaction. At a national level, the conversation is happening regularly. Yet nobody wants to address this because you’d actually have to address this. 


That leaves a good question on the civil rights issue: who’s going to fight that issue, and how do you fight that issue when you really don’t have a client that’s competent to be had? 

What I think we’re going to see is more and more younger onset patients say, “No, you’re not going to put me here.” And what happens is they typically get kicked out to the psyche unit and back because they get in trouble. So people are not sure what to do with the young onset people, and I think some will end up being lawyers and judges and someone is going to say, “I’ll take you to court.” I think we’re getting to that point where there are enough higher profile people who are getting this condition who are smart people, and they’re going, “Wait a minute, you can’t just do this to me.” And up until now there’s been just a few of them, but I think the numbers are starting to rise a little bit. 


Has this always existed throughout time with humanity? Or is this something new? It seems like this wasn’t the case when I was little; it was senility. But were we just calling it something else? 

Some of it has been around but not the amount and not the intensity. Our lifestyle is dramatically changing and our environment is changing, not only the environment of the brain but our environment and how we live our lives is very different than it was a generation and a half ago. I think when you start doing that over time, what we’re finding is high stress, sleep deprivation, and high sugar intake with limited opportunities to socialize and engage leads to certain types of Dementia in that umbrella. Certain types have become much more prevalent than what we used to see. We never saw it like we’re seeing it now. We’re also seeing more young onset situations. So I think we have lots of different things happening, but now we’re seeing an increased number of survivors who live long enough to whom the things that wouldn’t have happened because they were gone, are now happening. If you look at many of the young onset folks, you’re going to see the high intensity people, and they worked really hard to the point where they never gave themselves a break. We know that with people who are high-risk worriers – worrying is a bad habit because you can’t let it go – the risk goes up. 

It’s been a pleasure to interview you. Thank you 

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby

Senior Living from A to Z with Regional Vice President of Operations for Brookdale’s Southeast Division

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Kellee Agee

Kellee Agee – Regional Vice President of Operations for Brookdale’s Southeast Division

Brookdale Senior Living is a premier nationwide provider of senior living services and has nearly 80,000 associates. Regional Vice President of Operations for Brookdale’s Southeast Division, Kellee Agee, talks about assisted living, senior services, the future of the industry, and more. 


How did you come to hold the position of Regional Vice President of Operations? 

Such a wonderful story. As with anyone in healthcare, there is an interesting hook at some point in their lives. About 20 years ago now, a best friend of mine who was in assisted living as an executive director running a community, she and I would many times talk about our jobs. I was a business woman but I wasn’t in healthcare but I had a tremendous amount of stress as she did, I dealt with laws, regulations, budgets, and employees. But she had such stories abo
ut having an impact with people’s lives, and it spoke to me on such a level that when I became pregnant, I had a very early somewhat mid-life crisis where I felt I wanted to do something more meaningful. So I spoke to my family about wanting to get into senior living. But I was told I couldn’t just come in and run without having experience in the healthcare aspect. I was willing to take a step back and become a part, so I was hired as the business manager of a community after I convinced them I was serious. 

At that time, after about 4 months in the business office capacity, I was promoted to my own building, which is unheard of and I don’t know anyone else who was that fast paced. But in North Carolina at the time, there wasn’t any kind of formalized training or certification that you had to go through. From day one when I walked into the industry, I had to take home manuals to learn what people were saying around me. But looking back, I can’t imagine doing anything else; I feel so privileged to care for people. It kind of chose me, I feel. 

Listen to the entire interview here:

How many assisted living facilities do you have nationwide? 

At Brookdale we’ve got a little over 1,100 properties. The region that I oversee has 35 properties across North Carolina and Virginia, and so that’s my area of expertise at this given point. We have such tremendous heart at the head of this company, and you almost have to experience it. Our former CEO was such a tremendous man that set a benchmark of excellence and of being a person first, and allowing that to translate into what we do. Andy Smith, when he took the reins and getting the chance to see Andy respond, interact, and communicate with our company – as large as we are – he has continued that same standard. It’s a privilege. We truly have people that understand the results come from doing the other things right and doing them well, and that you’re going to have periods of time where there’s going to be a lull. 


If a family out there who is in need of an assisted living facility is looking for the right place for the father, mother, husband, etc., what should they look for in an assisted living community? 

That’s a great question, and I think it’s something – to be honest with you – I wish more families would better equip themselves to visit different communities. There’s such an emotional state of mind when someone is in need of help or support with a loved one. They thus tend to put too much weight on how they connect with an individual person – be that a salesperson or a person in administration – and it needs to go beyond that. The people aspect is critical, so one of the things I tell my own family members and neighbors, people who don’t have Brookdale as an option, is when they go into any healthcare setting, talk to and pay attention to all of the people within the walls of the community. Talk to as many as you can to get a sense of their satisfaction, their happiness. What kind of feel do you get from people who are there day in and day out? 

Definitely interact with the residents, if possible. Sometimes it’s not as beneficial, but they will tell you if they are happy, engaged, if they’re treated with respect from the staff. If that’s not part of the initial walk-through, then take that initiative and try to talk to other people. Even with something like Brookdale, it’s all about having great people who are called to do what they’re doing, who are well trained, and who have the resources. You don’t have to be overly-educated or understand all the jargon or ins and outs of regulations and requirements; it really comes down to a family going into a community and getting a sense of the people working within the community, and the confidence they can have. That makes the difference, and that’s something that Brookdale understands; it’s threaded in everything that we do, that people are the key. It’s not the corporate office, it’s not me, it’s not having state-of-the-art programs; it’s about investing in the caregiver, the cook, in the housekeeper. That’s where you’re going to get the most impact, in the people working within the community who are actually providing the care. 

With the caregivers, you need to look into, are they certified by a state program? Are they actually required to be certified nursing assistants? Do they have nurses Monday through Friday? Do they have them around the clock? I think they need to be empowered to ask every hard-hitting question that they possibly can and ensure they get good answers, specific quantified responses. 


Obviously, care takes money, just like anything else. How should a family look at making sure that they have the funds available to go to an assisted living facility, one that has the quality of a Brookdale community? And what are alternative ways to pay for care? 

Generally depending on the situation, I think that’s where Social Security and annuities or retirement is not enough to cover that. What you find is that you have more and more families that are either looking at a limited amount of savings for retirement benefits that they have, and it only gets them so far. There are other options out there, but they’re not foolproof. Some states have a some level of assisted programs either through Medicaid or some other branch of social services to provide some assistance. Overall, when it comes to paying for care needs and as care needs advance between a resident using their savings, retirement, we’re seeing more companies getting on board to provide additional options with reversed mortgages. You definitely have some of those options, cash-out options on life insurance policies and things of that nature. 

But I am so thrilled to see the uptick in long term care insurance. Others will need it far longer than any of the best planning could have foreseen if they don’t have some sort of long term retirement or family wealth that’s going to sustain decades of advanced care needs. 

I’m seeing an increase in awareness, but people have to get more educated and plan better for long term and how they’re going to provide for themselves. We’ve seen a lot of scare with even something that was considered a given: Social Security. People understand we are living longer, and unfortunately we’re becoming less and less healthy as we live longer. More of us are going to need longer term but more expensive provision as we age. 


What do you see coming for the future of assisted living communities and care for seniors? 

I see a lot more tattoos and nose rings, to add comic relief to it. I definitely see that with coming generations, there’s a different level of expectation. There’s a different level of education, so I think we’re going to have far more demanding consumers, both residents that need the services as well as their families to where all companies are going to have to step up and meet the changing needs of the Baby Boomers. Their needs are very different than the previous generation. 

I think we’re also seeing the younger people coming into the workforce having a much more demanding expectation of what they want in an employer. So maybe work ethic is one way to put it, but we’re looking at the fact that we’re going to have to have a different model of who’s going to be that caregiver 10 years from now. When you look at the fact that our aging population is going to explode over the next couple of decades, the workforce based on projected numbers doesn’t look to keep up with that. So I really think that we as a society are going to have to think of some ingenious ways to bring technology and synergies into senior living to maximize the benefit provided for seniors outside of what individual person to person is going to provide. I think that also may be a benefit to people who are living at home, as well. There’s going to be a lot of change. 

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby

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