Posts Tagged ‘advance directive’

Ninety Is Not The New Sixty

We all like to think that we will live a really long time. Although many of us harbor fantasies of being able to retain our youthful hearts and bodies, ninety is not the new sixty.  Young-old is different from old-old and we need to be sure that we are prepared for it. Susan Jacoby authored a thoughtful essay in the December 31, 2010  edition of the New York Times entitled Real Life Among the Old Old.   In her essay Ms. Jacoby reflects on her Mom who appeared active and ageless at 75 but who at ninety, has no more “adventures” in her future, because pain from age related illnesses made the smallest errand an “excruciating effort.”

Modern medicine has many living longer and longer.  According to Ms. Jacoby the over 85 set is the largest growing segment of the over 65 population and at least fifty percent of this population  will spend some time in a nursing home before they die because of a mental or physical disability. Ms. Jacoby’s musings point out  that we all need to have a plan for health care decision-making, surrogate financial decision-making and a plan for protecting assets in the event long term care is required at home or in in a nursing home.  Ninety is not the new sixty, do you have a plan?

Super Lawyer 2010

I have just returned from a New York State Bar Association Elder Law Section Meeting where I addressed Section Members on the newest developments regarding surrogate health care decision-making. This happened to roughly coincide with the publication of the Top 50 Women SuperLawyers List, and many of my colleagues at the meeting congratulated me for making the list.  I feel honored, though I have to say it is an unusual feeling to be publicly acknowledged in this way.  Our firm works hard to help people with their problems, so it’s a funny thing  when word gets around!

It has been a great year for our firm, Raskin & Makofsky, because  both my partner Judy Raskin and I were named to the SuperLawyers List in the Elder Law category. We are very proud to have both firm partners named and to be two of the twenty nine listed Elder Law attorneys in the New York Metropolitan area. The SuperLawyers List, which begins with nomination by one’s peers and factors in credentials, experience, and awards, represents the top five percent of lawyers in New York State. That must also mean that our clients are in the top five percent as well, doesn’t it?

Family Health Care Decisions Act

Legislation was recently enacted to expand the possibilities for surrogate health care decision-making in New York State. The Family Health Care Decisions Act (FHCDA) allows family members or other persons close to a patient (health care surrogates) to make medical decisions for a loved one even if that person has not signed a Health Care Proxy.  While the Health Care Proxy has been available since 1991, allowing for appointment of a health care agent to make medical decisions for us, many residents have failed to execute Health Care Proxies. The FHCDA is helpful because it provides for the appointment of an agent to make medical decisions in the event someone is unable to make these decisions and has not executed a Health Care Proxy.