Lessons Learned from Hurricane Sandy – From an Elder Law Attorney’s Perspective

The past two weeks have been crazy times here in New Jersey. From a late season hurricane to another autumn snow storm, which now seems to be the new norm. When not in search of gas, my staff and I made some interesting observations from the calls we have received in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

When a natural disaster occurs the most vulnerable in our society suffer the most. That tends to be the very young and the very old and infirm. Being elder law attorneys, naturally, our focus is on the elderly. Last week, we received several calls from people who either moved into their elderly family member’s home to weather the storm and the resulting loss of power or had that family member move into their home.

What prompted so many to call us was the “eye opener”, that they didn’t realize how bad Mom or Dad’s mental or physical deterioration was or how dangerous it had become for them to live alone. We all live busy lives but an event like last week’s forces us to slow down – or stop completely – our normal routines and pay closer attention to the loved ones in our lives.

Several people who called – and I expect more in the coming weeks – said the storm really opened their eyes to the needs of their aging parent and has caused them to take steps to address those needs, whether it be looking at home care, assisted living or nursing care options or to inquire as to what resources and options are available to them and what they ought to be doing now.

Certainly, no one would go so far as the MSNBC reporter, Chris Matthews did when he said he was glad the hurricane happened. Hurricane Sandy has caused much pain and many billions of dollars in loss. But, for some, it has forced them to stop and take a close look at the lives of their parents, aunts and uncles. And if they now take the events of last week as a wake up call, and make some changes that will safeguard their family, that is one small good thing that can come from this tragedy.

For those of you looking for my series on Medicaid Basics, I will continue tomorrow with a new post so be sure to check back here. For more information on New Jersey Medicaid, email us at contact@hauptmanlaw.com and type in “Consumer’s Guide to New Jersey Medicaid” and we’ll email you our Consumer’s Guide in pdf format.

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