Hurley Elder Care Law Newsletter - December 2018

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December 2018  

Women and Caregiving

So far this year, I have met with over 800 families. Each of these families came to us with different needs concerning their loved ones—estate planning, guardianship, applying for VA Benefits, paying for nursing home care, asset protection, etc., but almost all of these families had one thing in common—a strong, compassionate woman involved in their loved one’s care. More times than not, sitting across from me at the table, discussing the intimate details of their aging family member, is a wife, sister, daughter, granddaughter or daughter-in-law.  Out of 800+ families, I have met with at least 620 women caregivers.  Yes, we do have husbands, sons, and brothers reaching out to our office, but the majority of the individuals meeting with us are women.
This is no big surprise. Statistically, women do the majority of caregiving in the US.  Almost 70% of caregivers are women. The average family caregiver is a 49-year-old working woman; she spends an average of 20 hours per week providing unpaid care to a disabled or aging loved one. In addition to emotional support and companionship, these women are providing hands-on care, care management services, transportation, and advocacy. About one quarter of women between 45 and 64 and one in seven between ages 35 and 44 are caregivers for older relatives.
Women are essentially the backbone of our long-term care system, and they are enabling almost 65% of older adults with long-term care needs to remain in their homes. The value of the informal care that women provide ranges from $148 billion to $188 billion annually. This huge job comes with costs to the caregiver.  I will never get used to witnessing the stress, anxiety and weariness that accompanies each of these family members into my office. The wives are afraid they will be financially devastated by their spouses’ care expenses, the daughters are dealing with the stress of caring for aging parents while also working full-time, and the daughters-in-law, left as the primary decision maker for her husbands’ parents all leave an impact on me. I am both impressed by strength, energy, and resiliency of these women and saddened by the inequity.  It is no surprise to me that female caregivers have been found to have high levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms and lower life satisfaction.
In addition to the emotional impacts of caregiving, most caregivers take on a financial loss after becoming a full-time caregiver. Ten percent of caregivers have to reduce their hours at work, and six percent are affected so much that they leave their job. This leaves caregivers financially insecure as they lose the ability to contribute to pensions or save for their own old age.  This particularly worrisome because older women already have higher poverty rates than men.
To all of our family caregivers, I see you and the work that you are doing. You are doing a great job, and this is not easy work. You put in countless hours patiently caring for your loved one, sitting by their hospital beds, touring assisted living communities, running errands, talking to doctors, organizing medications, handling family disagreements, and paying the never-ending bills. Your job is 24/7 with few breaks, and I continue to be amazed by your endless energy and abilities. I wish I could do more to change how we as a community support family caregivers.
Caregiving is usually considered a family responsibility or obligation.  Our health care system and government safety net programs particularly view caregiving this way.  But the increasing demands on caregivers as more and more adults are reaching old, old age and requiring years of hands-on assistance is unsustainable, especially as it leaves more women caregivers vulnerable to becoming impoverished in their own old age.
In 2019, Hurley Elder Care Law will be exploring this issue in depth through a new continuing education course for health care professionals: Unequal, Unprepared and Unprotected: Women and Aging. If you are a member of a group that may be interested in learning more about this important topic, please contact us at (404) 843-0121 or

Family Business
Family tradition is very important to the staff at Hurley Elder Care Law. This past weekend Louise, Joanna, Dawn, Sandi and Theresa had their annual cookie-making day. Michelle is taking her mother and daughter to the Opryland Hotel this year. Every year when she was a little girl, her mother took her so now she is excited to be going back with both of them! While most families leave Santa milk and cookies at the fireplace, the Hurley’s leave Santa a glass of Port to warm his tummy and a slice of stilton cheese to have alongside the Port. They also have a family-sized lego set to build on Christmas day. This year Debbie’s family will be heading to Costa Rica to celebrate their mother’s 80th birthday. From all of us at Hurley Elder Care Law, we wish you a wonderful holiday season!
Upcoming Speaking Events & Community Presentations

Thursday, January 17 - “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know: The Importance of Being Educated Prior to a Crisis" at Sunrise Ivey Ridge. The options for paying for long-term care are limited. Did you know that Medicare will not pay for home care or assisted living community care? Do you know what Medicaid provides? Most families do not realize their limited options until they are in a crisis—usually when their loved one is about to be discharged from a hospital. Making decisions while in a crisis can be stressful and result in bad choices. This seminar is intended to provide information prior to a crisis. Learn how to best find, get and pay for good long-term care. *This event is free and open to the public.

Sunrise at Ivey Ridge, 2950 Old Alabama Road, Alpharetta, GA 30022 at 6:00 PM- 7:00 PM. Refreshments will be served. RSVP to Sharon Ash at 770-475-6622 or

Thursday, January 24 - Join Michelle Allen, LCSW, for "You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know – The Importance of Being Educated Prior to a Crisis."  The options for paying for long-term care are limited.  Did you know that Medicare will not pay for home care or assisted living community care?  Do you know what Medicaid provides?  Are you aware of the Veterans Administration Aid and Attendance benefit and the recent changes to the benefit?  Most families do not realize their limited options until they are in a crisis—usually when their loved one is about to be discharged from a hospital.  Making decisions while in a crisis can be stressful and result in bad choices. This seminar is intended to provide information prior to a crisis. Learn how to best find, get and pay for good long-term care.  Appetizers and refreshments will be served. *This event is free and open to the public.

Coventry Place, 2806 North Decatur Road, Decatur, GA 30033 at 5:30 PM-7:00 PM, RSVP to Nancy Crolley at 404-296-0962 or

For more details and a complete list of upcoming events, please visit Hurley Elder Care Law Community Education.
Recent Blogs
VA Benefits and Medicaid- How can these benefits work together?

Our Team- Read the six reasons were thankful for our attorneys.
Feeling Overwhelmed?- Becoming an unexpected caregiver.

Elder Care Resources
VA Official Dates of War- VA Pension with Aid and Attendance qualifying dates of war.

Understanding VA- What is “Income for VA Purposes?"

The VAs Big Announcement- There are big changes to the Aid and Attendance benefit that went into effect October 18th.

Miles P. Hurley, JD, CELA  Miles P. Hurley founded Hurley Elder Care Law in 2006 to provide legal assistance to the elderly population on issues relating to aging including retaining independence, quality of life and financial security. Mr. Hurley is one of twelve attorneys in the state of Georgia to receive the Elder Law Attorney Certification, and one of approximately 400 nationwide. 
Hurley Elder Care Law is dedicated to the process of long-term care and estate planning. 
Call us today for a free phone consultation with a client coordinator at (404) 843-0121.

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Hurley Elder Care Law
100 Galleria Pkwy, Suite 650
Atlanta, GA 30339

Satellite Offices
2011 Commerce Dr. Suite 100, Peachtree City, GA 30269   
225 Creekstone Ridge, Woodstock, GA 30188       
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