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Aging / Elder Law FAQs « FAQs

We are teachers and advocates, and as a part of that process we frequently answer questions from our clients — so we started collecting our Frequently Asked Questions. We are collecting and sharing them with you by topic and hope these are helpful to you.

Please feel free to email Patti at pdudek@pekdadvocacy.com if you have a follow up question or comment. We'd also like you to let us know what you think of this new feature of our website.

KEEP IN MIND THESE ARE GENERAL QUESTIONS AND CANNOT BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE OR THE BEGINNING OF THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

We have redacted names to protect the innocent! Sometimes they are posed in a give and take format because they were developed through an email exchange.

(Note: questions are not edited for spelling, grammar or content.)

Aging / Elder Law FAQs:

Question: Are there any legal courses of action available to prevent an elderly person from driving (in lieu of having them declared incapacitated)?

Answer: You (or whomever has knowledge of the elderly person's limitations and/or problematic driving behavior) can ask the Secretary of State to reexamine the older driver to determine if they meet the requisite standards. The SoS has a PDF on their website of their pamphlet on this topic that provides a link to the reexamination request form: Driving for Life: A Guide for Older Drivers and Their Families.


Question:  What is an Elder Law Attorney?

Answer:  Attorneys who work in the field of elder law bring more to their practice than an expertise in the appropriate area of law.  They also have knowledge of the senior population and their unique needs as well as the myths related to competence and aging.  They are aware of the physical and mental difficulties that often accompany the aging process.  Because of their broad knowledge base they are able to more thoroughly address the legal needs of their clients.

Elder law covers all aspects of planning, counseling, education, and advocating for clients.  Elder law attorneys are a resource to their clients because they understand their clients’ needs may extend beyond basic legal services and stay informed about and connected to the local networks of professionals who serve the elder population. From: What is an Elder Law Attorney?


Question: If I want to stay in my own home, do I have other options besides a nursing home?

Answer: Yes.  If you want to stay in your home, you have options that may be less expensive and stressful than a nursing home.


Question: What is long-term care insurance?

Answer: Long-term care insurance is a private insurance policy purchased to cover long-term care needs, such as home care provided by a paid caretaker, assisted living facilities or nursing homes. 


Question: I have a client that clearly does not belong on the road, but refuses to give up his driver’s license.  His spouse contacted his treating eye physician, who was sympathetic, but unable to intervene with the Secretary of State for privacy reasons.  There is no guardian or power of attorney in place.  We have taken his car keys and hidden the car, but he intends to buy a new car so that he can get back on the road.  Any suggestions?

Answer: MCL 257.320 is the section that allows anyone to request a driver’s evaluation.  See http://www.michigan.gov/documents/OC-88_16727_7.PDF for the form.  As the form says this section must be completed and signed or the request will not be processed.  The Department des not accept anonymous requests.  Requests by private citizens to remain confidential will be respected to the extent permitted by Michigan and Federal Law.  The form also lists potential reasons.  As provided by Section 257.320 of the Michigan Vehicle Code, the Department of State may schedule a driver assessment reexamination on the driver based on evidence of physical infirmities or disabilities, vision deficiencies, convulsive seizures, blackouts, episodes, or for other reasons that may affect the person's ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.  Yet another issue is insurance.  I believe this insurance would have to pay damages under our no-fault act, but failing to disclose reasons he shouldn't be driving could potential result in a claim against him by his insurer.

Geriatric Care FAQs:

Question: What does one do to assist a relative with dementia and diabetes who lives alone and has a home health care attendant but needs someone to help her take her diabetes injections twice a day? Putting the relative away is not the solution. The health care plan is willing to send someone to be with the patient 12 hours a day, but they will not let the home health aide administer insulin because that person is not medically trained and will open them up to liability. So the service suggests finding an unemployed neighbor to do the injections (also an untrained person, but that's not their problem).

A friend of mine is dealing with this problem and it is a really tough decision, but it doesn't seem like it could be that unique so I am hoping someone here has thought through this before and might suggest a solution.

I can't believe that the solution is for her to quit her job in order to be at her elderly aunt's home twice a day to test her blood and inject her. Besides, she is the one paying the aunt's rent so the aunt would be homeless if that happened. I know that in a lot of cultures it is OK to send someone to a nursing home to live under these circumstances, but my friend's culture would never allow that unless the aunt was a real danger to herself if she were to live alone.

How does this type of thing work? Someone must have been here before.

Answer: Get them connected to an elder law attorney. Most of us have good relationships with care mangers and agencies that they can assist in coordinating these services and regular reports to family. There is also a geriatric care managers organization (National Assn. of Professional Geriatric Care Managers) that you can contact, but I tend to prefer personal experience for this type of a referral. I may know someone that they can contact so let me know.

National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) is a great resource for this as well.

Patti Dudek