While the State of Georgia and most other states have begun to relax social and economic restrictions arising from coronavirus Covid-19, elders and their families should continue to take precautions to protect against infection. The risks to seniors and other vulnerable individuals have not diminished. In fact, as people begin to socialize, the dangers to elders may even increase due to the increased possibility of exposure to asymptomatic individuals who can transmit the virus.
At Asset Protection & Elder Law of Georgia, our attorneys continue to address our clients’ legal needs, while taking all necessary steps to safeguard them. We won’t remind you of the precautions that we all know by heart now, but we think it’s important to keep a few things in mind while we all continue to face the risks that Covid-19 presents.
In early April, we wrote about the importance of having an estate plan in place during Covid-19. That advice is just as important now as it was when the initial restrictions went into effect.
In fact, it is more evident than ever that the sudden illness from Covid-19 catches people off guard, which makes it essential to have a Durable Financial Power of Attorney (POA) and Health Care Directive in place before the virus affects you. That necessity applies to everyone, not just elders. Your financial POA enables a trusted loved one to pay your bills and manage your financial matters if you suddenly become ill or are hospitalized.
Our concerns about elders and Covid-19 extend beyond making sure that the necessary legal documents are in place. We also want to make certain that elders infected with the virus get prompt medical care as soon as their condition is apparent. In that regard, an important recent development about coronavirus symptoms affects seniors in particular.
Since awareness of the risks of Covid-19 came to the fore, medical professionals have reported that elders may experience unusual Covid-19 symptoms different from the typical indications of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Doctors report that the reasons relate to how aging bodies respond to illness and infection.
Physicians contributing to the report say that an elder may initially just seem “off” or not acting as they normally do. Sleeping more, eating less, being unusually apathetic or confused, and talking less are just some of the examples of how the virus may affect seniors. Symptoms may even include dizziness and collapsing or falling as well.
The bottom line is that elders and their families need to be alert for more than just the typical symptoms of Covid-19. If things just don’t seem quite right, contact your medical professional for advice. Many doctors now use telemedicine to consult with patients remotely, so you may not even need to go to the doctor’s office.
The primary study and report about unusual symptoms in elders appeared in Kaiser Health News and was featured by other news outlets as well. If you would like more information, you can read the full Kaiser report.
Families with elder loved ones need to continue looking out for them, as they have done to this point. Staying in touch is extremely important for everyone. But being creative in how you do that continues to be the best guidance. Risks to seniors likely will increase as family members relax precautions for themselves.
Grandparents who love spending time with their grandchildren face an especially difficult time now. In recognition of the particular challenges for grandparents (and their grandkids, who also look forward to those regular visits), journalist Scottie Andrew recently wrote a special piece titled Dear Grandma, please read this before you visit your grandkids. The article is full of sound advice for families considering how to approach visits with all senior loved ones during this unprecedented time.
In the early days of the coronavirus, we alerted clients to the prevalence of Covid-19 fraud and scams. Those risks are still present. It’s easy for fraudsters to play on the fears and concerns that the virus creates, especially for elders who are isolated and lonely.
Everyone should be cautious about any contact from an unknown person, including people who claim to be from a government agency. (Real government agencies never contact people by phone.) Families should regularly check in on senior loved ones, making certain to ask about any recent inquiries they may have received. Staying keenly aware of the potential for fraud is the best way to prevent it.
At Asset Protection & Elder Law of Georgia, we are here to provide any legal help you and your family need. We can assist with estate planning, elder law, probate, trust administration, and other legal matters. If we can help you, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
From our Cartersville office, we provide legal services to clients throughout the communities northwest of Atlanta, including in Bartow County, Cobb County, Cherokee County, Gordon County, Floyd County, and Paulding County. Call us at (770) 382-0984 or contact us through our online form.