The population of older Americans has steadily risen over the last several decades, and is expected to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. As the senior demographic increases, so does society’s awareness of the problems and issues they face. As of the 2010 Census, the City of Sunset Hills, Missouri had an overall population of 8,496 year around residents, of which over one in four (26.5 percent) were over the age of 65. In addition, almost one in five (18.1 percent) households was comprised of someone age 65 or older living alone.
With the growth of the senior population, we have also seen an increase in the need for services and resources dedicated to helping older Americans and those who care for them. Fortunately, Sunset Hills residents have access to numerous resources for seniors and their caretakers; however, you must know where to find those resources. To help you, the elder law attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC have compiled some commonly used elder law resources for the Sunset Hills, Missouri area.
Local Government and Law Enforcement
As a resident of Sunset Hills, one of your best resources will be the City of Sunset Hills website. Along with links and contact information for city government offices, you will also find an entire section devoted to the County Older Resident Program. It is equally important to be able to quickly and easily navigate to the relevant law enforcement agency online, should you need them. The Sunset Hills Police Department and the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office service residents who live in the Sunset Hills, Missouri area.
Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, and Home Health Care
Although the average American can now expect to live almost twice as long as he or she would have just a century ago, our bodies cannot escape the effects of the natural aging process. For many seniors, this means more frequent doctor visits and an increase in injuries and illnesses that eventually lead to the need for home health care, assisted living alternatives, or skilled nursing care. When possible, it is always best to plan ahead because it provides the time you need to properly research your options. If you are planning ahead, or are currently in the process of choosing a LTC facility, the following resources may be helpful:
- The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services offers a “Show Me Long Term Care in Missouri” which allows you to search for and compare facilities as well as offers a wide range of other helpful information and resources for seniors in need of long-term care.
- Caring.com offers a list of skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and home care in and near Sunset Hills, Missouri.
- Nursing Home Comparewhich is found on the Medicare.gov. website is the official U.S. government’s website for Medicare, offering you the ability to search for and compare licenses nursing homes anywhere in the country.
- Missouri Care Planning Councilwhere you can search facilities and find a variety of helpful information for seniors and caregivers.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest concerns when you, or a loved one, need LTC is the cost of that care. The cost of LTC in the United States has increased right along with the older population, and is expected to continue to increase in the years to come. In 2018, the average yearly cost of LTC throughout the United States was close to $90,000. Fortunately, residents of St. Louis County, Missouri pay, on average, less than the national average at about $68,000 per year for LTC in 2018. The fact remains, however, that neither Medicare nor most basic health insurance plans cover the expenses associated with LTC. As such, most seniors should plan ahead to ensure they can afford the high cost of LTC. Fortunately, Medicaid does cover LTC expenses; however, the Medicaid eligibility guidelines can make qualifying for benefits difficult, reinforcing the need to plan ahead. The elder law and Medicaid planning attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC strongly urge you to incorporate Medicaid planning into your comprehensive estate plan now so you will be prepared for whatever the future brings.
Retirement most certainly does not need to lead to the end to your social life. On the contrary, most seniors enjoy an active social life as long as they are able to do so. If you are looking for places to mingle, meet new friends, or find services that may help you within the community, you might want to start with the Sunset Hills Community Center. If you are a veteran, there are several American Legion and VFW posts in the broader St. Louis area, including close to Sunset Hills.
Local, State and Federal Assistance
Many local, state and federal resources and assistance programs are geared specifically at seniors. A great resources for seniors is the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Many seniors also qualify for assistance from the Social Security disability or Social Security retirement program. For information, including application instructions, visit the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability website. To sign up for your Social Security retirement benefits, navigate to the sign up website of the SSA. If you are a veteran, or the surviving spouse or dependent of a veteran, you may also be entitled to a number of benefits through the Veteran’s Administration. Along with well-known benefits such as pension and disability benefits, you might qualify for additional benefits you may not be familiar with, such as Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefits. Once you reach retirement age, you will likely be automatically enrolled in the Medicare program. Although basic Medicare is free to all seniors, Medicare actually has four parts and the other three parts may come with a premium. If you have questions about a covered service or need to find a provider, the official Medicare website can help. In addition, if you need help covering the high cost of long-term care at some point you might qualify for Missouri Healthnet for Seniors.
The good news is that many seniors are entitled to a wide variety of these state and federal benefits. The bad news is that it can be extremely intimidating to try and navigate the application process for many of these problems. If you are initially denied, appealing that denial can be even more challenging. Worse still, if you are applying for a parent, or other elderly loved one, you may find that you face additional hurdles if you do not yet have legal guardianship over the individual for whom you are applying. The elder law attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC understand how frustrating the application and/or appeal process can be for the uninitiated which is why we are committed to helping you through the process to ensure that you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled.
Getting Help from a Sunset Hills Elder Law Attorney
At Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC we are dedicated to helping our senior population and the people who care for them with legal issues and concerns, including the need to coordinate retirement planning with your existing estate plan, asset protection, Medicaid planning, and incapacity planning. We can also assist you with other areas typically of concern to seniors and those who care for them, such as creating an advance directive as well as legacy and funeral planning. For more information on any of the issues that impact seniors, please feel free to contact the experienced Sunset Hills, Missouri elder law attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment.