May is National Elder Law Month. This designation was established by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), of which I have been a member for the past 18 years. Its purpose is a way to acknowledge those members in the legal profession who support the senior community, those persons age 65 or older, with all of their planning needs.
Many people ask, “What is elder law?” Essentially, elder law is a classification of law that relates less to the type of casework performed and more to the type of person who is served. Elder law attorneys represent, counsel and assist seniors, people with disabilities and their families, with a variety of legal issues.
We believe that the need for help in the elder law arena is staggering. A few salient facts:
- The population age 65 and over increased from 38.8 million in 2008 to 52.4 million in 2018 (a 35% increase) and is projected to reach 94.7 million in 2060. (Administration on Aging, A Profile of Older Americans: 2019)
- The 85 and over population more than doubled from 6.5 million in 2018 to 14.4 million in 2020 (a 123% increase). (Administration on Aging, A Profile of Older Americans: 2019)
Planning for this age group must include taking into account long-term care. The cost for this care can be incredibly expensive, and the effect on the family profound. As much as 70% of the people age 65 today will need some long-term care in their lifetimes. It is vital for families and seniors to be educated on the need to plan for this possibility. Elder law attorneys help their clients through counseling the elderly, and their families, on how to prepare and adequately plan for these types of care.
If you or your family are concerned about long-term care, it is important to have the right advisors helping you along the way.