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Elder law services - care planning and coordination

I am thinking of entering a contract with an Elder Law firm that provides contracted services for a very pricey fee for one year to handle all care coordination, planning, asset management, benefit coordination, etc for my mom as I work 50 hours a week average and do not have the ability to be a caregiver and concerned not enough free time to take care of the "business" aspects of making sure my mom is well taken care of.  Has anyone experienced these and found them helpful or not?  I am worried the fee is not worth what you get and feeling like I am throwing my Mom's money away.  Thanks

AARP Expert

What Amy said!


Elder Law Attorneys are just what you need to sort out finances and eligibility, assets and taxes and eventual applications to Medicaid for Long Term Care. But social workers and nurses who are geriatric care managers are seasoned professionals who know intimately the best home care providers, know the 'cultures' of various institutions like assisted living places, and can advise even on the financial aspects at a rate one third or less than an attorney. I was one a few years ago, and then i moved to Oregon and now i work as a therapist in a primary care clinic.


The organization i worked for would provide a number of services: 

1. a complete assessment and only that if that is what could be afforded, with a plan of care that could be implemented

2. an assessment plus set up of services like home care and other services, and then backing out

3. ongoing monitoring of quality of care, with a money cap (like no more than $400 a month...)

4. ongoing care period.


Just to give you a flavor of what our team did back when I worked in DC and Maryland, here's the web page with articles and explanations. A more wonderful group of coworkers I will never know again: Check that out to give you a flavor. 


As Amy said, you will be buying yourself some relaxation as you off load some of the work of managing your mom's situation, leaving you to be emotional support. Spend your MOM's money on this. Without guilt.


Ask more anytime.


Jane, lcsw

rural Oregon

AARP Expert

@TamraT733275 Sounds like you have a lot on your hands and are juggling as much as possible. Good for you for reaching out for help! 


The costs for lawyers are always going to be higher, so if you can find someone else to help with some of those things (like care coordination) you might save money.


For example you could get a geriatric care manager (sometimes called an aging life care expert - you can search for one in your mother's area at the Aging Life Care Association) to help with care coordination and planning (and even managing hospitalizations etc), and just have the lawyer deal with the legal matters, benefits, assets etc. And/or you can find a financial manager/advisor who could handle the assets and ongoing financial management which might cost less than having lawyers do it. Also - committing to a year of the lawyer services seems extreme to me. You should be able to try their services and cancel at any time. 


I looked into having someone manage the money matters and pay bills for my parents about 10 yrs ago - it was so expensive I decided to do it myself, and once I had everything online and automated it was actually not too bad to deal with.


I would start by finding a care manager who is experienced in geriatric care management for older adults and get their advice. They may be able to do the research for you to find the most cost effective way to manage all of this, and they may have referrals for services and professionals they have worked with in the past. 


Here are some other resources for you!


Tips for Managing Someone Else's Money


How Geriatric Care Managers Can Help


Financial & Legal Matters of Caregiving 


Hope this is helpful!


Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving





Thanks for the shout-out @agoyer.

The website (and Aging Life Care Association) has resources for caregivers and info on where to find help nationwide.

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