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Elder Law

Akron Elder Law Attorneys Serving Clients in Northeast Ohio

By 2035, there will be more Americans who are over 65 (78 million) than Americans who are under 18 (76.7 million). Older Americans have unique legal needs. Most of these individuals will spend at least some time in a long-term care facility. Sadly, while they are there, most of these people will experience some form of abuse or neglect. Elder law encompasses a diverse range of subjects to protect this vulnerable population.

The experienced attorneys at Niekamp, Weisensell, Mutersbaugh & Mastrantonio have the diverse background necessary in elder law situations. We routinely handle complex contract matters and estate planning problems. We also assertively represent accident victims both in court and during pretrial settlement negotiations. So, whatever legal need your family has, our legal team will be there for you.

Medicaid Planning Attorneys in Akron

Over the course of a lifetime, most seniors accumulate substantial assets. These assets provide security for old age and are also a legacy to pass onto their children. Most people do not want to see their assets transferred to rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, or other long-term care facilities.

Medicaid pays most of these expenses. But Medicaid has strict requirements in terms of income and assets. Many seniors do not have very high incomes. But they do have retirement accounts, equity in their homes, and other assets. These assets can torpedo Medicaid eligibility.

We offer a full range of trusts and other devices to plan for Medicaid eligibility. These legal vehicles can keep you in control of your assets while legally transferring title to another entity.

Ohio’s Medicaid rules are quite complex. Generally, there is a five-year lookback period. Any assets that the applicant gave away or transferred during that time period still count for current Medicaid eligibility purposes. The good news is that, at worst, most people just lose a proportion of their eligibility.

Early planning is essential. If that is not an option, for whatever reason, reach out to us anyway; we will work to find solutions.

Ohio Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

Once seniors check into nursing homes, legal issues typically do not end. Many Akron-area nursing homes are chronically understaffed. This understaffing is especially acute during weekends, nights, and other low-census periods. Understaffing sets the stage for a wide range of neglect and abuse issues, such as:

  • Malnutrition: Many people are surprised that malnutrition and dehydration are serious problems in Ohio nursing homes. When many people get older, their senses deteriorate. Food no longer looks, smells, or tastes good. As a result, they do not eat or drink the items served. If there is no one at the table to make sure the resident eats, the resident may not eat.
  • Resident-on-Resident Physical Abuse: This type of abuse often begins as petty squabbles between residents. In understaffed environments, there is no one to break up these fights. The conflict often escalates and becomes violent. Many residents are physically frail, so any contact causes serious injury.
  • Bedsores: Pressure ulcers are not a problem as long as the patient turns in bed every few hours. Many residents are unable to turn themselves, and if the nursing home is understaffed, patients are not turned as often. If left untreated, bedsores quickly become life-threatening.
  • Emotional Abuse: Some residents are isolated in their rooms for long periods of time, usually because there is no one to watch them. More overt forms of emotional abuse are common, as well. Despite what that old “sticks and stones” saying says, verbal outbursts hurt just as much, or even more than physical outbursts.

The nursing home is generally responsible for damages in these cases. The respondeat superior doctrine states that employers are liable for the negligent acts of their employees. In the case of an intentional tort, like abuse, another theory may apply, such as negligent hiring or negligent supervision.

Contact Experienced Lawyers

Older people need special legal care. For a free consultation with an experienced elder law attorney in Akron, contact Niekamp, Weisensell, Mutersbaugh & Mastrantonio, LLP. We routinely handle matters in Summit County and nearby jurisdictions.

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