About the Author: Attorney Douglas G. Chalgian is both certified in elder law by the National Elder Law Foundation and a Fellow with the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He is also the only attorney in Michigan who has served as Chair of both the Probate and Estate Planning and Elder Law and Disability Rights Sections of the State Bar.
Managing the care needs of an aging parent can be (and almost always is) a daunting task. When it becomes clear that an older adult can no longer care for themselves safely in their home, there are many options to consider. The important considerations that impact the quality of their care, their safety, and the cost (including when and how government assistance might become available) are often obfuscated by marketing labels as well as the promises of salespeople who are under pressure to fill rooms.
I can’t say whether Virginia’s family should or should not have won their case. But I can say that, to my thinking, the simple analysis adopted by the Court of Appeals belies the true complexity of the choices families face when trying to find care for older adults.
Because this issue comes up so frequently, and because the resulting mistakes lead to so many bad outcomes, I have attempted to use Virginia’s story to enlighten others who face these same challenges and choices. To the extent I have succeeded, any thanks should go to Virginia.