Frequently Asked Questions

Before contacting us, please browse our FAQ.

Do I need a will?

This question is too broad, but the answer is yes.  A better question is, “What type of estate planning documents do I need?”  You do not want to cause uncertainty for your family members.  For example, everyone needs a healthcare directive, which specifies your preference about life support and other health care decisions.   This document and other important documents are far easier and more inexpensive to create than you think.  Estate planning can be complicated, particularly when it comes to assets, but many important decisions simply need to be written down the proper way.  Either way, we are here to help, and you should not be intimidated.

Should I be worried about my relative in the nursing home?

Many people decide to retire in Arkansas, and we have many nursing homes.  Most of these nursing homes operate with integrity and care, but not all do.  Even if a nursing home is well organized, there can be employees who are bad apples.  At the same time, many people decide to work for nursing homes because they care about older folks.  There is no rule that says nursing homes are good or bad.  The important thing to do is to visit your relatives and talk to them.  If you notice warning signs, then you should ask questions.

What are the important warning signs when it comes to nursing home abuse?

There are many warning signs when it comes to nursing home abuse.  I encourage everyone who cares about someone in a nursing home to research this issue on their own.  Remember, a warning sign is a clue.  It does not mean that your relative is receiving bad care.  It means you need to pay attention and think about what all is happening.  I have my opinions, but there are many other advocates for the elderly.  This should not be substituted for medical advice, I am not a doctor.  Based on what I have seen in my personal experience, I look for several things:

  • Did your relative suddenly become less social?  People often become withdrawn and fearful when they are being talked down to or abused.  Keep in mind that moving to a new location can also change a person’s mood.  If your relative used to always talk about (something) and they no longer do, then that should probably concern you, though.
  • Do the staff members refuse to answer you questions?  I love questions.  Questions give me a chance to demonstrate that I have thought the issue I am being asked about.  Sometimes people do not like questions.  They will respond by referring you to a supervisor, or stating, “That’s how things are done here.”  This is a clear warning sign.  Think about this before you choose a nursing home if that is at all possible.
  • Is the staff new every time?  Folks switch jobs, and I encourage people to work where they are most happy.  If you deal with different people every time you visit, then you should question to culture and leadership involved.
  • Is the leadership involved?  Studies consistently show that increased involvement from nursing home leadership leads to better results for patients and residents.  If the staff appears chaotic and stretched too thin, this is indicative of leadership not doing their best.
  • Are the phones just ringing and not being answered?  Despite the fact that we work hard to, my office is unable to answer every call immediately.  Nursing homes are the same way.  If there is a pattern of not answering calls or even ignoring calls, then this usually points to problems.  Customer service takes work.  Like each of these clues, one day does not mean there is a problem, but your vigilance is important.
  • I don’t want ‘so and so’ to care for me.”  This is the most important one, but also the one you must be most careful of.  Sometimes staff members get on the bad side of nursing home patients by doing the hard work.  Usually the best nurses and staff members end up doing the hardest jobs.  If your relative is adamantly against an employee, then you should try to figure out why.   Is it because this diligent staff member is getting your relative to do their physical therapy, or is it due to abuse?

Why do you want to help the elderly?

I am blessed that two of my grandparents are still alive.  They are over 80 and they still work at the accounting business they started over 40 years ago.  While I wish they would take it easy, they are my heroes.  My maternal grandparents are no longer with me.  My mother and I moved back to where they lived to take care of them, but eventually a nursing home was the only option.  They had a less than ideal time in their nursing home.  I remember the visits.  My maternal grandmother and I had the same birthday.  I did not understand the warning signs then.

It wasn’t at that point I dedicated my life to changing what happens in nursing homes.  Frankly, I did not think I could do anything (and at that time, I probably could not.)   After finishing law school and gaining years of legal experience, I ended up with my own law office and did not have to answer to a boss.  Through the years, I learned how to win trials and do good while doing well.  Part of being successful involves figuring out what you care about and focusing on that as your profession.  I eventually realized that I might be able to help protect a few people that may be in the same position as my grandmother was.  I figured I cared about that so I should try because I would be motivated.  In the end it is simple, I have respect for folks older than me that is impossible to fake.  It is just who I am.  I am far from perfect but often able to get my clients close to their goals.