Experts tell us that we are poised to make history by the year 2050 when the population of older adults (age 65 and older) will outnumber its younger demographic counterpart (age 21 and younger) for the first time ever. With the population of older adults in the United States growing at a heretofore unseen rate, issues that concern the elderly have also taken on a heightened importance to society and to the legal community. Bismarck, North Dakota’s population was estimated in 2016 at 72,417, while its metropolitan population was 131,635. In Bismarck, 15.4 percent of the population is aged 65 or older and 11.7 percent of all households is comprised of an individual over the age of 65 living alone.
Whether you are a senior yourself, or the caregiver of one, living in the Bismarck, North Dakota area, you will undoubtedly find the need for a number of elder resources from time to time. Because we understand how difficult it can be to locate some of these resources, the attorneys and staff at German Law Group have compiled some commonly used elder law resources for the Bismarck, North Dakota area. If you have specific questions related to elder law legal matters, please contact our office for a consultation to discuss your questions in person.
Local Government and Law Enforcement
As a resident of Bismarck, it is always wise to have contact information for some of the more frequently used local government resources handy. Many of those can be located on the City of Bismarck website where you will find a directory of local government contact information, a listing of city services and a variety of information for residents that you may find helpful. It is equally important to be able to quickly and easily navigate to the relevant law enforcement agency online, should you need them. The City of Bismarck Police Department and the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Office service residents who live in the Bismarck, North Dakota area.
Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, and Home Health Care
Most seniors prefer not to dwell on the physical and mental deterioration that frequently accompanies the natural aging process nor on the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s or another age-related dementia condition. While this is certainly understandable, you should still plan for the possibility that your body and/or mind will deteriorate with age given that the average American can expect to be around for many years beyond retirement age. If you do live well into your “Golden Years,” you will probably want to remain in the comfort of your own home for as long as possible. Fortunately, services such as home health care can often allow a senior to do just that. When living at home is no longer practical or safe, however, Bismarck residents enjoy a variety of options that include assisted living facilities and around the clock skilled nursing care. It can, however, be difficult to find the right facility. If you need assistance locating the type of care you need, the following resources may help:
- The North Dakota Department of Health’s websiteoffers a listing of nursing homes in the state as well as a wealth of additional information related to long-term care.
- Nursing Home Compare, found on the Medicare.gov website. is the official U.S. government’s website for Medicare, offering you the ability to search for and compare licenses nursing homes anywhere in the country.
- comoffers a searchable data base of nursing home and other long-term care facilities in the Bismarck and surrounding area.
- The Eldercare Locatorwebsite, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, also offers a searchable database of care providers in the Bismarck community.
Finding the right facility is only one challenge when LTC is required. The cost of that care is another. Long-term care (LTC) costs in the United States have increased considerably in recent years and show no sign of slowing down in the foreseeable future. In 2017, the average yearly cost of LTC throughout the United States was $80,000. Unfortunately, LTC costs in North Dakota were among the highest in the nation that same year, with the cost of an average year in LTC running over $130,000. Because neither Medicare nor most basic health insurance plans cover the expenses associated with LTC, planning ahead is critical if you want to protect your retirement nest egg and qualify for Medicaid to help cover your LTC expenses. The elder law attorneys at German Law Group urge clients to incorporate long-term care and Medicaid planning tools and strategies into their estate plan early on to protect assets and prepare for Medicaid eligibility.
As they say…60 is the new 40! Seniors are more active than ever before, which means you will likely be looking for activities to keep you busy and places to socialize. Fortunately, there are plenty of both in the Bismarck area. One great place to find upcoming events and activities for seniors is the Burleigh County Senior Adults Programs website. For veterans, the American Legion Post 1 and the VFW Post 1326 are always a good place to meet new friends and mingle with old ones.
State and Federal Assistance
Many local, state and federal resources and assistance programs are geared specifically at seniors. At the state level you may find the North Dakota Department of Human Services, Adults and Aging Services to be very helpful. Many seniors also qualify for assistance from the Social Security disability or Social Security retirement program. For information, including application instructions, visit the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability website. To sign up for your Social Security retirement benefits, navigate to the sign up website of the SSA. . If you are a veteran, or the surviving spouse or dependent of a veteran, you may also be entitled to a number of benefits through the Veteran’s Administration. Along with well-known benefits such as pension and disability benefits, you might qualify for additional benefits you may not be familiar with, such as Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefits. Once you reach retirement age, you will likely be automatically enrolled in the Medicare program. Although basic Medicare is free to all seniors, Medicare actually has four parts and the other three parts may come with a premium. If you have questions about a covered service or need to find a provider, the official Medicare website can help. In addition, if you need help covering the high cost of long-term care at some point you might qualify for North Dakota Medicaid for the Aged and Disabled.
Although you (or your loved one) may be entitled to a wide variety of benefits, getting an application completed and approved can be a monumental task. Navigating the governmental red tape can be challenging under the best of circumstances. If you are attempting to apply on behalf of a family member or other loved one, it may be even more difficult if you do not yet have guardianship over the applicant. Worse still is the reality that a significant percentage of initial applications for benefits are denied, often for no other reason than the application itself was missing information and/or documentation. At German Law Group we know the challenges you may face when applying for benefits and ae committed to helping you overcome those obstacles.
While seniors do face many of the same legal problems as their younger counterparts, they also encounter unique issues which is why working with an elder law attorney is helpful. Our experienced elder law attorneys are dedicated to helping you with all your legal needs. Whether you need to update your estate plan to include Medicaid planning and funeral planning, wish to execute an advance directive, or need assistance creating a trust to help your estate avoid probate, we can help. If it is a legal matter that impacts the elderly or those who care for them, we have the experience and commitment necessary to help. If you have additional question or concerns regarding elder law issues, contact the experienced Bismarck, North Dakota elder law attorneys at German Law Group by calling 701-738-0060 to schedule an appointment.