Being a caregiver for an older relative is a significant commitment. You may have other tasks in addition to assisting your senior loved ones. These are things such as your regular job, your own mental, emotional, and physical health. To maintain a healthy life, you need to know Caregiver Legal Issues if you’re one for a family member or someone else.
What are the Rights of a Caregiver?
A caregiver’s legal rights may even differ from city to city. For example, Law Blasio, the mayor of New York City, signed a bill amending the New York City Human Rights Law. It expanded its protections to cover caregivers. Employees can sue employers if they are discriminated against or otherwise not accommodated when they need to care for a person. The people protected by the law include spouses, parents, grandparents, and others.
You should consult an attorney in your state or city to learn your exact rights for your caregiving responsibilities. This article will focus on concepts of federal law related to caregiver legal rights and Caregiver Legal Issues.
Why You Should Know about Caregiver Legal Issues and Rights
It is essential to understand such things. Especially since more and more Americans are becoming caregivers for some part of their lives. The number of people giving care to elders will only increase as the “silver tsunami” gains in power. This is due to the populous Baby Boomers growing older and the ever-expanding human lifespan.
According to an AARP Public Policy Institute study, caring for an older relative has become the “new normal” during adult life.
Taking time off of work
Many state and federal statutes provide certain protections to caregivers. These laws may apply to you depending on the relationship with the person you are caring for.
The most well-known law about taking time off of work is the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA” for short). Under the FMLA, you have the right to take off for an extended period. This can be as long as 12 weeks–to provide care for qualifying family members.
Be aware, however. Although your employer may have to give you the time off of work, the law does not require that you get your salary. So, if you don’t have considerable savings or another source of income, you should carefully examine if your FMLA rights are beneficial to you.
Other protections may be available to you
The Americans with Disabilities Act (also known as ADA) is another well-known law. ADA requires businesses to ensure that their buildings are accessible to disabled people. But, most people are unaware that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides some safeguards to employees as well.
The ADA may provide some protection at work if you have a disability or are a caregiver for a senior with a specified disability. The ADA prohibits some employers from discriminating against people acting as caregivers.
These statutes, as well as other state statutes, are highly detailed and challenging to understand. If you believe one or more of these situations apply to you, you should see an attorney in your state.
Some more things you can consider
Specific accommodations may be needed by law for your employer. It’s vital to remember, though, that when someone wants to help you, you’ll always obtain more remarkable outcomes. To that aim, it’s best to approach the situation with a positive attitude and avoid being demanding or threatening. It’s likely that your employer will be happy to collaborate with you. They may even go above and above what is necessary by law to accommodate you. Of course, your chances of reaching such a result are determined by your mood during the conversation. So, once again, try to keep things lighthearted and enjoyable.
Advice on 4 Common Caregiver Legal Issues
As a caregiver, you’re familiar with the day-to-day challenges that your elderly loved ones will experience as they age. But did you know that as people get older, they become more prone to legal issues?
Explore these four common situations and get tips on dealing with them if they happen to your older adult.
Seniors suspect that the caregiver stole something
Paid caregivers have relatively easy access to personal property and financial information. Jewelry, cash, credit cards – these can be taken while the older adult is sleeping in another room.
If your older adult reports that something is stolen:
- Check to see whether there was any item misplacement.
- Make contact with the person’s employer to express their worries. In most cases, licensed agencies have an investigation methodology in place. They’re even covered by insurance in case of theft.
- Report the theft and your suspicions to the police. They’ll conduct an inquiry and question those who need to be questioned. It’s critical to remember that they are responsible for all these, and not you.
- Discuss your legal alternatives with an elder law attorney.
Seniors and their children disagree on the living arrangements
As parents age, each sibling will play different roles in the care given. This is based on several factors such as:
- the parent’s proximity
- willingness to take responsibility,
- financial capabilities to help out,
- relationship with the parent, etc.
Perhaps you are there every day to look after your mother. Only to discover that she requires more attention and supervision than you can supply. On the other hand, your sister is opposed to your mother being placed in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Family structures are difficult to understand. When difficult situations like this arise, it’s ideal to have an objective third party assist you in making this critical decision. Eldercare professionals can examine your parent’s specific requirements. They can also compare and negotiate the price for housing and long-term care providers.
The senior’s power of attorney is managing finances irresponsibly or stealing
It could be a family member you don’t trust or a stranger who persuaded your elderly relative to give them power of attorney (like a staff member of a nursing home). What matters is that this person has the power of attorney and access to your senior’s financial accounts.
This person is in a powerful position. This makes it simple for them to steal or make decisions regarding a property that is in their best interests rather than the best interests of their senior.
Talk to your older adult about your concerns if they are cognitively capable. Give specific examples and encourage them to speak openly with the person who has been designated as power of attorney.
In situations where you don’t suspect mismanaged finances, perhaps the person is overwhelmed. They would be relieved to be off the hook if you chose someone else.
If that doesn’t work, encourage your senior to meet with an attorney to revoke the durable power of attorney. They may also sue for financial damages and ask the court to return all property or assets taken from them.
You will have to take legal action if your elderly relative is not mentally competent. You can ask the court to revoke the durable power of attorney with the help of a lawyer.
Your senior is the victim of an online scam
One common scam is referred to as “the grandparent scam.” It involves scammers sending emails “from a grandchild.” The grandchild usually has been arrested and needs bail money wired to them as soon as possible. Variations of this also include news from other family members requesting financial help.
Other fraudsters may appear to be from banks, government institutions, or consumer portals. These usually ask for people to confirm their account information. Also, they often include links to a copycat site where scammers steal your personal information.
If you find out that your older adult has fallen victim to one of these scams, report it immediately to:
- The Federal Trade Commission. You can report it online or by calling local law enforcement
- The state attorney general’s office
If you wired money to a loved one, the chances of receiving it back are small. Yet, you should see an attorney learn more about your legal choices.
As these situations show, legal issues go beyond estate planning. When dealing with any issue, it’s always best to consult an elder law attorney. They will help you ensure your older adult stays protected.
Caring for an older relative can be extremely taxing and necessitates a significant amount of time away from work. Fortunately, you may be protected by several laws that prevent your employer from firing you. Yet, the Caregiver Legal Issues are complex, and they differ from state to state, at least at the state level. So, to be completely educated about your rights and duties, make sure you speak with an experienced attorney.