Older Adult Care and Laws: Understanding Legal Rights and Options for In-Home, Nursing Home, and Assisted Living Care

Older adults are those who are 65 years of age or older. Elder care is any type of assistance provided to an older adult by another person, such as a family member, friend or professional caregiver. The type of elder care needed will vary depending on the health and functional needs of the individual.

There are many types of elder care services available: residential care facilities; home health aides; personal care attendants; hospice programs; nursing homes (also known as long-term care facilities). In addition to these services there may be other options available depending on your location such as adult daycare centers or assisted living facilities which provide some level of support but do not require 24/7 supervision like nursing homes do

Types of Elder Care

There are several types of elder care. In-home care is the most common, and it’s provided by a caregiver who comes to your loved one’s home to help them with their daily activities, such as cooking and cleaning. Nursing home care is another option for seniors who need more intensive assistance with daily tasks like bathing or dressing themselves. Assisted living facilities provide residents with a combination of medical services and personal assistance from staff members 24/7, but they’re not equipped with the same level of medical equipment as nursing homes or hospitals.

Legal Rights of Older Adults

Older adults have legal rights that protect them from being taken advantage of by others. These rights include:

  • Healthcare rights, which protect older adults from being denied healthcare services or discriminated against because of their age.
  • Financial rights, which allow older adults to make decisions about their own finances without interference from others (including family members).
  • Social rights, which give seniors access to community resources like housing and transportation options that support independent living for as long as possible.
    The following are some examples of how these three types of legal protections work together:
  • If an older adult has been diagnosed with dementia but still wishes to continue living at home instead of moving into a nursing home, then he or she may need help making medical decisions regarding treatment options available at home versus those available through institutionalized care settings like nursing homes or assisted living facilities. In this case, the healthcare provider would likely consult with family members before making any final decisions about what type if any treatment should be provided; however if those same family members were abusive towards their loved one then they could lose their right over him/her’s finances by way of court order due process procedures set forth under California law code sections 3300-3312 (known colloquially as “Adult Protective Services”).
Thomas Elliott

Education: Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York. Pace University, White Plains, New York.
Professional Associations and Memberships: American Bar Association, New York State Bar, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Brooklyn Bar Association, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

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