By Kevin Pillon, CELA
I came to Life Care Planning in the way that many other attorneys do. I had a successful career as an estate planning attorney in Washington, D.C., until I was suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver for my mother and father after they were both diagnosed with dementia. Eventually, I left my work to focus completely on my parents. They had always loved their home on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and that’s where they wanted to stay as they aged. My goal was to honor their wishes.
During the next four years, I was my parents’ full-time caregiver, spending part of the year in Cape Cod and the remaining part of the year in Bradenton, Florida where my parents had a winter home. I shared their final years with them until they passed away in 2007, just six months apart.
The loss of my parents and my role as their caregiver left a huge void in my life. Thankfully, the fond memories I had, especially the trips we took to visit family and friends in Mom’s birthplace of Dublin, Ireland, helped carry me through this difficult period of loss and adjustment. After much reflection, I decided to put my personal experience to use. I vowed to help older adults and their families navigate the long-term care journey, and I wanted to do it in a holistic way, addressing the legal, medical, financial, social, and family issues that seniors encounter every day. I wanted to practice elder law in a way that would promote the highest quality of life for my clients, just as I did with my own parents.
I learned about Life Care Planning in 2012. I attended a training course sponsored by the Life Care Planning Law Firms Association, and then hired my first elder care coordinator shortly thereafter. That elder care coordinator, Catherine Csaky, is still associated with our firm today.
When you're living with someone who is navigating the elder care journey, you become good at it. In fact, everyone in my law firm is good at it. Every person on my staff has experience caring for elderly loved ones, and they all have empathy for clients and family members who are navigating the journey.
It is very satisfying being able to help people during what is often the most difficult time of their lives. There is so much bad information out there. For instance, many people think they have to be broke to get Medicaid. That’s 100 percent false, but lots of people think it’s true. Most people think their legal documents will protect their assets from long-term care expenses, but they won’t. People don't know what they don't know. And so they end up floundering without realizing that help is available. Life Care Planning Law Firms provide that help, and I’m grateful that this innovative practice model found me.