Aging Options

Guest Column: Elder Law Attorneys Honor and Value Older Clients

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By Aaron Paker, LifePoint Law

Aaron D. Paker is an elder law attorney, father, husband and much more.  He was named Outstanding New Lawyer 2023 by the New Lawyers Division of the KCBA, and is dedicated to earning that honor through his service to clients and to fellow attorneys.  He can be reached at APaker@lifepointlaw.com, 253.237.7036, or 31919 6th Avenue South, Federal Way, WA 98003.

Elder Law Attorneys: Seeing the Treasure Within

What’s the biggest difference between elder law attorneys and much of the population at large? For me, the difference can be summed up in the Nokia P30A “brick” cell phone (pictured above) that I found during one of my recent thrifting adventures. I’ve shown this gem to lots of people. My older friends remember having one or being jealous of someone who did. My younger friends think it is “crazy” or “so cool” that a phone like this is still around and not in a landfill or museum. 

When I look at this phone, I don’t see a novelty or a memory. I see a starting point. I see the ancestor of the cell phone I have in my pocket today. I see a device that shows some wear but has not broken because it was built to last without fancy service plans or constant upgrades. I see a piece of the past that can teach the present so much about where we came from and where we are going.

Society Fails to Value Older Things – and Older People

All too often, things get thrown out or shoved in a box and forgotten, not because they have broken to the point of no return, but because they no longer provide immediate value or service. They are not as shiny and new or as technologically advanced as the newer models. In a word, they are old.

It is not just things that are discarded because they grow old. Seventy percent of Americans will take their last breath somewhere other than at home, with an inordinate number dying in nursing homes. Many of these people are taken to “the home” long before they really need that level of care, and no effort is put into getting them care in another setting. They have served their usefulness and now they are a burden to be set aside. 

Today’s Freedoms Built on Past Labor and Sacrifice

When I look at a client in their 80s or 90s, wearing their best outfit to talk to the attorney, wearing their veteran’s ball cap, or even just lying in a bed trapped inside their own bodies or memories, I don’t see an old person who has no remaining value beyond what they can leave for their children. I see our history, the people who made today possible, the warriors who sacrificed their well-being for mine, and the storytellers who can make the past come alive.

These folks are more than just clients; they are beautiful and valuable pieces of living history that should be cherished and helped to live out their remaining days in comfort and dignity. 

Treasuring and Honoring Our Seniors

As an elder law attorney, I don’t look at the person sitting across the desk from me and assess how much I can collect from them or calculate how much their case might be worth in a lawsuit. I don’t think it is “neat” that they managed to live so long. I don’t care if their children inherit a single penny.

I look at the person sitting across from me and I see a treasure to be put in a place of honor, cared for and maintained as though they are a precious jewel. I see a person who can teach me so much more than I can teach them. 

I cannot help every potential client who walks through my doors. It is sometimes impossible to make family members, or even my older clients themselves, see that there is more value in protecting a person’s quality of life than the quantity of their assets. That will never stop me from trying, from teaching, from preaching. It won’t stop me from caring. 

I see people through the eyes of a true elder law attorney, not one in name or in practice, but one in my soul.  That perspective, that heartfelt willingness to see the true value of the person, no matter how old they are—is what sets elder law attorneys apart. Being able to offer that perspective to my clients is one of the things I love most about being an elder law attorney.

Breaking News: Rajiv’s New Book is Here!

We have big news! The long-awaited book by Rajiv Nagaich, called Your Retirement: Dream or Disaster, has been released and is now available to the public.  As a friend of AgingOptions, we know you’ll want to get your copy and spread the word.

You’ve heard Rajiv say it repeatedly: 70 percent of retirement plans will fail. If you know someone whose retirement turned into a nightmare when they were forced into a nursing home, went broke paying for care, or became a burden to their families – and you want to make sure it doesn’t happen to you – then this book is must-read.

Through stories, examples, and personal insights, Rajiv takes us along on his journey of expanding awareness about a problem that few are willing to talk about, yet it’s one that results in millions of Americans sleepwalking their way into their worst nightmares about aging. Rajiv lays bare the shortcomings of traditional retirement planning advice, exposes the biases many professionals have about what is best for older adults, and much more.

Rajiv then offers a solution: LifePlanning, his groundbreaking approach to retirement planning. Rajiv explains the essential planning steps and, most importantly, how to develop the framework for these elements to work in concert toward your most deeply held retirement goals.

Your retirement can be the exciting and fulfilling life you’ve always wanted it to be. Start by reading and sharing Rajiv’s important new book. And remember, Age On, everyone!

(original article)

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