Stay home longer. What products are out there?


What is it that you need to keep your loved one home a little longer?  Maybe it’s different walker or a giant type crossword puzzle.  Within the last few years, there have been many advances in technology that permit knows when someone is falling or when they get out of bed, the bathroom light goes on.

Able Data is not the “end-all” list of what is available, it’s a starting point to get your “juices” flowing on what is available and what is possible.

Simple math:  A removable wheelchair ramp may be up to several thousand dollars, a permanent wood ramp, maybe $5,000.   Hold this one time investment up against the on-going cost of an Assisted Living community at $5,000 every month.

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MEDICARE: What it DOES NOT cover

Many families we meet have the idea that MEDICARE will cover most of their LONG TERM CARE costs, like Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing as well as many of the medical costs associated with aging.

Some of the costs NOT COVERED by Medicare:

SKILLED NURSING:  There is much confusion here because many of the “rehab” facilities are inside of a Skilled Nursing community.  Your Medicare WILL pay for a certain amount of rehab, but please check your personal policy as there may be differences between conventional MEDICARE opposed to a MEDICARE ADVANTAGE plan.  If will be going to a skilled care community as a permanent placement, MEDICARE WILL NOT cover these costs.  Skilled care in an area like Raleigh, NC can range from $70,000 to well over $100,000.

HEARING AIDS:  Medicare will cover ear/hearing medical conditions, but traditional MEDICARE and Medigap plans will not cover routine hearing tests or the hearing aids themselves.  The hearing aids themselves can cost from several hundred dollars per pair at a discount retailer to thousands of dollars per pair for custom fitting.   Check Medicare Advantage plans for Hearing coverage.

DENTAL WORK: Original MEDICARE does not cover routine dental exams or “larger cost” procedures like root canals or dentures.  Check Medicare Advantage plans for possible coverage.

EYE CARE:  MEDICARE does not cover routine eye exams, glasses or contacts, but will cover procedures like Cataract surgery.

OVERSEAS TRAVEL/CRUISES: MEDICARE and most Medicare Advantage plans offer little or no coverage while overseas or on a cruise.  If you travel frequently, it would be important to seek out a comprehensive travel policy that covers doctors, room and if needed air transportation charges to a major care facility.

OTHER COSTS: If you have on-going care costs you need to check your policy.  An example would be that most policies DO NOT cover consumable items like Depends or over the counter meds, creams, etc.

Understanding the benefits and limitations of your MEDICARE policy is vital in putting together a solid long term care plan, working closely with your financial and elder law teams.

If you are interested, we offer free consultations where we can review costs, possible government benefits and the most important legal documents.



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Part III- The best way to preserve family stories

Aging offers gifts, if we look for them: for us as we grow older and for those who’ll come after us.


So why do we use VIDEO to tell your family story and recommend you do the same?

We love video. There’s nothing like it to capture and preserve the entire essence of the person we’re interviewing. After that person is gone, there’s nothing more precious than seeing him smile, hearing her laugh, and hearing their voices.

There’s nothing else that compares to seeing the sparkle in the eyes of a beloved parent, child, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, or uncle. We share in their experiences as they are telling them, see their mannerisms, and hear their tone of voice, speech patterns, and especially their laughter. We feel their emotion, see their facial expressions, and feel their essence.

What really are your most prized possessions?

These days, our lives are so busy we sometimes lose sight of what’s right in front of us— the things that are most important. Things like family, love, stories, traditions, having and sharing great experiences with family and friends. These are more important than any possessions we may own.

Have you heard about recent studies that show much higher satisfaction and happiness rates among those who purchase experiences rather than things? After the death of a loved one, isn’t it the stories, traditions, and memories that have the deepest meaning and provide the most comfort to us?

But if we fail to record them, these too, will disappear.

Fortunately, some of us “get it” even before we experience a death. But it’s not always that simple or that easy. For so many reasons, many of us don’t ever record the stories of those we love and later wish we had captured and preserved them.


So now, knowing this, make it a priority. Please take the time to record these stories—no matter where, when, or how.

We at Every Story Media love video and can do that for you, however, it doesn’t matter how it gets done. Whether it’s written, or recorded as audio only, taped on a cell phone, or fully produced and edited by a professional. Just do it.

I hear the same heartbreaking story again and again. Usually it starts with “I wish”. “I wish I had videotaped my parent or grandparent, aunt, uncle or other loved one before they passed away.” 

Make it Fun!

Make it fun and take some of the responsibility off of yourself—consider hiring a professional. Future generations will be watching! Great sound, lighting, framing, editing, music and graphics will make a difference.

Professionals will help you get done in a timely manner what you might otherwise put off for years, maybe even until it’s too late. Future generations will thank you. There is no better gift to give them. A family story video only grows more precious and valuable over time. 

In part one of her three-part series, Lyn Jackson of Every Story Media discussed why it’s important to capture and preserve your family stories, values and traditions. In part two, she showed how to get started. To contact Lyn: or 919-961-1081








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Sharing your family history – where to start

Part II – Sharing Family History: Where to Start


Every Story Media Guest Blog in three parts (this is #2 of 3)

In this three-part series, Lyn Jackson of Every Story Media looks at why it’s important to capture and preserve your family stories, values and traditions, how to get started, and why video is the best method. 

Aging offers gifts, if we look for them: for us as we grow older and for those who’ll come after us. 

Begin With the End in Mind

Now that we agree on the importance of saving and sharing family history, what’s the best way to begin?

Start with your photos; organize them into events like childhood, marriage and family, career. You could also arrange them by years or by people. Think about the stories behind the pictures and jot essential notes down.

Think about the family traditions and experiences that are most important to you and your family.

Which stories are the most interesting, compelling, funny, and essential to the family? These are important to preserve. Prioritize them.

It’s OK to start small. Accept that it’s not possible to do everything all at once.

Make sure you keep all of your preliminary, documented work, and photos or recordings organized and in one place.

Tools for Sharing Family History

If you decide to go on your own, rather than work with a professional, and don’t have a dedicated video device, use your cell phone. The sound might not be great, and the framing and lighting might not be ideal, but it’s better to have something rather than nothing. You can even do an audio-only recording.

Make sure you print out the most important and memorable photos. Too many of these will be forgotten, go unseen, or get accidentally discarded and be forever lost. And find a good, reputable cloud storage service and make sure all your photos are also preserved there.

Benefits of a Family Story Video

  • Preserving the family stories and traditions of your loved ones in their own words with sight, sound, motion, and emotion.
  • Understanding your roots – where, how and from whom you came into being.
  • Perspective and appreciation: an element of permanence, being grounded.
  • Pride in who you are, not just for you but also for your children and grandchildren.
  • It is the greatest gift, an heirloom like no other—precious and priceless.We encourage working with a professional. At the very least, you’ll actually record your stories and get it done rather than just think about it and forget until it’s too late.

Words from the Heart

A friend brought this sad story below to my attention the other day. I removed some portions for length but these are all her words—used with permission. “Here is what you should know,” she wrote. “I got 23 years, 2 months, and 11 days with my dad, and they were not enough. Forever, of course, is not enough—all of our parents leave us too soon. I want you all to tell your kids your stories. No one lives forever.

So here is what I wish I had, since I don’t have my dad: I wish I had his voice, recorded, preferably telling the kind of jokes and stories that my mom would scold him for. I wish I had video of him, doing anything. Most of all, I wish I had his stories. Let them videotape you. I beg of you. Please do this for your children.”

I echo her words – quite obviously from the heart. She speaks from the pain of having lost a loved one. She realized too late that she didn’t have his stories or the chance to get them.

The mission at Every Story Media is to spare others the same pain. 

In part one, Lyn discussed why it’s important to capture and preserve your family stories, values and traditions. To contact Lyn: or 919-961-1081





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YOUR FAMILY STORY…….why it’s important

In this three-part series, Lyn Jackson of Every Story Media looks at why it’s important to capture and preserve your family stories, values and traditions, how to get started, and why video is the best method.

Aging offers gifts, if we look for them: for us as we grow older and for those who’ll come after us.

Uncle Joe

My 99-year-old uncle Joe is my last direct link to my father, Maurie, who died when I was young. On my father’s side, Joe is the family story keeper. He is now the only one who was there and knows, among so many other things, what Maurie was like growing up, how my parents met and why my mother’s parents tried to prevent them from marrying. Obviously it didn’t work!

Joe laughs when he shares stories; he’s vibrant, energetic, and engaged, occasionally moved.

He looks back and reflects while also looking to the future, sharing a rare and wonderful gift with future generations. He gives us a peek at the past—his past and his family history.

We are so grateful to have Joe’s stories on video. This is an heirloom that we’ll all cherish forever.

Why Share Family Stories?

When we share family stories, it is one of the most generous and loving gifts we can give. These videotaped stories are powerful and meaningful for us today. They’ll also have a significant impact on future generations.


Family stories are the best legacy of all. Research bears this out. In overwhelming numbers, both elders and baby boomers believe that family history and traditions are the most important things we can leave for loved ones – ahead of a financial inheritance or even possessions. From the report: “Legacies were still about life stories and values… family traditions and history, wishes”

Stories are woven into our lives. They are a part of who we are and what defines us. Stories are a great connector. That’s one reason they’re so important to older adults. We often forget that stories are also important for children growing up.

Future Happiness

In fact, growing up with a strong family narrative is one predictor of future happiness; a REAL family narrative that describes both the ups and downs of life. Not everything is good and fun and happy all the time. Honest narratives can teach kids how to be strong and resilient, to recover from adversity, and spring back from the kinds of challenges that all of us face sooner or later. Experts call it the “oscillating family narrative”.

A family story video can be an element of a strong family narrative; a cherished reminder of loved ones and their rich lives. The video becomes an heirloom to treasure forever and pass on to every future generation.

Turn Intentions into Actions

We have the best intentions. Too often, though we plan to record our family history, it never happens. Or sometimes footage is recorded, but gets lost or accidentally erased and the stories are gone forever. Make sure your story isn’t one that gets away.

So please begin today to preserve your family history!

INTERESTED?   Contact Lyn Jackson at or 919-961-1081


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The Cost of Dementia

The cost of any illness or disability can be staggering, but the average cost of caring for a loved one with DEMENTIA can be staggering.

Dementia is the “umbrella term” for a number of cognitive disorders.  This is just a few:

  • Vascular dementia
  • Lewy Bodies
  • Parkinson’s disease dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment and
  • Alzheimer’s

Cost of Dementia Tops $157 Billion Annually in the United States. The monetary cost of dementia in the United States ranges from $157 billion to $215 billion annually, making the disease more costly to the nation than either heart disease or cancer, according to a new RAND Corporation study.  

For the “average” patient on Medicare, the cost for the final 5 years is $287,038 as compared to $175,136 for heart disease or $173,383 for someone who ultimately passes with cancer.  (Research by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, NYC).

Understanding the emotional and financial struggles, it is important to seek the advice of an Elder Law Attorney along with a medical and care management team.

We are here to start the conversation.

Rick Messemer, Community Contact

Local Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill / Triangle NC Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney offers professional counsel with last will and testament, revocable or irrevocable trust, power of attorney, advanced directive, Medicaid Planning, Veterans Aid and Assistance, asset protection, probate and estate administration, and other important legal matters.

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Health Care Power of Attorney (POA) and Living Wills (Advance Directives)

We usually don’t have a list of phone calls on a Monday morning asking to talk about “end of life” wishes, BUT it is a very important topic. 

There are basically two (legal) ways that you can communicate your health care wishes,

  • Health Care POA   
  • Advance Directive     

The Health Care POA will give direction to your appointed agent on what to do, let’s say you were in the hospital in a heavily sedated condition.   

The Advance Directive gives specific instructions on “end of life” situations regarding feeding, hydration or other extraordinary measures.   Both are important.   

This should be discussed with those around you.   Tell your family, friends and medical providers that you have these documents and are readily available if needed.  Many families share these documents with their medical care team.

If you have any questions regarding POA’s or Advance Directives (Living Wills) in North Carolina, please email  to

Carolina Estate Counsel offers free consultations in your home, senior living community, your place of business or financial advisor’s office. We offer legal advice only and do not sell annuities, securities or insurance products.

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Dementia Friendly Business


Carolina Estate Counsel just competed the course requirements to certify us as a “Dementia Friendly Business”.  This initiative came about through the 2015 White House Conference on Aging and offered two basic points for businesses to follow:

  • Commitment:  We have committed to become a Dementia Friendly business based on the training we received.  An example would be our policy to meet families in their home or senior living community, being respectful, patient and understanding to the client and family.  Whenever possible, involving the Dementia client in the decision process.
  • Training:  We will continue to receive “best practices” training on our interactions with clients and families seeking legal advice  for those facing cognitive decline.

It is our hope that we will be in a better position to understand and assist families with the many forms of Dementia.


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Carolina Estate Counsel offers FREE consultations and will come to you….. your home, senior living community, hospital room, financial advisors office, etc.   You can arrange a meeting by email at: 

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Alzheimer’s and Estate Planning


Estate and Elder Law planning is even more important if you suspect that you or a loved one is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or any progressive cognitive disease.

Here are just a few areas you should look at immediately:

  • Durable Power of Attorney- Lets the agent make financial decisions when you can’t.
  • Health Care Power of Attorney- Gives authority to your agent to speak to doctors and plan for your care.
  • Advanced Directives-  Let your loved ones know your wishes when it comes to extreme life sustaining measures (feeding tubes, hydration, pain)
  • Work with your Elder Law Attorney, Financial Advisor and Insurance Agent to make sure everyone is in sync.  Check all beneficiary designations now.  It may not be the best for Alzheimer’s patient be receive a large inheritance.
  • If professional care is needed; in-home care, assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing care, be sure to explore government benefits such as VA Aid and Attendance, Special Assistance for assisted living or memory care and Medicaid for Long Term Skilled Care.

Your questions are always welcome.  Please contact us at: for a free initial consultation.



Free Consultations for Estate Planning, Elder Law, Charitable Gifting questions –  and we’ll come to you in the Raleigh, Cary, Fuquay Varina, Durham and Chapel Hill areas.  We cover the Triangle area. 

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Special Needs Trust

What is a “Special Needs” trust?

Special Needs Trusts are created to comply with the complex rules of federal needs-based benefits programs that are important and may be available to people with disabilities, such as:

  • • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • • Medicaid or VA Aid and Attendance
  • • Section 8 Housing
  • • Food Stamps

When drafted and administered properly, a Special Needs Trust will allow the beneficiary to benefit from the Trust while retaining eligibility for public benefits and maintaining the current amount of benefits being received.  

Trusts can be created for infants through senior citizens!

Please let us know if you have any questions regarding a Special Needs Trust:

  • Who can create this type of trust
  • Funding the trust – private funds vs insurance
  • Trustees
  • Where do I start?

Please contact us for a no cost consultation:

Kevin Huston:  919-450-8086

Rick Messemer: Community Liaison     919-656-2959   or


“Carolina Estate Counsel / Huston Law Firm is a Raleigh NC based elder law attorney / lawyer. We offer legal services and advise clients in the areas of estate planning, managing estates, probate, wills, last will and testament, power of attorney, tax planning, transfer of assets, gifting, revocable and irrevocable trusts, special needs trusts, core documents, Medicaid eligibility, and managing estates. We serve The Raleigh Durham Chapel Hill Triangle area of North Carolina.”   Free consultation and we’ll come to you!



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