Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.



Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.



Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…


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Having money set aside won’t guarantee that you will have a good quality of life. Much of your quality of life will depend on your health. We all know of people who were wealthy beyond imagination and still had a horrible quality of life due to their poor health. Even with money, you still need family members or friends that care enough about you to spend that money in such a way that it will improve your standard of living. While everyone values independence, the sad reality is that if we live long enough, we will come to depend on others to have our needs met.

Asset protection planning gives you options. It gives your children a way to provide for you without you becoming a burden to them. Items such as wheelchairs, handicap- accessible minivans, new clothes, computers, phones, hearing aids, hairdos, manicures, pedicures, flowers, room decorations, televisions, hearing assist devices and on and on can be purchased by your family to help you live a more fulfilled and enjoyable life. Along with money set aside for a trip, for caregivers to travel with you, to be able to leave the nursing facility on occasion in a safe manner – these are all things available to people who have done asset protection planning.

Contrast the person who did planning to the person who didn’t. Often they share a room. Their food is the same, their care is the same and the view outside their window is the same. The difference is that the person who did the planning has access, through their power of attorney (POA) or child, to the assets they protected. If they need something, their POA/ child can access those funds to provide for them. Unfortunately, this is not an option for the person who didn’t do the planning. That person spent all their money in the nursing home and now has nothing left to leave their children and nothing to access for any needs they might have. That person’s children have to come out of pocket to provide any additional luxuries at all.

No one wants to go to a nursing home. For elder law attorneys, much of our planning revolves around keeping our clients out of the nursing home through Life Care Planning. The sad reality is, if we live into our late 70s, it’s a flip of the coin whether we go to a full-skilled nursing home. Currently there are thousands of people in this state residing in a nursing home. Not a single one of them chose to be there. I feel a good attorney should always plan for the worst-case scenario, and hoping you die before you run out of money is not a good plan.   

Recently, I was brainstorming with my wife about how to explain what an elder law attorney does and why it’s important. I kept running these ideas past her that were very logical, analytical and compelling to a guy like myself. Phrases such as “fiscally responsible,” “preservation of assets,” “generational planning” and “tax avoidance” flowed from me. I was thoroughly impressing myself with words such as “legacy” (don’tcha just love that word?) and comparing elder law attorneys to the armed guards on the Titanic who got to choose who got in the lifeboats and who had to go down with the ship (I know it’s a stupid analogy, but that’s what brain storming is for).

As I was imparting all of this brilliance to my wife, her expression kept changing in a very confusing way. Instead of nodding and smiling at my brilliant metaphors, she was frowning and shaking her head from side to side. She finally interrupted me and asked me why I didn’t just explain how crucial asset protection planning was for the elder to maintain a high-quality standard of living.

“People don’t care about money; they care about their parents. Stop talking about the money and talk about how much better their parents’ lives are going to be because you have protected the money.” Sayeth my wife.   


I am willing to admit it: Sometimes my wife is right and I am wrong. Even a blind squirrel can find an acorn every now and again. No one is perfect, not even me. So I am going to take my wife’s advice.

Asset protection planning, in a nutshell, is positioning your assets in such a way that they are not an “available resource” to a nursing home and won’t have to be spent down during the “Medicaid Spenddown.” By protecting these assets from the Medicaid Spenddown, they are still available to you (or, more specifically, to your family members responsible for your wellbeing) when you need them.

The traditional route to Medicaid is to spend all your money until you only have $2,000 left. At $85,000-$100,000 per year, this doesn’t take long for most people. Once that happens, there is nothing put aside to provide for your care if you need something that isn’t covered by Medicaid. That leaves your children in the position of having to pay out of pocket themselves to provide for you or make you do without. Remember, after you have completed the Medicaid Spenddown, all of your income goes to the nursing home. You get to keep $40 per month (in Kentucky) of your income. That won’t buy much.