Financial & Legal Planning for Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease
It is important for families to help loved ones get their financial and legal documents in order before dementia symptoms progress
When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, it often comes as a shock to family members. Suddenly there is a major change in your loved one’s health, and they may require daily assistance or medical care. While planning for the future can be overwhelming and emotionally challenging, it is essential that family members work together with loved ones to make decisions about a senior loved one’s financial, legal, and healthcare future.
With continued advancements in the correct and early-diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease, more often than ever those who have dementia can be diagnosed in the early stages. This is one small grace in an otherwise upsetting situation. For adults who receive an early diagnosis, they may not be impaired cognitively or physically. They can play an active role in the decision-making process and make choices about future care needs, including end of life care and financial decisions.
Have Conversations Early
Although it is never pleasant to think about the end of one’s life, it is an essential part of financial and legal planning. For adults with Alzheimer’s disease who will eventually be unable to make sound choices independently, making legal, financial, and end of life care decisions while they are still able is key. As your loved one’s dementia progresses, you won’t want to spend time worrying about finances, whether you are making the right care decisions, or searching for important documents. By organizing and planning in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, families can focus on spending quality time with loved one's knowing that the logistics of care have already been decided.
Many families are unprepared to deal with the legal and financial consequences of serious illnesses, particularly those like Alzheimer’s disease that cause severe mental and physical decline. There are steps that your family, along with your senior loved one, can take to create a financial and legal plan that supports peace of mind and the well-being of everyone involved. [Source]
Many families choose to retain a lawyer or enlist the help of an estate planner when making legal and financial decisions with senior loved ones. Remember that consulting a professional may help ensure that you have the proper documents collected. In some instances, professionals may help with the following planning documents:
- Documents that communicate the health care wishes of someone who can no longer make these decisions on their own. These documents may include a living will, durable power of attorney, a DNR order, and organ/tissue donation preferences
- Documents that communicate financial management and estate plane wishes of someone who can no longer make these decisions on their own. These documents may include a will, power of attorney for finances, and a living trust. [Source]
Before enlisting the consult of a professional senior advisor, there are some documents that families can gather on their own. These include things such as a birth certificate, Social Security Card, marriage and/or divorce papers, insurance information, a list of medications and current physical, and bank statements. Having all personal information compiled in one easy-to-access place with make creating financial and legal plans less of a hassle.
For help collecting these documents or answers to your family’s questions, Area Agency on Aging officials may be able to provide assistance.
Planning for Long Term Care
An essential part of the financial planning process for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease is long-term care. As your loved one’s illness progressed, they will eventually require more advanced levels of daily care. There are a variety of memory care options and finding the best option for your loved one is the first step. Once the type of memory care has been chosen, identify the costs of care. Will care services be covered by insurance or will funding be provided through private pay? Review any government benefits, including Veterans Benefits and long-term care insurance options. [Source]
Often, the best way to determine the cost of care is to speak directly with senior care organizations. If you think your senior loved one could benefit from memory care in a residential setting, consider ComfortCare Homes in Wichita, KS. Providing the variety of memory care services, from adult day care to full-time residential care services, ComfortCare Homes helps seniors with Alzheimer’s disease receive the professional memory care they need in a skilled, comfortable environment. Contact ComfortCare Homes today to learn more about the services available, as well as pricing and financial planning assistance.
For more information about memory care services provided by ComfortCare Homes, please call our office at (316) 444-0532.