Are you or someone you love dealing with the life-changing effects of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis? One of the best things you can do is plan ahead. These five tips on Alzheimer’s planning will help you prepare well for the future.
Seek accurate diagnosis immediately. As soon as you begin to see signs of memory loss, misplacing things, confusion as to where you are or what time it is, seek a diagnosis. The Alzheimer’s Association website has a great article on the “10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s.” Check it out HERE.
Prepare and organize legal documents. Consult an elder law attorney who specializes in working with those who have incapacity. Even if you have a lawyer, be sure to ask him or her how many “elder law” cases he or she has worked on in the past year. It should be 100 or more. If you don’t act quickly, you may need to seek probate court assistance to get proper authority to handle financial and medical affairs.
Build your team. Discuss your situation with family, advisers, and caregivers. Gather your ‘go to’ people who you trust implicitly and be sure everyone is on the same page. Going it alone is NEVER recommended. When more people who know your situation and your desires, there is less confusion about what is best for you and your care. This is often the easiest step in Alzheimer’s planning.
Inventory assets. Knowing where all of your money is held (banks, investment companies, life insurance, etc) is key to avoiding theft or being taken advantage of by others. If you focus on #2 and #3 above, your risk of loss will be reduced dramatically as your attorney, banker, and financial adviser can assist with assuring your property is well cared for and is used for your benefit and not the benefit of others.
Discuss long term care plans. What kind of care do you prefer? Would you like to stay at home? You should meet with your family and elder law attorney to define and discuss your options. Also, a good elder law attorney brings several free resources for sourcing care and learning about the different care options in your area.