If you have a loved one who has Alzheimer’s, you already know how much that could change your life. You know that you would have to do plenty of work just to make sure your loved one receives the care that he/she needs and can at least enjoy the remaining years of his/her life. Another important thing is to ensure your loved one’s legal protection.
According to medical experts, it would be best for you to arrange legal preparation as soon as you can or as soon as you learn of the diagnosis. It could become difficult to convince your loved one to surrender his or her legal and financial independence and power.
However, it may be best for them to put those powers on those they love and trust in order for them to avoid being taken advantage of later on. Below are the main steps that legal experts suggest taking once you learn of an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis.
Create a Health Care Directive
Lawyers recommend this to families with a loved one who has dementia. Having a recent, valid, and notarized Advanced Health Care Directive and HIPAA Waiver should be in place for your loved one. If you’re loved one has Alzheimer’s that could reach to a point where he/she is no longer able to make informed decisions about personal health care.
So discuss the possible health issues that could arise while you still can and ask about their treatment choices for every case. Having all of those laid out will make you prepared when the time comes and that could be a legally binding living will. It would also be better if the directive also includes a medical power of attorney to someone your loved one chose to make the decisions for him/her.
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Make a Written Care Plan with the Memory Care Community
Once the illness reached a point where you’ve already chosen a higher level of care from a memory care community, make sure to have a care plan in writing. The chosen facility would assess your loved one, create a written plan, execute the plan, and consistently re-evaluate to assure that they are meeting the needs of your loved one. They are required to do that as that’s what the law requires.
Make an Estate Plan
An asset protection plan coupled with a properly prepared estate planning documents from an experienced elder law attorney will give a clear plan about your loved one’s wishes. The elder law attorney breaks down options and strategies for protecting the assets, preserving the investments and income while still meeting your loved one’s choices in care and living arrangements.
Keeping Track of Your Loved One’s Treatment
Some patients may not be getting the care that they need or worse, suffer from elder abuse. To protect your loved one from substandard care or abuse, make sure that you visit them often and monitor the treatment. You may not be able to change the effects of their disease but you can decrease the consequences.
Arrange a Financial Power of Attorney
This will be particularly helpful when your loved one starts to lose his/her ability to make smart financial decisions. Paranoia is one of the side effects of Alzheimer’s. And if your loved reached that level, he/she would never sign any documents. So get that financial POA and share it with all the relevant financial institutions your loved one uses. That would ensure that bills get paid and the finances will be in good order.