Care for dementia patients is improving quickly. That’s good news for families and loved ones of those suffering from Alzheimer’s and similar diseases. But if you are caring for someone with declining mental abilities today, there are some steps you can and should take.
Elder Care Law
Families in these situations need the assistance of a qualified attorney, when trying to understand elder care law. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are almost exclusively conditions which appear late in life. So it’s important to have a plan. If Alzheimer’s runs in your family, you might even choose to create the plan in advance, when all parties can weigh in on the decisions.
The Toll of Dementia
Along with the emotional turmoil on the patient and family members, dementia also takes quite a financial toll. Alzheimer’s and related illnesses are typically degenerative, progressing slowly over time, while requiring considerable medical and personal care.
Anchorage elder care law specialists have experience helping clients create plans that provide for both the medical and the quality-of-life aspects of these expenses.
Early Planning is Critical
Of course, early planning is critical. If it is suspected that you or a family member is developing Alzheimer’s disease or any other ailment that impairs thinking, estate planning and other provisions should be arranged with an elder care lawyer as soon as possible.
A dementia patient’s mental capacity will decline, and in order for predefined wishes to be followed, his or her current capacity cannot be in question. Getting started as soon as an issue is suspected is one of the best ways to ensure having the greatest say in the future.
Making Medical Decisions
Because of the progression of the disease, some of the most important decisions to be made are medical ones. For example, a healthcare proxy needs to be drawn up to designate a trustworthy person to make medical decisions for the patient when he or she is no longer able to do so.
If this person is not chosen in advance, it is likely the courts will need to appoint one at a later date. Again, taking care of this issue with an elder care lawyer in Anchorage now means that you have more control over what happens later.
Asset Protection for Dementia Patients
Asset protection is another major concern for dementia patients. The physical progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can take many years, while the mental progression may be much faster.
This means the individual may require specialized care (including monitoring, nursing, and other personal needs) for a very long time, therefore depleting existing finances. Learning how to maximize the value of assets now can greatly impact the quality of care one can afford down the road.
There is also concern regarding estate planning, as the costs associated with dementia can easily wipe out any potential inheritance unless the proper plans have been put into place.
Seek an Alaska Attorney, Experienced in Elder Care Law for Guidance
When it comes to elder care, it makes good sense to seek a qualified elder care attorney who can help navigate the ins and outs of the system as it relates the special needs of those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. If you are ready to get started, simply call our Anchorage elder law firm at (907) 334-9200 and ask to schedule a consultation.