When caring for someone with dementia, it can be heartbreaking to see the symptoms of this cognitive disease to wear down your family member. Dementia gradually takes their mental capabilities such as their memory and ability to communicate which ultimately will affect their physical abilities. In some cases, a person with dementia experiences emotional changes which can lead to personality change. Without the proper preparations, it is also possible that individuals with dementia may lose their assets. During times like these, it is common that the family is emotionally taxed as well as physically. In order to relieve some of the stress, there are five steps that you can take.
1.) Seek an elder law estate attorney.
- To start, it is important to find a reliable elder law attorney that you can trust and feel confident in. A good attorney will explain all the steps necessary and what will be needed from you. They can help figure out some of your problems from estate planning to long-term care planning. This will allow you to have more options for your situation rather than being stuck in one place.
2.) Confirm your loved one’s wishes.
- Before they become senile, be sure to confirm that what is written in their estate plan is still as they wish. In addition, be sure to locate all of their important accounts such as bank accounts, insurance policies, and etc. This will allow their family to have access to these accounts when the time comes.
3.) Decide on who will be the health care proxy.
- A health care proxy form is a document that indicates who will be able to make medical decisions for them when they are unable to do so for themselves. Most commonly, this person will be their close relative or close friend. It should be a trusted person who will execute these decisions with their wishes and values in mind.
4.) Decide on who will be the power of attorney agent.
- A power of attorney agent refers to who will be in charge of financial decisions when the individual cannot do it on their own. The responsibilities of the agent oversee paying bills and sometimes even managing assets. Like the health care proxy, it is important to have a trusted person to have this responsibility. It is also common that the health care proxy is also the power of attorney agent.
5.) Discuss future plans with your family and elder law attorney.
- Oftentimes, the family of those diagnosed with dementia consider a nursing home for long-term care. As the effects of dementia reach its final stages, it can become increasingly difficult for family members to have the time to take care of them. Although it is important to keep the needs of the person you’re caring for in mind, it is also important to check on your own health. If you are experiencing stress that is affecting your own health and life, you may want to consider long-term care at a nursing home.
It is never easy to see loved ones go through dementia. Although times like these are extremely difficult, it is a crucial time to get legal affairs prepared so that there is no unnecessary trouble in the future. For more information or to be prepared, please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at (718) 333-2394.