The Power Of Action
Instead of doing nothing when you see a loved one in decline, I would suggest that there is great virtue to be had in the power of action. Doing something can make some things better. Even though the disease itself cannot be cured by something we would do, the negative things that may happen as a result of not acting can be mitigated. From my perspective as an elder law attorney, here are a few actions that I would suggest:
Alzheimers Help Tips
- If you have not done so already, take your loved one to the gerontologist or other qualified medical professional to obtain a full medical evaluation. Although the medical profession has yet to come up with a cure for Alzheimer’s (we keep hoping they will!!) they can often suggest medications, therapy or treatments that “make things better” for the person with Alzheimer’s and their family.
- If YOU are the one in decline, but still have capacity, you should call your elder law attorney immediately to determine what legal actions are necessary to protect yourself and your assets. If have have not prepared an estate plan, that should be one of the first items discussed. At a minimum, your plan should probably include a power of attorney and health care documents.
- A properly drafted Power of Attorney for property and financial matters is one of the most important documents that a person can have. If a person has not stated in writing who has the authority to step in their shoes and make property and financial decisions should they become unable to make those decisions themselves, then a great vacuum exists should they lose capacity. Often in situations where a person loses capacity, without having prepared a power of attorney, a court-ordered guardianship may be necessary.
- Health Care Documents are also very important to do while you have capacity. If you have not stated in advance who has the authority to make healthcare decisions for you should you lose the ability to act for yourself, then your Family might find themselves in a difficult situation. You should specifically designate who has the authority to make healthcare decisions for you, if you are not able to make them for yourself. For more information on this topic download the Health Care Planning Report from the Resources section from our website.
- If you are the spouse or adult child of a loved one who has lost capacity, then it may be too late to do traditional estate planning. In situations such as these, it is important to plan appropriately for the type of care needed. It is also critical to determine how to pay for this care, while preserving as many assets as possible for the well spouse.
Stay tuned for Part III of this Blog Series to learn what can be done – even at the last minute to protect assets.
When something bad happens to someone you love, the whole family feels the strain. In situations such as these, I would encourage the family to reach out to qualified professionals as soon as possible to obtain the type of care that your loved one deserves.