In times where we are seeing more and more diagnoses for Alzheimer’s and Dementia, families need guidance in what to do in the event a loved one is diagnosed with either disease. Legally speaking, upon a diagnosis, the family should contact an attorney to obtain a Power of Attorney for the beloved family member.
The statistics surrounding this heart-wrenching disease are staggering. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or Dementia (www.alz.org). Furthermore, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States (www.alz.org).
The disease affects the family and caregivers as well. It is difficult to watch a loved one go through the various stages of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Caring for a loved one diagnosed with either of these diseases can take a toll on the family both physically and emotionally. Therefore, it is imperative that families take estate planning steps to help better protect themselves and ease the process of caring for their loved one.
Creating a plan at the onset of symptoms or diagnosis helps the family know what to do for their loved one and also allows the loved one to appoint a family member to take on the responsibility of acting as Power of Attorney. With the Power of Attorney, the family is able to access and handle medical decisions and records, medications, finances, and even apply for long-term care assistance. Without such a document, the family will have a much more difficult time trying to access that information, ordering prescriptions, and so forth, which adds additional stress and strain on the family. While an Estate Plan or Power of Attorney will not take away all of the stress and pain a family endures, it will at least provide guidance and allow the family to properly and legally take care of their loved one.