Will Your Loved One With Alzheimer's Lose Their Dignity?

Jackie Bedard
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Alzheimer’s disease robs those with the disease of their personalities, their roles in life, even precious time with their loved ones.  That’s something we all know.  But if you’ve been reading these emails the past few months, you also know that there are ways to make your loved one’s remaining time precious and dignified.  But some caregivers unknowingly put their loved ones with Alzheimer’s at risk – simply by not taking steps to help them keep some of what they’ve worked a lifetime for.

When a loved one begins experiencing personality changes, Alzheimer’s could be a culprit – but it’s always important to have a diagnosis made by a doctor.  If a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s is made, there are steps every family should begin to take right away to ensure that their loved one isn’t put in a position to lose almost everything they have – including their dignity.  But this doesn’t have to be the case.

Too many families think that an Alzheimer’s diagnosis means that they have plenty of time to plan for the eventualities of nursing care – unfortunately due to new laws that have been put in place in the last few years, that’s not the case. 

When someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it’s vitally important that you get their financial house in order right away, whether or not there will be someone to bear the financial burden if they need skilled nursing care.  The sooner after diagnosis the better to discuss your loved one’s plans and paperwork regarding insurance, wills, burial policies, safe deposit boxes, files, and personal wishes.  Your loved one will be more able to discuss their wishes, and you can even put in place documents to allow your loved one to get their hair done, fresh flowers brought to their room, and other things that will make their life with Alzheimer’s as “normal” and pleasing as possible.

If Alzheimer’s is a concern, you need to make two appointments: the first with an elder law attorney and the second with a physician.  Your loved one may be more willing to go to these appointments if you accompany them.  Whether you come to our firm or another, making these plans early is essential so that you’re loved one is not penalized when they ultimately need nursing care.

You may want to search for a neighbor or lifetime friend of your loved one who can assist you with gathering the information you’ll need and getting them to these appointments.

Don’t take the risk of allowing your loved one to lose everything to high care costs.  Their life savings could be quickly whittled down to a mere $2,000 in the bank and $30 per month in income.  How many hairdos can a woman get with $30 per month?  Fresh flowers?  What happens when your loved one’s hearing aid is accidentally stepped on, or he’d like to get something to hang on the wall in his room?  Frankly, these numbers are too thin for most people, and your loved one may have to have these costs covered by friends and family... an action that for many seniors, is something they never wanted to have happen. 

Free Caregiver’s Guide:

Solid legal and financial planning is critical for a loved one with long-term care needs. Download our free Caregiver’s Guide to learn the critical information you need to know about caring for your loved one.