By Attorney Robert T. Brooks on December 5, 2018
Receiving a diagnosis of dementia is not only devastating for the person receiving that news, but also their family members. Many Virginia residents have misconceptions about dementia that can lead to more fear or inaccurate assumptions of what to expect. So, if you or your family member receives this diagnosis what should you do?
Our webpage, at https://theheritagelawgroup.com/practice-areas/elder-law-medicaid/ can give you information on legal issues associated with dementia and general aging.
Research the type of dementia with which you or your loved one was diagnosed. Here in the Tidewater area of Virginia we have two local Area Agencies on Aging which can be of help: http://www.paainc.org/ or https://bayaging.org/. Whether or not your variety of dementia is Alzheimer’s, the Alzheimer’s Association has caregiver support groups and a wealth of information.
Locate and contact local support groups in your area. Attend local education seminars on dementia and see what services are offered to assist families with a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia. Attend a caregiver support system. Learn as much about this disease as you can so that you are prepared for what the future may hold, but also so that you can know how to best enjoy the present.
REVIEW OR OBTAIN ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS WITH AN EXPERIENCED ELDER LAW ATTORNEY
Do you or your loved one have appropriate estate planning documents, such as a Will, Durable Power of Attorney, and Advanced Medical Directive? I say appropriate, because I meet with many individuals who have executed estate planning documents and believe they are covered if they become incapacitated due to dementia, but what they don’t realize is their documents may be missing very important language. The missing language can cost your family many thousands of dollars, an extreme amount of unneeded stress, and possibly require court proceedings to be initiated.
The specific language in your estate planning documents is important, because a diagnosis of dementia could possibly mean you or your loved one may need home care or nursing home care in the future. Do you or your loved one have the financial resources to pay $5,000.00 to $8,000.00 per month for long-term care? Instead of your or your loved one’s assets being used to pay the nursing home, would you or your loved one prefer to preserve the assets for their spouse, children, or families to utilize in the future?
These are just a couple of questions that need to be addressed when you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, and certain language needs to be in your estate planning documents to allow your wishes to be known, and to plan for the financial future of your family. For a general overview, see our webpage at https://theheritagelawgroup.com/practice-areas/estate-planning/.
Being diagnosed with dementia is scary, but by educating yourself and taking the proper steps to ensure you have protected yourself and your family, you can see that you have the proper tools in place to combat the disease physically as well as financially.
If you or your family are dealing with dementia please contact The Heritage Law Group to see how we can help you through this difficult time.