21 Sep Planning for Your Future when Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s
Victor A. SantanaAssociate
For National Alzheimer’s Day, Rapp & Krock, PC is bringing awareness to the disease and providing information and resources to people dealing with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. In 2023, an estimated 6.7 million Americans, ages 65 and older, are living with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is a brain condition that causes a progressive decline in memory, thinking, learning, and organizing skills. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Id.
Over time, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and related dementia will make it challenging to perform daily tasks. However, early planning enables you to make and communicate decisions to the right people. Additionally, making significant lifestyle changes early on can help slow the progression of the disease, delay the onset of more debilitating symptoms, and extend your quality of life. Below you will find a list of important legal documents to consider, as well as resources for living with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Financial, Health, and Long-term Care Planning:
It is essential that you prepare your health, legal, and financial care documents as soon as possible. These documents require the person executing them to have varying levels of capacity to make such decisions. Thus, as Alzheimer’s progresses you will be less likely to have the capacity to properly execute the following documents.
- Will: This document specifies how you want your estate—property, money, and other assets—to be distributed and managed when you die. It addresses care for minors, gifts, and end-of-life arrangements, such as funerals and burials.
- Statutory Durable Power of Attorney: This will name someone to be responsible for making financial and contractual decisions for you when you are not able to.
- Living Trust: This document defines your wishes for life-sustaining treatment if you have a terminal or irreversible condition and cannot make your own decisions regarding emergency treatment.
Health Care Planning
- Living Will: A living will defines your wishes for medical treatment if you are dying or permanently unconscious and incapable of making decisions regarding emergency treatment.
- Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care: This document allows someone to make medical decisions for you when you are not able to.
Long Term Care Planning
If you or a family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it’s important to start planning for long-term care as soon as possible. At some point, you may require around-the-clock care. These services can be very expensive and will require adequate planning. Contact Rapp & Krock’s skilled Estate Planning team to assist you in covering all preparations.
Assistive technology solutions for everyday tasks:
Assistive technology refers to devices or systems that help maintain or improve a person’s physical ability, memory, and mobility.
Ensures you have easy access to the proper medication by using technology that allows you to take them exactly as prescribed by your physician. Machines like the MedaCube Automatic Pill Dispenser or the Hero Dispenser provide you and your family members with peace of mind that you are taking your medication as prescribed.
Web-based applications like ‘1Password’ and ‘Last Pass’ help users by saving the user information and passwords of websites they use. These applications protect your data with multi-layered encryption and prevent you from having to memorize or write down passwords.
With advancements in web-based applications, you can collaborate with a team of real people who can assist with managing day-to-day tasks. This form of technology can help you maintain an independent lifestyle. Yohana and Nili Care are two web-based applications that help people with their routine activities.
Connect with Family
Utilizing a locator device can help you and your family locate items with ease. These small devices can be placed in backpacks, wallets, and even on your body to ensure that you or your belongings are always in a safe location and can be found in a short time.
Telecare systems are a way to keep you safe by allowing family or friends to have access to you in a time of need. Telecare systems include community alarms, sensors and movement detectors, and video calling. You can also use programs or applications such as Grandpad, Skype, or Facetime to be in constant contact with your family.
Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is never easy and it is normal to experience a range of emotions. Accepting your situation and communicating with your family can be a great first step. A support network that can give you advice and encouragement will go a long way, but there are many available resources for support such as The Alzheimer’s Association which provides a wealth of knowledge for the individual with the diagnosis as well as his or her family and caregivers.
If you have any questions, please contact the Probate, Estate Planning, Elder Law, and Trusts team at Rapp & Krock, PC. Our goal is to create a comprehensive and all-encompassing plan for you and your loved ones. When the plans for your future are unique, we provide the experience and attention to meet those specific needs.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Victor Santana is an associate at Rapp & Krock, PC in the Probate, Estate planning, Elder law, and Trusts group.
Rapp & Krock, PC presents the information in this article for general education purposes only. Although this article discusses legal issues, it is not legal advice. The law and the content of any linked website may have changed since this article was written, and Rapp & Krock, PC makes no warranty or guarantee about the continuing accuracy of the information presented. Use of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship, and Rapp & Krock, PC does not represent you unless and until we are expressly retained in writing.
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