Dealing With Financial Issues After an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

Tchere are many things that can change your life quickly. From a family perspective, an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is one of the toughest. One of the many issues that will need to be dealt with is the subject of finances.

Alzheimer’s is often referred to as a brutal disease because of all the collateral damage it causes. It causes a massive amount of pain. Ironically, the pain is usually not felt by the patient, but by the people close to the patient. Watching a person become a shadow of their former selves is gut wrenching. The fact that this often occurs over 15 to 20 years makes it all the more so.

When Alzheimer’s is diagnosed in a family, the person with the disease is often a senior parent. This creates a difficult situation as the sons and daughters of the parents still view them as authority figures. Once the diagnosis is made, these roles must be switched and the “kids” must start taking an active role in their parent’s lives. Being proactive as soon as possible can make a world of difference in the long run.

When it comes to finances, the first thing to understand is senior couples have a tendency to divide up duties. One make have taken control of the finances. This means the other doesn’t know too much about what is going on, so you need to be sensitive to this and avoid badgering a parent who doesn’t know much.

The first step to dealing with the finances is to get a grasp of what is involved. You should pull together everything and make a summary. This includes all assets, retirement accounts, debts and so on. You should pay particular attention to insurance as paying for care in the future will be a huge issue. If they parents have not formed trusts, they should before the person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is deemed unfit to do so under the law.

Once you have a handle on the finances, it is time to map out a plan. At some point in time, one or more of the kids are going to need to have power of attorney over the finances. This can be a difficult family decision, but it is one that must occur. Once a decision is made, make sure to have a lawyer write it up. Don’t use some cheesy form of the web. It is a huge issue, so spend a few bucks.

Simultaneous to all of this, you should be looking into insurance issues. An Alzheimer’s patient does not usually need much help at first. As the disease progresses, however, this will change. Having help brought into the home a couple times a week is the first step. Eventually, the level of care needed will require placing the individual in an Alzheimer’s care home. How will this be paid for? Sit down with a financial expert or lawyer to map it out.

The key to getting through an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is to be proactive. Burying your head in the sand will get you nowhere and make things miserable. This is particularly true for financial issues. Take the time to get organized and get a plan in place that everyone can agree on. It will cut down on the stress in an otherwise stressful situation.



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