Consultation with an ALCM can also help you to formulate a longer term care plans that can be implemented as the disease progresses.
An early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease or other chronic illness presents you with an opportunity to plan for the future and execute important advanced planning documents. These may include:
- Durable Power of Attorney –This document names an agent or agents to act on one’s behalf with respect to financial and other matters.
- Health Care Proxy – This document names an agent and an alternate to act on one’s behalf with respect to health care matters when one can no longer make decisions. This is also a very good time to discuss your or your loved one’s wishes so that the agent will understand what decisions should be made.
- HIPAA Consent Form –This document names an agent to obtain medical information or review medical records.
- Will – A will directs what happens to an estate after the principal’s passing.
There are other legal documents, such as trusts, which might also be part of an estate plan. We recommend that our clients see elder law attorneys who work exclusively with elders and persons with disability, who consider the entire family situation, and who will craft an estate plan that meets their loved one’s stated goals while leaving open the best option to obtain care in the future. Elder law attorneys should understand the various subsidy programs and work with you to arrange assets to maximize care options and eligibility to subsidy as needed. The rules around these programs are very complex and ever-changing; be certain to work with someone who specializes in this area and up-to-date on its many intricacies. We can suggest local attorneys or you can find an elder law attorney at www.naela.org.
For supportive services and education, we also recommend that you connect with the Alzheimer’s Association or call 508-799-2386 to speak with someone in the Central Massachusetts office. The Alzheimer’s Association offers a wealth of programs, training, support groups and written materials that can be most helpful. They offer a Care Consultation program – a free one-to-one-and-a-half-hour consult with an Alzheimer’s Disease expert. One of their most popular free programs is called “Getting Started: A Primer After Diagnosis.”