Advance Care Planning: Adults With Dementia

An Elderly Man in Blue Sweater Sitting Beside the Woman in Yellow Cardigan

Legal and Financial Planning for People With Dementia and Early-Stage Alzheimer’s

Steps Caretakers Can Take Now

As we continue to share resources around advance care planning, we need to highlight the importance of planning for people with dementia and early-stage Alzheimer’s. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a serious illness—especially one that will cause declining mental and physical health—it can be scary. While your loved one’s mental decline may happen gradually, it is so important to make advance care arrangements as soon as possible.

Many people with early-stage Alzheimer’s or dementia can understand many aspects of financial and health care planning. While they are able to do so, consider working with a lawyer to examine, update, and finalize those advance care plans. In most cases, these documents must be created while the individual is legally able to execute them, and they go into effect once the individual is unable to make decisions on their own.  A lawyer can help you to navigate through any state-specific laws and make sure that your loved one’s wishes are clearly expressed.

What can caregivers do in the advance care planning process?

  • As early as possible, obtain permission for caregiver communications. This will allow you to speak to your loved one’s doctor and lawyer.
  • Also seek advance permission with other entities involved, like Medicare, your loved one’s credit card company, bank, or financial advisor.

Keep in mind that without your loved one’s consent, you may not be able to get access to the information you need. It is best to do this as soon as you can.


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