Updated: Nov 12
Before, during, and after a Dementia diagnosis, it's essential to plan for the future so that your healthcare providers, loved ones, family, and friends will know what to do as things change and if you become incapacitated in some way.
These professionals can help you make decisions that should benefit you in the short and long term. Consider meeting with:
An elder law attorney
An attorney can help you create an advance directive or living will, which puts your wishes about your medical care into writing.
Attorneys can also help you designate a power of attorney – the person who takes care of your financial matters when you cannot handle them yourself – and medical power of attorney – the person who will make healthcare decisions on your behalf when you're unable to communicate your wishes.
It's possible to appoint people as your representatives and create documents independently; many states have forms you can print out and complete. But if you can afford to meet with an elder law attorney, do it. Ensuring that all the paperwork is filled out correctly to reflect your wishes may give you greater peace of mind.
A financial planner
Have you kept tabs on your bank accounts, retirement plans, and other assets? Financial planners may find ways to help you save money. A financial planner can ensure that you (and your power of attorney) have access to your money. They can also guide you through financial decisions related to your ongoing care. They'll let you know if you're eligible for Medicaid or financial aid.
A geriatric care manager
Hiring a professional geriatric care manager may alleviate some pressure regarding your care. A care manager may schedule doctor appointments on your behalf, recommend home modifications to make your living space safer, and create a long-term-care plan that meets your wishes.
Consider connecting with an Aging Life Care Professional®.
From their website, "Aging Life Care management is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults or others facing ongoing health challenges. Working with families, the expertise of Aging Life Care Professionals provides the answers at times of uncertainty. Their guidance leads families to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love, thus reducing worry, stress, and time off of work for family caregivers through assessment and monitoring, planning and problem-solving, education and advocacy, and family caregiver coaching."
The opinions expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily the opinions of the Dementia Society, Inc. We do not endorse nor guarantee products, comments, suggestions, links, or other forms of the content contained within blog posts that have been provided to us with permission or otherwise. Dementia Society does not provide medical advice. Please consult your doctor. www.DementiaSociety.org
Lisa Fields is a full-time freelance writer specializing in health, psychology, sleep, nutrition, and fitness. Her work has been published by Reader's Digest, WebMD, Women's Health, Good Housekeeping, Self, and many other publications. Learn more about Lisa at https://www.writtenbylisafields.com.