When someone is diagnosed with AD, you need to start getting their health, legal and financial affairs in order.
You want to plan for the future, if possible, with help from the person afflicted while they are still able to make decisions…and you need to review their information to make sure it reflects their wishes.
The first order of business is to make sure that they have all the information listed and that it is up-to-date:
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances-this gives someone who is referred to as the trustee the power to make legal and financial decisions on behalf of the person with AD.
- Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care-this gives the trustee the power to make health care decisions for the person with Ad if they are unable to make these decisions themselves.
- Living Will-this states the individual’s wishes for end-of-life health care.
- DNR-known as a Do Not Resuscitate Order, this tells health care officials how the person wants their end-of-life health care managed.
- Will-a will governs the distribution of assets after the person passes away.
- Living Trust-this tells the trustee how to distribute a person’s property and money.
Check For Money Problems
As part of the planning process, someone needs to check how well the person suffering from AD is doing handling their finances. This should either be a family member of the trustee designated by the individual.
This check is crucial because most AD sufferers have significant problems handling money. And as the disease gets worse, the person suffering from Alzheimer’s may decide to hide the financial problems in an effort to hold on to their independence.
Worse yet would be the situation where the AD sufferer doesn’t even realize that they are making bad decisions. This makes them susceptible to scams that prey on seniors. This is why it is important for the trustee or a family member to keep tabs on the situation and make sure that the person suffering from Alzheimer’s.
As I stated, someone suffering from Alzheimer’s has a major issue avoiding the scams that plaque so many seniors, which can take the form of…
- Identify theft
- Get rich quick offers
- Phony prizes or contests that have “won”
- Insurance scams
These are just a few of the threats that seniors face in general…and the situation is worse when we are discussing an Alzheimer’s patient. Often, the best way for a caregiver to assist in such a situation, even though they may not wish to, would be for the caregiver to get a Durable Power of Attorney (outlined above) so that they control the money of their loved one.
And while this may be the best scenario for the caregiver, it is also a sign of lost independence for their loved one. And when you are dealing with Alzheimer’s, that lost independence will only get worse with time.
Other Things To Watch Out For
Consider these to be warning signs that someone with AD is losing the ability to properly handle their money, if someone…
- People borrowing money from them and then not paying them back
- Giving away or selling personal belongings without permission
- Cashing social security or pension checks without permission
- Misusing ATM or debit cards
- Stealing prescription medications
Other tips for caregivers would include…
- Missing money from their bank account
- Does the signature on checks look like theirs or could it have been forged?
- Bills go unpaid
- Unauthorized charges on their credit/debit cards
If any of these occur, then it might be time for the caregiver to take a more active role in the finances of their loved one.
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