Because of the debilitating impact of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis and related forms of dementia on a senior’s ability to make sound financial decisions, the sooner you can get financial matters in order the better, says The (Florence, AL) Courier Journal’s recent article entitled “4 Financial Steps When Dealing with Alzheimer’s.”
4 important steps to take after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis:
- Watch for signs of unusual financial activity. Discrepancies with money can frequently be a signal of cognitive challenges. Red flags may include difficulty paying a proper amount for an item, leaving bills unpaid, or making odd purchases.
- Name a power of attorney. Many people are hesitant to give control of their personal finances to another. However, it’s important to have an honest discussion with your family member and discuss looking out for their interests. Identify a person who can be trusted to manage day-to-day money matters, if necessary. This person should be designated as financial power-of-attorney, with the authority to sign checks, pay bills and monitor the senior’s finances.
- Prepare proper documentation. A senior must be deemed competent to complete or update estate planning documents. It is important to be certain that the named beneficiaries are up-to-date.
- Examine care expense and how it will be covered. Create a strategy for how the senior will be cared for, if their cognitive abilities deteriorate over time. Make decisions about whether specialized care will be needed (either in the home or in a nursing or assisted living facility). Long-term care insurance should also be considered to help with costs. Speak to an elder law attorney about trusts that can be established to provide for care for the disabled individual, while still protecting the family’s assets.
Delaying for too long to address financial issues after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can make an already stressful and emotional time even worse.
Take action to address the situation, as soon as you are aware that it could be a problem. Even creating a plan for addressing these issues before a form of dementia is firmly diagnosed makes sense.
See an elder law attorney for guidance on how to manage mom’s finances when she has Alzheimers.
Reference: The (Florence, AL) Courier Journal (June 8, 2021) “4 Financial Steps When Dealing with Alzheimer’s”