A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be devastating to a patient, family and friends. While there isn’t a cure for this frightening disease, a patient can live an average of eight years after diagnosis — some as long as 20 years. Knowing who to contact about financial, legal guardianship and will and estate planning can help reduce the fears and anxiety that go along with determining what to do next.

Financial Planning

According to Alzheimer’s care experts at Beverly Healthcare, Alzheimer’s patients who are concerned about how they’ll pay for the care they will need in the later stages of the disease should consider discussing their future needs with their families and a financial advisor — planning for the financial needs of the patient’s future is a wise step. The time to discuss financial needs such as current sources of income and potential care expenses — physician visits, care services and housing — should be at a time when the patient has the mental ability to help in the planning.

During the planning process, keep in mind that in addition to income, other financial resources may be available through government assistance or community-based organizations. For example, private health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid are available to many people. Private health insurance includes retiree and government-funded insurance, such as Medigap. Other types of insurance, like long-term care insurance, may also help pay for 24-hour care. Medicare covers some of the services a person with Alzheimer’s may need such as inpatient hospital care and a portion of the doctor’s fees, along with some other medical expenses; however, Medicare payment for nursing home care is very limited. Medicaid benefits differ state-to-state, and eligibility is dependent on both income and property requirements as determined by the state.

Preparing the Appropriate Legal Documents

Beverly Healthcare Alzheimer’s care experts also suggest speaking with an elder-law attorney for assistance with documents that provide for power of attorney, power of attorney for healthcare, a living will, living trusts and a will. A power of attorney allows the patient to name a trusted person to make legal decisions when the patient is no longer able to make them. Likewise, a power of attorney for healthcare gives the patient’s trusted person the ability to make healthcare decisions for the patient. These decisions include choices about healthcare providers, medical treatment and end-of-life decisions such as tube feeding and ventilator support. A living will allows the patient to state what medical treatment he or she wants offered or withheld. Generally, in the event of “imminent death,” the will allows the patient to speak now, in preparation for a time when that is no longer possible.

For information on Beverly Healthcare nursing homes please visit www.beverlynet.com. For more information on dementia and Alzheimer’s, visit www.alz.org.

Courtesy of ARA Content