Managing finances for a parent or senior loved one with dementia can be a challenge. It’s important to regularly perform financial checkups to make sure you’re budgeting effectively as care needs and finances change.
Dementia is an emotional disease for everyone involved. Adding financial responsibility to an already difficult situation can heighten frustration. This is why it’s so important to do your due diligence to make sure legal documents are prepared ahead of time. This will help your family not only make more informed decisions but will also protect financial assets as your loved one’s care needs change and finances need to be reassessed.
Protecting a Parent or Senior Loved One With Dementia
Advance planning will help alleviate a lot of stress when your loved one can no longer manage his or her finances. If possible, get organized ahead of time to make sure someone has a durable power of attorney, or the authority to make financial decisions on your loved one’s behalf if he or she becomes incapacitated.
If you don’t get legal specifications handled in advance, there will be many legal hoops for your family that will not only take more effort and time but will also heighten emotion during an already intense period of healthcare costs.
Here are the documents you will want to get in order with the help of a local certified elder care attorney who understands the relevant state’s laws and regulations:
1. A durable power of attorney.
A power of attorney gives you the authority to make financial decisions for someone else, such as selling a home, signing checks to pay bills or handling tax returns. Unlike a general power of attorney, a durable power remains in place if the person for whom you are making decisions becomes incapacitated and can’t make decisions for himself or herself. A regular power of attorney ends if the person who issued the power of attorney becomes incapacitated.
2. Health care proxy.
This is essentially a power of attorney for medical decisions. It allows you to make choices about doctors, treatments and other health-related matters.
3. Living will.
Also known as an advance directive for health care, a living will lets your loved one specify the medical treatment that he or she wants — or doesn’t want — near the end of life.
4. Updated will.
A will dictates what happens to any of your family member’s assets after his or her death.
Performing Regular Financial Checkups
Once you have the legal authority to handle your parent or senior loved one’s finances, you’ll need to be proactive to make sure you’re doing regular financial checkups.
When you have parents in senior living care, it’s important to not only reassess their care but also regularly review finances to make sure you’re budgeting effectively.
This becomes more important as a senior loved one moves from assisted living or independent care to more intense care, such as memory care.
Are you performing regular financial checkups on a parent or senior loved one with dementia? What other tips do you have that were not listed above? We’d like to hear from you in the comments below.