There are other circumstances that require a more urgent need for a long-term care plan. If a loved one has recently been diagnosed with a degenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s, you will want to think about making plans as soon as possible, before their condition worsens.
Alzheimer’s disease is something that most people prefer not to think about. For those who have just been diagnosed with the disease, it is probably frightening and even difficult to think about the future. However, waiting to bring legal and financial affairs into order can lead to incomplete or inadequate care for patients down the road. That’s why it’s important to begin planning for ill health before Alzheimer’s disease starts to take its toll.
The National Institute of Aging recommends that families start their estate planning soon after an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. In these early stages, the patient is still able to be an active participant in legal, financial, and medical discussions. While the National Institute of Aging guidelines reference Alzheimer’s disease, the early planning that the institute recommends applies broadly to the care of anyone with debilitating disease. That planning includes home healthcare.
Families also benefit from these early discussions. When the patient participates in planning for his or her care, their family will have more clarity about the precise wishes of their loved one and will feel more prepared for the tough decisions that must be made in the coming years.
Planning for Alzheimer’s disease requires drawing up several formal documents, such as:
- A Living Will: This document explains what the person wants for end-of-life medical treatment.
- Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare: This documentation designates which person will make the health care decisions when the Alzheimer’s Disease patient can no longer make such decisions.
- Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR): This order directs medical professionals about what they should do if the patient’s heart or breathing stops.
- Advance Directives: Financial planning must include advance directives, such as a will that establishes which people will receive a person’s assets upon death.
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances: Similar to the power of attorney for healthcare, the power of attorney for finances establishes who makes financial decisions for a person when he or she is no longer able to do so.
As you start to formulate a care plan for your aging loved one, you may want to consider including reliable elder care services. At David York Agency, we can provide a variety of in-home health care services to support the health and wellness of your loved one in every stage of life. If you’d like more information about your options, we would be happy to discuss how our services can fit into your plan.
For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate home caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you with the assistance you loved one needs as he or she ages. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.