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Diagnosis of dementia calls for long-term care plan

When a loved one is struck with the unthinkable, such as a diagnosis of impending Alzheimer's disease or another type of dementia, planning should start immediately if it's not already in place. Unfortunately, both in Texas and throughout the country, the stress and shock of coping with such an overpowering disease is combined with extraordinary medical expenses that few can afford. Therefore, long-term care planning for dementia can bring about substantial benefits, both economically and emotionally.

If planning is not already substantially in place, active planning should start as soon as the diagnosis is received. The foresight of advance planning carries a benefit in addition to financial: the loved one who has received the diagnosis may be able to effectively participate in much of the planning process. The first step may be to get a family meeting and take a look at the expenses and potential expenses involved.

If possible, bring in an attorney familiar with elder law and a financial advisor also familiar with  elderly planning. A detailed survey of the services available and the costs should be conducted.  Dementia proceeds at a choppy pace, and can take years to full develop. The medical and personal care needs will thus change as it progresses.

In addition to the usual medical services and drug treatments, other services may be needed and should be discussed. Some of these are home-safety modifications, adult day care services, in-home care services, and full-time residential care such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Informational and other assistance may also be obtained from the nationwide Alzheimer's Association.

The financial assistance and potential contributions of all family members should be plotted out. The loved one's finances, legal documents, and all assets records for property in Texas and elsewhere should be gathered and evaluated. If long-term care insurance is already in effect, a good part of the problem may be averted. Otherwise, transfer of assets into trust accounts or investments may have to be set up.

Source: journalstar.com, "Planning ahead for long-term care expenses : Nextra", Dennis Buckley, Dec. 23, 2014

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