There are steps Indiana families can take to plan ahead for their loved ones with dementia. While everyone’s situation is different, setting some things up as early as possible can help manage finances and daily life as it becomes more difficult for the person with dementia to make decisions for themselves.
Family members or a proxy will need to make decisions about issues like emergency situations or important financial matters. Ideally, the person with dementia clarifies their wishes ahead of time. This way there is a guideline for making decisions. Having appropriate paperwork gathered ahead of time can make it easier to know what the person wants to happen. In general, the more paperwork organized in the right places, the easier this job will be. Some of the most important papers will be a living will and any financial papers, including information on all accounts, tax statements and medical coverage.
Unfortunately, many people with dementia are not diagnosed in the earliest stages of the disease. This may mean that their symptoms are already making it difficult to do things like create a living will. Getting this together as early as possible and to the best of their abilities is an important part of the process for planning ahead.
Difficulty managing money is often an early sign of dementia. This can look like missed payments, impulsive spending that is out of character for them, and falling victim to scams and fraud.
There are many different types of scams that target elderly people. Those with dementia often fall victim to these types of fraud. Becoming aware of these scams and the basics of elder law, including legal proxies, estate planning and conservatorship, can help manage these issues as they arise.
In some circumstances, it may be best for a person close to the person with dementia to become their legal proxy. This gives the proxy access to manage finances and look out for the person’s wishes. Again, every family situation is different, but elder law attempts to offer options to help manage the realities for people with dementia.