What Steps Should I Take Immediately if I am Diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions.” After you or a loved one receives a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, it is critical that you take steps regarding your future medical care and estate plan.
Medical Care For Alzheimer’s Disease
The first step to take immediately after an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis is to figure out your medical care moving forward.
The Alzheimer’s Association lists the following questions that you can ask your doctor:

  • Why is the diagnosis Alzheimer’s?
  • Where am I in the course of the disease?
  • What can I expect in the future?

Find out if the doctor who diagnosed the disease will be your doctor moving forward. If not, find a doctor who has experience treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Create A Safe Environment
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. Taking steps to create a safe environment after diagnosis is an important part of the long-term plan.
The Mayo Clinic suggests the following steps:

  • Keep your keys, wallet, and mobile phone in the same place at home, so they do not become lost.
  • Develop the habit of carrying your mobile phone with location capability so that you can call for help in case you are lost or confused. The person you call will be able to track your location via the phone’s location capability.
  • Install sturdy handrails on stairways and in bathrooms.
  • Ensure that shoes and slippers are comfortable and provide good traction.
  • Remove unnecessary mirrors from the home. People with Alzheimer’s may find images in mirrors confusing or frightening.

Estate Planning
Proper estate planning helps you get your financial affairs in order. Estate planning may allow for a less burdensome condition for you and your family as Alzheimer’s progresses.
It is critical that your estate plan be created by an Elder Law Attorney. It is important to:

  • Speak with an Elder Law Attorney to help you establish a plan for the future.
  • Designate an Attorney-in-Fact to manage your financial affairs in the event that you become incapacitated.
  • Designate an Attorney-in-Fact to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapable of making decisions regarding your care.
  • Execute a Will. Ask your Elder Law Attorney about a Supplemental Needs Trust.
  • Ask your Elder Law Attorney to help you determine how you are going to pay for the costs of Long-Term Care if it becomes necessary.

When you receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, or another serious medical condition, it is important that you take immediate steps to figure out your medical care and address your estate planning needs.
At Elder Law Group PLLC we know that making arrangements for the eventuality of aging, Long-Term Care, and mental or physical incapacity can be very stressful and emotional. We strive to remove some of the burden from you and your family by helping you create an Estate Plan that addresses your needs in detail.
Contact us or call (509) 468-0551 (Spokane office), or (509) 579-0206 (Tri-Cities office) to learn more about estate planning or other legal needs of seniors, the disabled, or vulnerable adults and their families.