ElderLaw News-The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. — MD, VA, DC
ElderLaw News
ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

What To Do After A Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2015, an estimated 5.3 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s disease.

1 in 3 seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and almost two-thirds of individuals with Alzheimer’s will be women. Alzheimer’s is clearly on the rise; between 2000 and 2013, deaths attributed to Alzheimer’s disease increased a staggering 71 percent. With statistics like these, there is little doubt that you or someone you know will be impacted by this devastating disease during your lifetime. A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is unwelcome news, often met with a variety of emotions and sometimes denial. If you or a loved one are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, however, there are several things you can do to prepare for the progression of the disease, to alleviate your concerns about long-term care and the associated costs, and to protect and provide for your family in the future.

Depending on the stage at which you receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, you may still have the capacity to sign legal documents. One of the first things you should do upon receiving a diagnosis is make an appointment with an elder law attorney. An experienced elder law attorney can review any existing estate planning documents to determine their sufficiency in light of your diagnosis, and can assess your ability to sign any new legal documents. If you do not have current estate planning documents, it is extremely important that you consider putting into place such documents as a Power of Attorney, Advance Medical Directive, and Will. Of the three, the Power of Attorney is arguably the most important; in the event that you become unable to manage your financial affairs, you should have an individual or individuals named who can assist you in that regard. There are some powers you may want to specifically list in your Power of Attorney which would allow the person(s) you name as agent to assist you in qualifying for public benefits. Don’t take a gamble by using an online drafting service to create these documents; see an experienced elder law attorney for assistance with this.

Upon receipt of a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, it is also a good idea to consider your wishes for future treatment. In the event you become unable to care for yourself, is someone available to care for you in your home, or would you need to move to an assisted living facility or nursing home? How will you pay for your care? An experienced elder law attorney can help you put a plan into place for where you might receive future care and how you will pay for it. If you may need to qualify for public benefits to help defray the costs of nursing home level care in the future, an elder law attorney can assist you in reviewing your financial situation and making related recommendations. Having a good plan in place may save you a significant amount of money, stretching your savings further and preserving more to pass down to your loved ones at your death.

Individuals recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – and their loved ones – should also consider taking advantage of the numerous resources provided to them by their local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. These resources include support groups, classes, and a wealth of knowledge available both online and in print. You can start by visiting www.alz.org, or by contacting your local chapter. A 24-hour hotline is also available at 1-800-272-3900.

Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, significant progress is being made in Alzheimer’s research to try and prevent, slow, and cure this debilitating disease.


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The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C.

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

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This newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. While every precaution has been taken to make this newsletter accurate, we assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or damages resulting from the use of the information in this newsletter. The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. thanks the law firm of Hook Law Center for their input to this newsletter.

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