Sunday, January 22, 2017

Your Parent has Just Been Diagnosed with Alzheimer's -- What Do You Do Now?

NextGen has a very reassuring and constructive checklist for that very difficult moment when the person who has always seemed to be able to take care of you suddenly needs care because your parent has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It includes the following:

Get professional assistance in coordinating care by finding geriatric care managers and doctors specializing in dementia.

Locate adult day care services (where you take your parent for a period of time) or respite care services (people who come into the home). Investigate the memory care facilities in the area, so you know what is available and what costs are involved if it becomes necessary to move your parent.

Think about your social networks. Are there people, perhaps at your place of worship or in your mom’s friendship circle, who can help with errands, meals, home maintenance tasks and other necessities?

Look for support groups. Caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s is demanding, exhausting and eventually all-consuming. It can be a tremendous benefit to talk with others in the same situation.

At the same time, start gathering your parent’s important documents and data, including things such as:

certificates of birth, marriage and divorce
last will and testament
health care directives
power of attorney papers
veteran’s papers
Social Security number
car title and keys
home deed or mortgage papers
all personal and property insurance policies
pension and/or 401(k) account information;
names of service professionals (banker, lawyer, estate planning attorney, financial adviser, insurance agent, doctors, etc.)
employer documents
Ensure you also know passwords to parent’s computer, cell phone and all online and social media accounts. Keep all these in a secure and centralized location.

And -- collect memories while you can. People with memory loss often hold onto their long-term memories. Ask questions and record the answer.

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