When you or a loved one experience troublesome cognitive symptoms, an early, accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia will allow you time to make decisions regarding your own future and to make your wishes known. If you are newly diagnosed with dementia, take these steps to secure your future and to help your loved-ones care for you.
- Advance Directives – A Living Will is a legal, written statement of your wishes regarding medical treatment. The directives are prepared to ensure those wishes are known and honored in the event you become unable to communicate them to a doctor.
- Finances – Make sure the person you designate to handle financial matters has access to your checking, savings, investments and other accounts.
- Social Security – Designate a representative payee, and If under 65, apply for Social Security Disability.
- Bills – Make a list of all bills that need to be paid as long as you remain at home, such as electric, mortgage, phone, sewer/water and at-home personal care.
- Property – locate and secure any real estate deeds or documents for important and valuable property and make them available to your designee.
- Important Documents – Gather any insurance policies, such as house, car, medical, life, and VA or disability documentation, as well as tax documents and birth and marriage certificates.
- Will – Contact an attorney for assistance in drafting a Last Will and Testament and to name an executer of your estate. If you already have a will, make sure it is signed, current and valid in the state where you reside.
- Safety Deposit Box – Find the keys to and designate a co-signer for access to your bank safety deposit box. If you have a personal security box or safe, locate key and/or give the combination to your designee.
- Medical History – Gather as much of your medical history as is available, along with medication names and dosages.
- Driving – Consult physician and ask for your loved-ones’ advice to determine when it is no longer safe for you to operate a motor vehicle. Locate friends, family and community resources to help with needed transportation.
- End-of-Life Arrangements – Do you have any arrangements for a cemetery plot or funeral? If none have been made, make your wishes known to your loved ones regarding burial or cremation.
Putting your affairs in order and making your wishes known will go far in relieving stress and worry – for both you and your loved ones.
Covenant Care has been providing support for patients, caregivers and families living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia for more than 20 years. To learn more, visit online: choosecovenant.org.