It can be difficult for a family to cope after a loved one receives an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. However, understanding what to expect can help you maintain his or her quality of life and prepare for the next phase.
Take these steps if a doctor has diagnosed your spouse, parent or family member with Alzheimer’s disease.
Create a power of attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the power to act on your loved one’s behalf. He or she can choose a family member, trusted friend or attorney to serve as power of attorney. Many people choose to distinguish between financial power of attorney, who handles the person’s financial affairs, and medical power of attorney, who ensures the health care team follows wishes regarding medical care. The provisions of the power of attorney will take effect if your family member can no longer make important decisions, pay bills or otherwise function in these areas.
Plan for long-term care
Many people who have Alzheimer’s disease must eventually receive long-term care, whether at home or in a residential setting. Medicaid will pay for long-term care only if your family member meets the program’s income and asset limits for Pennsylvania. Planning for this eventuality as soon as your loved one receives this type of diagnosis increases the chances of qualifying for Medicaid.
Keeping up with regular medical appointments can help your family member stay healthy. Talk to his or her primary care doctor about recommended specialty appointments and therapies for Alzheimer’s disease. You can also attend a family support group for advice about caring for a loved one who has dementia.