Frank McCarthy's Blog, Visiting Angels, Kilmarnock, VA

Financial & Legal Planning for Seniors with Dementia

It is important for seniors – along with their families – to get organized before dementia symptoms advance

A dementia or Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis often comes as a shock for families. This type of diagnosis identifies a major change in your loved one’s health. They may begin to require daily living assistance or around-the-clock home care. Suddenly, planning for their future – and your own – is very much influenced by this disease.

For seniors, thinking about and planning for the future can be unpleasant. It can be hard as grown children to talk to Mom or Dad about their financial, legal, and healthcare future. However challenging it may seem, it is essential that your family work together with your senior loved one to make decisions about the care, security, and comfort of your loved one.

Talk Early and Often

As your loved one’s dementia or Alzheimer’s disease progresses, you will not want to have to worry about finances, who should be making care decisions, or searching for legal documents. Have conversations with your parent, your family, and any professional advisers while Mom or Dad is still able to participate.

Your loved one likely has preferences about their care – present and future – and it is important that your family discusses your options. Identify who is responsible for making care decisions once your loved one is no longer able to do so. There may be a need to designate a Power of Attorney (POA) which will involve legal counsel.

Getting the essential practical matters sorted out early on will allow your family to focus on spending quality time with one another without stress or fear of the future.


Organize Important Documents

It is common for families to enlist the services of a lawyer or estate planner when making financial and legal plans for senior loved ones. Consulting a professional may help your family get these documents together:

  • Documents that communicate the healthcare wishes of someone who can no longer make these decisions on their own. These documents may include a living will, durable power of attorney, a DNR order, and organ/tissue donation preferences
  • Documents that communicate financial management and estate plane wishes of someone who can no longer make these decisions on their own. These documents may include a will, power of attorney for finances, and a living trust. [Source]

There are a few documents your family can gather independently. These are helpful to have on-hand in case of emergency. Here are a few documents to consider keeping in an easy to grab folder:

  • Insurance information
  • A list of current medications and a current physical
  • Birth Certificate and marriage and/or divorce papers
  • Social Security card

Having all personal information in an easy-to-access spot will make legal and financial planning less of a hassle.


Know Your Options for Long Term Care

A final – and essential – piece of your loved one’s legal and financial planning is their long term care plan. For seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and other forms of dementia, it is likely that they will require some form of care for the rest of their life.

There are many types of memory care available and it is your family’s responsibility to find the best one for your loved one’s needs. Visiting Angels provides one-on-one home care services for seniors with a variety of non-medical needs. This can include companionship, conversation, light housekeeping, meal preparation, medication reminders, transportation, and more.

Visiting Angels dementia care services are customized to meet the unique needs of seniors with moderate to advanced memory illnesses. If your loved one is in the early-stages of Alzheimer’s, a few hours of care each week may be enough. As their needs progress, we can provide full-time or 24 hour care.

Your parent may not always recognize their Visiting Angels caregiver, but their caregiver will know from experience the best way to care for, communicate with, and comfort your loved one. That’s part of what makes Visiting Angels different from assisted living or memory care facilities – our commitment to personalized care.


If you would like to learn more about Visiting Angels and the home care services we provide for families in Northern Neck-Middle Peninsula and throughout the Midbay region of Virginia, please call our office today. We’re happy to help!

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.