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Making Legal Plans for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s

By Lauren Robison, 9:00 am on

While an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be devastating for seniors as well as family members, proper legal planning can make the transitions ahead easier for everyone. Legal planning should be done while your loved one can still make informed decisions regarding future health care and quality of life.

New Hampshire Alzheimer’s care experts recommend starting legal planning soon after the diagnosis, as this disease will cause seniors to gradually lose their ability to participate in the decision-making process. The following are important areas to discuss and plan with your loved one.

Advanced Directives

Advanced health care directives are a set of documents that state how the person with Alzheimer’s wants to be cared for when he or she is no longer able to make decisions regarding care. There are three aspects to Advanced Directives:

  • A living will is used to record what type of medical care someone wants to receive as they approach the end of their life. It may be used to help someone die with dignity and specify how much discretion is granted to the person’s health care proxy.
  • A durable power of attorney for health care designates someone who will make health care decisions when the person can no longer make them. The proxy may have the power to agree to or refuse treatments, change providers, or decide whether the person will stay at home or in a facility.
  • A Do Not Resuscitate Order is used to instruct health care providers not to perform resuscitation if the person stops breathing or their heart stops.

Getting Help

Legal planning can be confusing, but there are several places you can turn for help. While a physician cannot act as a legal adviser, your loved one’s doctor can help you both better understand what to expect and what should be factored into your plans. An elder law attorney can help your loved one plan how their wishes should be carried out, while a geriatric care manager can help your loved one and the rest of the family coordinate services, choose a New Hampshire home care agency, and make your plans.

Although it’s never an easy discussion to have, having an end-of-life conversation with your loved one regarding their care is essential after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. If your senior loved one wishes to age in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance at (603) 471-3004. We are the leading provider of live-in care in New Hampshire and can offer your loved one the care, support, and safety monitoring necessary to remain in the comfort of home during every stage of the disease.