What Should I Do with an Alzheimer's Diagnosis?

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September 6, 2023 •  The Estate & Elder Law Center of Southside Virginia, PLLC
Almost half a million new cases of Alzheimer's disease will be diagnosed this year in the United States, according to the BrightFocus Foundation. Worldwide, someone develops some form of dementia every three seconds.
Robert W. Haley, managing lawyer
Robert W. Haley
Certified Elder Law Attorney® Robert W. Haley brings over 27 years of legal expertise and knowledge to his firm, which concentrates solely on the areas of elder law, estate planning (Last Will & Testaments, Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Trusts, etc.,.) Asset Protection/Medicaid Planning and fiduciary services. For many years, Robert practiced in real estate law, and in general practice, but decided to narrow his focus to elder law and estate planning when he realized the tremendous need for proper planning to be filled in Southside Virginia.

Dementia and Alzheimer's diagnoses overturn the lives of millions of patients and their families, throwing them into a maze of health care concerns, legal matters, work issues, financial strain, housing changes and caregiver support. Even the sharpest minds can be daunted over where to begin, says Next Avenue’s recent article entitled “Alone with Alzheimer's.” The following steps are encouraged for people newly diagnosed with some form of dementia.

Stop and Think

A professional confirmation that your brain function is impaired can trigger emotions ranging from disbelief to relief. After learning they may face an inevitable cognitive decline over time due to an Alzheimer's diagnosis, many people rush to make decisions. However, a meeting with an experienced Lynchburg elder law attorney like Robert W. Haley is a critical step.

Educate Yourself About Alzheimer's Diagnosis

One of the first calls for help may be to the Alzheimer's Association, which has comprehensive resources on its website and through its care coordinator on its toll-free helpline (1-800-272-3900). Both are available 24/7 to offer information, such as medical definitions, the latest research findings and a directory of professionals and support options related to Alzheimer's diagnosis.

Inform Your Family and Friends

Tell the people closest to you know about your Alzheimer's diagnosis. This can be difficult and emotional. In addition to turning your life upside down, these illnesses impact the futures of people close to you. However, it’s important to clearly state your wishes and needs on matters, such as planning your care, choosing where to live if you eventually must move and how to communicate updates with family members.

Form a Care Team

A care team is a group of people who can provide support throughout the progression of a specific illness, especially after an Alzheimer's diagnosis. "One of the most important things to do following a diagnosis is to sit down and think about who your support systems are going to be," said Beth Kallmyer, vice president for care and support at the Alzheimer's Association.

Other members of a care team may include health care providers, therapists and legal and financial professionals. Surround yourself with friends and family members who are unafraid to discuss your Alzheimer's diagnosis and have a consistently positive attitude. Read more about considering your elder care options in our article, What Are My Elder Care Options and How Do I Afford Them?

You will need an experienced Lynchburg elder law attorney to help you with this after an Alzheimer's diagnosis, which can include filing for Social Security disability benefits, as well as drafting important estate planning documents, such as power of attorney, a health care directive and a will. Remember you are not alone with this diagnosis. Our elder law team at The Estate & Elder Law Center of Southside Virginia is here to help guide you through this journey. Schedule a free call with our team today to discuss how we can help.

Reference: Next Avenue (Sep. 16, 2022) “Alone with Alzheimer's”

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