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Help With Parents with Dementia/Alzheimer’s

Dealing with a parent with Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia is a tremendous challenge not only physically and emotionally, but financially and legally as well. At Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., our estate planning/elder care attorneys have an in-depth understanding of what care for such patients involves and are fully prepared to provide you with guidance and practical assistance that will lighten your load. Contact us to discuss the many ways in which we can be helpful.

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is a general term used to describe a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. It encompasses a wide range of symptoms associated with diminished memory and thinking skills. Various diseases and conditions can cause dementia; Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause.

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to waste away (degenerate) and die. It presents as gradual, ongoing losses in cognitive, behavioral, and social skills that disrupt the individual’s ability to function independently. The early signs of the disease include forgetting recent events or conversations. As the disease progresses, a person with Alzheimer’s develops severe memory impairment and loses the ability to perform everyday tasks.

Types of Incapacity To Expect With Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease

Individuals suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s can experience various types of incapacity, including:

  • Cognitive impairment, ranging from mild to severe memory loss that affects language, attention, problem-solving, and judgment.
  • Physical decline, as the disease progresses, leading to difficulty with movement and coordination.
  • Behavioral changes, such as increased agitation, depression, or aggression, can occur, sometimes affecting a major change in personality.

To say that coping with these various types of incapacity is very difficult is a gross understatement. Individuals and families need the help of legal and medical professionals who have dealt with these issues many times before.

How Our Elder Care Attorneys Can Help

At Surprenant & Beneski, we have extensive experience in this area and are ready to take over many of the logistical tasks involved. More than that, we will offer you empathy, compassion, and moral support as we help you by: 

Creating Essential Documents 

Planning ahead is crucial in managing the affairs of someone with dementia since their health will deteriorate further and the time of progression varies. Essential legal documents include:

  • Durable Power of Attorney gives a trusted person the authority to make financial and legal decisions on the patient’s behalf.
  • Health Care Proxy appoints someone to make medical decisions when the individual is unable to do so.
  • Advance Medical Directive (Living Will) provides instructions for the kinds of end-of-life care the patient wants to receive or refuse.
  • HIPAA Release allows designated individuals to access the patient’s medical information.

Our attorneys can assist in drafting, reviewing, and executing these documents, ensuring that you can have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your loved one’s wishes are respected and legally protected. If necessary or desirable, we can also create a guardianship or conservatorship.

Planning for Long-Term Care (MassHealth)

Long-term care planning is vital, considering the high costs of nursing home facilities and home care services. Our attorneys can help you navigate the complexities of MassHealth, the Massachusetts’ Medicaid program, to secure financial assistance for long-term care while preserving your family’s assets. Our strategic approach includes making use of:

  • Irrevocable trusts
  • Life Estate Deeds 
  • Annuities 
  • Spend downs 
  • Gifting

It is necessary to get started well before your relative requires long-term care because MassHealth is a means-tested program and has a 5-year look-back period.

Contact Our Accomplished Elder Care Attorneys Today

Don’t attempt to handle the complicated situation of having a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia without professional advice and guidance. In addition to excellent medical care, you need the legal assistance Surprenant & Beneski can provide. Contact us now so we can help to relieve your stress and map out a workable plan for the future.