Alzheimer’s Disease and Planning for Long-Term Care

It’s estimated that more than 50 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. June is National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, a time to show support for those struggling with this relentless disease. It’s also a good time to think about planning for the possibility of needing long-term care.

Alzheimer Long term care

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that leads to memory loss and behavioral problems. It is the most common form of dementia, accounting for between 60 and 80 percent of all cases. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, numerous clinical trials and research studies are exploring ways to diagnose, treat, and manage it. Some medications have shown promise in lessening or delaying the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, various strategies and tools have been developed to improve the comfort and quality of life of people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Hopefully, medical science will soon discover more effective treatments, and ultimately, a cure.  

While science cannot prevent Alzheimer’s disease, elder law and estate planning can allow you to prepare for the possibility of being incapacitated by it.

Protecting Family Assets While Providing Alzheimer’s Care

Proper planning can protect family assets against the high cost of long-term care. Given that the symptoms of Alzheimer’s worsen over time, many families find that they can no longer care for their loved one themselves and are forced to seek nursing home care. In the District of Columbia, the median annual cost of a private room in a nursing home exceeded $116,000 in 2018. On average, a person with Alzheimer’s lives four to eight years after their diagnosis, but some people can live as long as 20 years. Obviously, very few families can afford this.  

Fortunately, a qualified estate planning attorney can use a variety of tools to plan in advance for the possibility of needing long-term care in the future. An experienced attorney can also help a person with Alzheimer’s become eligible for assistance from Medicaid to pay for nursing home care. This allows the family to protect assets for the benefit of the spouse and future generations while at the same time ensuring the person with Alzheimer’s receives the care he or she needs.

Medical and Financial Power of Attorney

Another benefit of proper planning is to make sure a person of your choosing has the authority to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated by Alzheimer’s disease. Without your own plan, someone will petition the court to gain control over your assets and medical care. This could well be a person you would never have wanted to make important decisions like these for you. As a result, you may not receive the level of medical care you would have wanted. Conversely, you could be subjected to medical procedures you would not have wanted to keep you alive in an end-of-life situation. In addition, financial decisions might be made about the management of your assets that you would never have taken on your own. However, with an estate plan that includes a Medical Power of Attorney, a Financial Power of Attorney, and a Living Will, you can choose people you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and stipulate precisely what medical treatments you do and do not want in an end-of-life situation.  

Elder Law Attorneys Who Handle Long-Term Care Planning

If you or someone you love is coping with Alzheimer’s disease, it can be a very challenging and emotional time. But keep in mind that elder law and estate planning allows you to better prepare for these challenges and ensure the proper medical care needed.

That can include Pre-planning, which is for people who are currently healthy but want to ensure they’re prepared for the costs needed to maintain long-term care if they do become incapacitated. The Elder Law attorneys with The Law Offices of Clifford M. Cohen can give you proper guidance on this difficult issue. We are dedicated to helping families in our community who struggle with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease and want to prepare for the possibility of needing long-term care. You are invited to contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss your particular needs and goals.

We create genuine relationships with every concerned individual who welcomes our services to ensure that their best interests and loved ones are protected. Allow us to do the same for you. Contact us today at 202-895-2799 for a free case evaluation.