Moving to a senior living community is an exciting time. While visions of your new maintenance-free home, on-site restaurants, a booming social life, transportation services – and the peace of mind of in-house care and assistance – dance in your head, it’s important to dot your legal i’s and cross your future self’s t’s.
Financial & Legal Considerations
A dementia diagnosis is life-changing, and most people experience a period of grief and uncertainty as they try to come to terms with it. While devastating, an early diagnosis can be a blessing in disguise for people who do not have up-to-date documentation regarding their legal, financial and healthcare matters.
Does the thought of your loved one running out of money keep you up at night? Are you wondering how you’re going to pay for their long-term care? Is it possible your loved one’s financial, legal and healthcare wishes won’t be honored if something were to happen to them? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, an estate plan can provide the peace of mind you seek.
When it’s time to begin retirement planning, many seniors get overwhelmed. How much will retirement cost? Will I be able to afford it? What if I can’t live the lifestyle I want? There are so many questions that go through their minds, and it can often be remedied by planning far ahead in the future. “Truth be told, it’s never too early to start planning for retirement,” says Kelly Carroll, Director of Community Relations at YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens, offering Independent Living with Supportive Services, Assisted Living and Memory Care in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
From the time we’re young, we’re told it’s best to plan for a secure future today. What many of us don’t think about, however, is how we want to be cared for in the future. If something were to happen to you today, do your loved ones know how you’d like to be cared for? As seniors age, it becomes more important to have a secure plan set in place. This can be accomplished with both POLST forms and Living Wills.
As seniors age, it becomes more important to ensure they are retirement-ready. Whether that includes planning for future care or making sure they are financially able to take care of impending health needs, it’s never too soon or too late to start. “It’s crucial to formulate a retirement plan for a number of reasons,” says Jimmie Fay Griffin, Executive Director at YourLife™ of Tallahassee, a Memory Care Assisted Living community in Tallahassee, Florida. “The future is unpredictable as is health.
Your parent may need to make major decisions regarding finances, medical care, and power of attorney as they age. This is so they can officially state what they want and how they want their affairs to be taken care of as they age. However, the legality of these documents can be called into question and challenged if one party believes they didn’t have the capacity to make these decisions. Having a letter of competency to accompany other important documents can help.
As your loved one’s dementia advances, legal issues concerning their competency, safety, finances and general best interests can arise. “When someone with dementia has their wishes legally documented and has chosen a trusted power of attorney who will serve their best interests, families can avoid a lot of sticky legal situations,” says Suzy McCann, Community Relations Director of YourLife™ of Pensacola, a Memory Care community in Pensacola, Florida.
Knowing when – and how – to manage a parent’s finances is a tricky business for many reasons: people with memory loss may resent the implication – regardless of its validity – that they are incapable of handling their affairs; they are embarrassed by or grieving the loss of their independence; they don’t trust someone else with their personal information, perhaps to the point of paranoia; other parties may accuse a family caregiver of taking advantage of