It’s healthy to start thinking about what steps to take if you’re diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia that leads to memory loss or death. Common care costs can include diagnosis and follow-up visits, prescription drugs, and, in some cases, full-time residential care.
Veronica Shanklin knows the importance of this all too well. She is the founder of Dementia Care Warriors. About seven years ago, she found out that her grandmother had Alzheimer’s Disease. Shanklin was in her mid-30s and working in Chicago at the time. Her mom was taking care of her grandmother. She decided to move back home to DeSoto, Texas, to help them both out.
“They were pretty cooperative with allowing me to step in and take over finances,” Shanklin remembers. She added her name to accounts. When her grandmother passed away, she still had questions — like, ‘Did she have a will?’
“My grandmother had her affairs pretty much in order,” says Shanklin. “We just didn’t have a conversation about them. So I didn’t know where to find it.”
When Shanklin’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, she was more intentional about planning for the future. She began researching programs for caregivers and their loved ones. She recommends looking for legal aid programs. She found one in Dallas.
“They connected us with an actual elder care attorney who did my mother’s paperwork for free,” she says. “There was a will. There was a power of attorney. There were all the documents that we needed,” says Shanklin.
Shanklin adds that it’s helpful to think about paying for caregiver assistance, adult day care centers, in-home hospice, and respite care. Ask yourself questions, like:
- Does your loved one have a long-term health insurance policy?
- Are siblings, spouse, or children included?
- Are you going to need to pool money to pay for certain costs?
- What health insurance options are available for the caregivers?
Shanklin was able to locate an agency called Senior Source in Dallas. Through a senior companion program, she is able to receive caregiving support four days a week for a few hours a day. The pandemic has led to a lot of shifts in the availability of services. Here is a good resource for getting started on your journey to guarantee a clear outlook about your financial future. It may be stressful at first, but it will be helpful down the line. It could even lead you and your loved one to make some positive changes in the present.
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