Q: What are my next steps, from a legal perspective, once there is a diagnosis of dementia?
A: The first thing to do is to schedule an appointment with an elder law attorney. Most likely that attorney will provide you a questionnaire that you fill out which answers questions about you, your family, and your finances. A meeting will then be scheduled and the attorney will likely help you work through making decisions about who will assist you with your healthcare decisions and your finances as your disease progresses. Once those decisions are made legal documents called a Power of Attorney and an Appointment of a Healthcare Representative will be prepared and signed.
The attorney will also want to have a discussion about what options for care exist if needed in the future. There are care options ranging from in-home care to assisted living to memory care in a long-term care setting. A plan can then be drawn up as to how to plan to pay for that care. It may be through the use of your own funds, the Veterans Aid and Attendance Program, or Medicaid. Many wonderful programs exist to assist individuals with the care that may be needed.