Speaking Tough: Financial Planning Tips for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease

By word in black

It’s healthy to start thinking about what to do if you’re diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia causing memory loss or death. Routine care costs can include diagnostic and follow-up visits, prescription drugs and, in some cases, full-time residential care.

Veronica Shanklin knows its importance all too well. She is the founder of Dementia Care Warriors. About seven years ago, she discovered that her grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease. Shanklin was in his thirties and working in Chicago at the time. Her mother took care of her grandmother. She decided to return home to DeSoto, Texas to help them both.

“They were cooperative enough to allow me to step in and take care of the finances,” Shanklin recalled. She added her name to the accounts. When her grandmother passed away, she still had questions, like, “Did she make a will?”

“My grandmother had her things pretty much in order,” Shanklin said. “We just haven’t had 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 researching legal aid programs, like the one she found in Dallas.

“They connected us with a real elder care attorney who did my mom’s paperwork for free,” she said. “There was a will. There was a power of attorney. There were all the documents we needed,” Shanklin said.

The Alliance on Aging provides services without income eligibility requirements. Similar organizations like these exist across the country.

Shanklin adds that it’s worth thinking about paying for caregiver assistance, adult daycare, palliative home care and respite care.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your loved one have long-term health insurance?
  • Are siblings, spouses or children included?
  • Will you need to pool money to pay for certain fees?
  • What health insurance options are available for caregivers?

Shanklin was able to locate an agency called Senior Source in Dallas.

Thanks to a support program for the elderly, she can receive care support four days a week for a few hours a day.

It is essential to take advantage of available resources and have a clear vision of your financial future. It can be stressful at first, but it will come in handy later. It might even lead you and your loved one to make some positive changes in the present.

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