How To Handle Finances When Your Parent Has Dementia

How to Handle Finances When Your Parent Has Dementia

With the holidays right around the corner, it’s a good time to speak with your parents about tough topics like end of life plans. If your loved one is exhibiting dementia symptoms, it is crucial to speak with them as soon as possible about their wishes. Take time this holiday season to catch up on not only life events, but also future goals and plans.

Updated on Nov 06 2019


Financially planning for parents with dementia

With the holidays right around the corner, it’s a good time to speak with your parents about tough topics like end of life plans. If your loved one is exhibiting dementia symptoms, it is crucial to speak with them as soon as possible about their wishes. Take time this holiday season to catch up on not only life events, but also future goals and plans.

More than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease and there are over 15 million Americans providing unpaid care to a person living with Alzheimer’s or a related form of dementia. This is a financial burden on those suffering and the caretakers. In order to alleviate some of the stress, financial planning is critical. Here are some ways to speak with your family about dementia and how financial matters should be handled.

Ian Kremer, Executive Director of the Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s Disease (LEAD) Coalition, says that:

“Diagnosing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia always should be left to professionals, so it’s best to consult your primary care provider with questions or concerns. If you do receive a diagnosis, be sure to ask your doctor to provide an actionable set of next steps that help you take an active role in getting needed family and community support. That means making informed and supportive decisions about medical, legal, financial, and care issues, but it also means getting the education and emotional or spiritual support to live life as fully as possible for as long as possible.”

Kremer also gives a list of 10 ways to communicate with your loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease:

  1. Never argue, instead agree.
  2. Never reason, instead divert.
  3. Never shame, instead direct.
  4. Never lecture, instead reassure.
  5. Never say, “remember,” instead reminisce.
  6. Never say, “I told you,” instead repeat.
  7. Never say, “you can’t,” instead say what they can do.
  8. Never demand, instead ask.
  9. Never condescend, instead encourage.
  10. Never force, instead reinforce.

But before you get to the point where your loved one has started to rapidly decline, you must determine the best course of action to handle their finances. Will you handle it yourself or will you go through a financial advisor?

The Alzheimer’s Association advises proactive steps for financial matters. Proactive planning includes:

  1. Preparing for long-term care and health care needs.
  2. Making arrangements for finances and property.
  3. Naming another person to make decisions on behalf of the person with dementia.

Conversations need to be had between doctors, lawyers, and financial advisors. Taking on caretaking duties and a power of attorney role is a large undertaking and should be treated as such. The Alzheimer’s Association has great resources to help you get started.

Dealing with end-of-life issues like Alzheimer’s is overwhelming and painful, but some stress may be alleviated with proactive planning. Take these steps while you’re still able to effectively communicate with your loved one.

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