Use these tips to help you keep your loved ones safe as you manage the financial aspects of caregiving.
IT CAN BE ENORMOUSLY CHALLENGING—both financially and emotionally—to care for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Your advisor can assist you in developing a plan that helps you manage the extra financial costs involved. But keeping your loved one safe at home often falls on you alone. Cynthia Hutchins, director of Financial Gerontology at Bank of America, recommends taking the following simple steps to care for your family member, even as you grapple with the financial challenges of caregiving. For information about planning ahead to cover the costs of a long-term illness for yourself or a family member, read “Will You Be Prepared to Cover the Costs of Long-Term Care?”
“These simple steps can help you keep your loved ones safe, as you grapple with the larger financial and emotional issues of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia,” says Cynthia Hutchins, director of Financial Gerontology at Bank of America.
These include an advance medical directive, which describes your loved one’s treatment preferences, a durable power of attorney, which specifies who is allowed to make medical decisions for the patient, and an updated will. Talk to your advisor about other documents that might help, plus steps you might take to protect your assets in the future.
Consider installing smoke detectors with flashing lights to help alert loved ones who may have impaired hearing. Find out about the cost of making other structural changes that could increase safety.
This will inform a medical professional about any specialized needs your loved one might have in case she wanders off.
Install childproof locks on medicine and liquor cabinets, on kitchen cabinets containing cleaning supplies and on drawers containing knives, scissors or matches.
Remove scatter rugs, exposed extension cords and clutter. Install grab bars in bathrooms and increase lighting in stairwells, entries and halls. Use night lights where needed.
Turn down the thermostat on your water heater to prevent scalding from hot water.
Create and post a list of phone numbers for fire, poison control, your hospital and a designated friend who’s willing to help.
This material should be regarded as general information on health-care considerations and is not intended to provide specific health-care advice.
This article does not constitute legal, accounting or other professional advice. Although it is intended to be accurate, neither the author nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage due to reliance on this material.