As elder law attorneys, we have a finger on the pulse of matters that are going to be of interest to senior citizens. One of the most pressing factors that we see day after day is the impact of Alzheimer’s disease. Everyone should have a thorough understanding of its reach along with the legal and financial implications.
Aging of the Population
During the period between 1943 and 1964, unprecedented numbers of infants were born. This has been dubbed the “baby boom,” and if you take a moment to do the math, you can see that these folks are becoming senior citizens. As a result, the older population is growing rapidly.
Over the years, medical science has advanced exponentially, and this has extended life expectancies for seniors. Statistically speaking, if you live old enough to collect your full Social Security benefit, your life expectancy is between 85 and 87 years depending on your gender.
It can definitely be difficult to imagine yourself living life as an octogenarian. However, when you digest these facts, you should have this expectation if you intend to live into your mid-80s.
Alzheimer’s Induced Dementia
The Alzheimer’s Association is an extraordinary resource for families that have been touched by this horrible disease. They have established local chapters all around the country, and they operate a 24/7 helpline, so they provide hands-on assistance. Plus, if you want to learn about the disease, there is a treasure trove of information on their website.
Everyone is well aware of the existence of Alzheimer’s, but its widespread nature is surprising to many that look into the subject for the first time. One out of every 10 people that are at least 65 have Alzheimer’s, and the percentage swells to 32 percent among people that are 85 years of age and older.
Clearly, this is a looming threat that everyone should take quite seriously. In addition to the personal impact on a human level, there are other considerations that enter the picture.
When you are devising an estate plan, you should include an incapacity planning component to address this eventuality.
If you ever become unable to handle your own affairs, the state could appoint a guardian to act on your behalf. Most people would prefer to make these decisions on their own when they are still fully capable of reasoning effectively.
You can do this quite simply if you use a living trust as the centerpiece of your estate plan. As the grantor of the trust, you would act as the trustee while you are alive and well. In the trust declaration, you can name a disability trustee to step in to assume the role in the event of your incapacity.
Durable powers of attorney should also be part of the plan. With these documents, you name agents to make health care and financial decisions on your behalf if it ever becomes necessary. On the financial front, the power of attorney would apply to assets that are not in your living trust.
A living will would be added to state your preferences regarding the utilization of life-sustaining measures if you were ever in a terminal condition and unable to communicate. You would want to add a HIPAA release to give your health care agent (and anyone else that you choose) the power to review your medical records.
Nursing Home Care
As you might imagine, many people with Alzheimer’s disease ultimately require a level of care that can only be provided by a nursing home. These facilities are extremely expensive, and Medicare will not help with the bills at all.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to be in a position to get the care that you need without losing everything in the process if you discuss your options with an attorney from our firm.
Take Action Right Now!
You should certainly address the eventualities of aging when you are devising a plan for the future. We are here to help if you are ready to make the ideal connection, and you can schedule a consultation appointment right now if you call us at 585-374-5210.
There is also a contact form on this website that you can use if you would prefer to send us a message.