Do You have a Long Term Care Plan?

long term care plan

Does your Long Term Care Plan include Alzheimer’s or Memory Care?

When setting up a long term care plan, it may be beneficial to consider Alzheimer’s or Memory Care. Planning ahead can help ensure that if or when the time comes, you are prepared. You may not have or get any memory related diseases but it’s a good idea to include them in your long term care plan. In general, planning for Alzheimer’s or Memory Care is like planning for long-term care. Many of the same planning steps will apply, however certain steps take on added importance.

The loss of executive function associated with dementia can create hardships for caregivers in arranging or paying for care. The ability to comprehend finances and care choices is often among the first signs of dementia.

Setting Up A Long Term Care Plan Before Symptoms Occur

To avoid problems in planning, the following steps can be taken before any symptoms of memory loss appear:

  • Complete an Advanced Care Directive

    This will make sure care choices reflect your preferences
  • Assign a Medical Power of Attorney

    This person will make sure decisions can be made for you when you can no longer communicate your wishes
  • Assign a Power of Attorney

    Should you become unable to make decisions for yourself, this person will make financial and estate decisions for you. This will allow the person to pay for care, apply for assistance (i.e. Medicaid, state based programs) or for the ongoing management of an estate.

Setting Up A Long Term Care Plan After Symptoms Occur

Once symptoms appear, dementia and other memory loss can make long-term care planning more complex.

It causes a specific set of challenges that also must be considered when deciding what your next steps will be. These include:

  • Safety Issues - specific to people with Alzheimer’s and other memory loss diseases
  • Caregivers - Working with specially trained caregivers that understand the symptoms of dementia and how to respond effectively
  • Medical Specialists and Products - these may add to the cost of care, especially in regards to drugs specifically tailored to your loved one’s needs
  • Adult Day Services -  may need to consider this to provide socialization and activities in a safe environment. It will provide a break for the caregiver and positive stimulus for your loved one.

Options for Long Term Care: Facility Care

While people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias can stay in their home for some time, most will come to a point where living in a facility becomes a necessity. Options for facility care may include assisted-living communities that specialize in care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

Here are just a few of the possibilities commonly available:

  • Assisted Living Communities with Memory Care Area

    These Memory Care Areas will cater to those who need extra help because of Alzheimer’s or other memory loss.
  • Specialized Alzheimer’s/Memory Care Facilities

    These facilities generally offer support and protection that go beyond that of traditional assisted living communities. They may have specialized, trained staff, secured exits, and enhanced visual cues to help residents feel more at ease in unfamiliar surroundings.
  • Nursing/Rehab Centers

    Centers include all the services of an Assisted Living Community but also have the added service of full-time nursing care, 24-hours a day.

It’s never too early to start your search.

Tour places you think you might want to live in. Do your research now so your loved ones are not left with the decisions later when you are unable to communicate your wishes. Make your long term care plan now.

To find an Assisted Living Community, Alzheimer’s/Memory Care or Nursing/Rehab Care, visit AlternativesforSeniors.com. You can also call (888) WE-ASSIST for personalized help locating a community that is right for you.

For more in-depth information on Alzheimer’s Disease, check out our partner site – Alzheimers.gov. or longtermcare.gov.