It is no secret that Alzheimer’s is a cruel, life-changing diagnosis. The key to remember is that you are not alone. Not only should you easily find comfort and support from your loved ones every step of the way, but there are a variety of benefits, services, and estate planning strategies designed to make your unchosen journey a bit more manageable.
But that doesn’t mean you won’t have questions along the way. In my book, You’re not Alone: Living with Alzheimer’s Disease, I include answers to a few benefits and services FAQs for those living with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Living with Alzheimer’s Disease FAQ
Q: What services are offered by the State Aging Service?
A: In most cases, the State Aging Services provide home and community-based services that are person-centered and designed to address the needs of people with functional limitations who need assistance with everyday activities like getting dressed or bathing. They generally fall into two categories: health services and human services. Health services meet medical needs, such as home health, case management, personal care, disease prevention, and hospice care. Human services include senior centers, adult day care, transportation, chore services, etc. These services are great because they allow people to stay in their homes rather than be forced to move from facility to facility for specific care needs.
Q: Can I receive financial assistance from Veterans Administration?
A: Military veterans may be eligible for a broad range of programs and services provided by the V.A. Eligibility is based upon discharge from active military service other than dishonorable conditions. These programs and services include health care, Veterans’ compensation, pension, survivor benefits, rehabilitation and employment assistance, etc. Burial and memorial benefits are also available for eligible service members and include internment, headstones and markers, and Presidential memorial certificates. The VA operates 128 national cemeteries in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, together with oversight and management of 33 soldiers’ lots, confederate cemeteries, and monument sites.
Q: Does Medicaid help pay for long-term care?
A: We wrote a blog post recently about Medicaid that you should check out because there are many nuances to consider depending on your specific situation. Care typically considered long-term includes nursing facilities, assisted living care, non-skilled personal care needed in the home, adult day care, transportation, home-delivered meals, and case management. Rather than looking to Medicare for these services, the elder might be directed to the state or county aging services provider or to private providers of the specific kinds of care and assistance needed.
Q: How can an Aging Life Care and Geriatric Care Manager help?
A: These are a valuable resource for an aging adult and the family of an aging or disabled adult, including those with Alzheimer’s. Their services are based on that individual’s wants and needs. They support the client’s family by reducing stress and preventing time off work for family caregivers by providing assessment and monitoring, education and advocacy, and coaching and support for clients with chronic care needs such as dementia. Aging Life Care professionals can facilitate communication between the doctor, client, and family. Most are available 24/7.
Q: Do I need a financial power of attorney if my spouse and I own everything together?
A: Yes. That is because many financial transactions dealing with jointly-owned assets cannot be completed without the signature of both owners—even if the joint owners are husband and wife. Examples include jointly-owned real estate, vehicles, and investments. A properly executed POA allows the agent to handle affairs on behalf of the other spouse.
Q: Do I need a living will if I have a health care power of attorney.
A: Yes. Any document that expresses the “end of life” wishes of the patient may become a living will if it is properly witnessed. Some states combine a health care power of attorney with living wills, so you may already have it. In Texas it is called a Directive to Physicians.
Q: What services are available to help prevent placement in a nursing facility?
A: There are many home and community-based services available to provide for the elderly who are no longer able to live without assistance and for those with Alzheimer’s. Two programs, in particular, are the Medicaid Aging Waiver and PACE. If the person who qualifies for nursing facility care is also financially eligible, Medicaid benefits that would otherwise be used to pay for nursing home care can be used to pay for home and community-based care instead. PACE (Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly) provide comprehensive medical and social services to certain frail, community-dwelling individuals, most of whom are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid benefits. They provide coordinated care to enable a patient to remain in the community rather than receive care in a nursing home. Services include primary and specialty physician care, adult day care, dentistry, emergency services, hospital care, home care, meals, and more.
Q: What is a multidisciplinary geriatric assessment team?
A: This is a group of health care professionals working together to diagnose the underlying cause of dementia and to develop treatment options and long-term care guidance for the patient and their family. The team consists of geriatricians, neurologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, and social workers.
Call Leigh Hilton PLLC today!
At Leigh Hilton PLLC in Denton, we have sat in awe of clients who manage to juggle so much for themselves and loved ones with Alzheimer’s. Our goal was to build a practice with a team of professionals who work together to have your back at all times, whether that means putting steps in place to protect you and your loved ones or offering practical advice.
Leigh Hilton PLLC wants to be your first call every time so that you feel empowered and can confidently embrace your estate planning strategy, even in the face of a devastating disease such as Alzheimer’s.
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