How to Help a Senior Parent Dealing with Grief and Alzheimer’s Make Financial Decisions
When a senior parent is dealing with the loss of a spouse and an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it can feel like their entire world is crashing down. In these devastating moments, it’s important for adult children and family members to offer support, in addition to any needed help with difficult financial decisions. Helping a loved one through such an emotionally challenging time isn’t always easy. Adult Care Advisors shares some serious questions you may need answers to.
What Should I Keep in Mind After My Parent is Diagnosed?
It’s true that Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease, but each person’s experience will be different. And, according to HealthMatch, people respond differently as they go through the three stages of this disease. Early on, there will be short-term memory loss and signs of confusion. In the next stage, delusions, obsessive or unbecoming behavior and a lack of hygiene. Eventually, there can be severe disorientation, violent outbursts and severe memory loss. Carefully consider which stage your parent is experiencing to help you determine what comes next.
Should My Parent Move into a Memory Care Facility?
This can be an especially difficult question for the loved ones of recently widowed seniors to answer. In addition to the emotional aspect of such a major transition, families and seniors will also need to think about the costs of memory care. For instance, the average cost for memory care in New Jersey is $5,238 per month. This is not an insignificant sum, but finding the right community should be an important consideration as you weigh the costs. Tour several communities and find out what services are offered; most include meals, medication management, laundry services and pet-friendly accommodations. When considering different communities, connect with an organization like Adult Care Advisors, which can help you connect with top-rated memory care communities.
As you discuss the costs of memory care with your loved one, you will also need to discuss how to handle his/her current home. Timing can be crucial when deciding whether to sell a senior’s home or use it to pay for long-term care, so you may need to consult with a financial advisor or real estate expert before deciding what to do with the family home.
What Additional Financial Steps Should My Parent Take?
Deciding where to live and how to afford it is often the most pressing financial dilemma facing bereaved seniors with Alzheimer’s. Still, there are some other choices you may need to help your senior parent make in order to smooth the road ahead. After an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, seniors and family caregivers will need to go over any future plans to pay for long-term care, healthcare, prescription drug costs, and any legal fees. Legal fees can result from drawing up power of attorney documents and wills, all of which are vital financial steps for Alzheimer’s patients to take as soon as possible.
During this time, it’s also important to research any benefits that can help out with healthcare costs or long-term care expenses, like VA benefits for those who have served in the Armed Forces and surviving spouses of veterans. Since your senior parent is also dealing with the death of a spouse, there are a few estate management steps you both need to prepare for as well. During this emotionally taxing time for both of you, it may be worthwhile to work with a financial advisor to sort out estate plans for the late spouse/parent and the survivor as well.
How Can We Deal With The Emotional Stress of It All?
If you and your senior parent are feeling emotionally raw right now, that’s understandable. After all, losing a spouse is often considered one of the most stressful life transitions anyone can face. So don’t be surprised if your loved one is too overwhelmed to make important financial decisions, or if it takes time to work through financial planning steps. Time and patience are important right now as you and your parent navigates grief and an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. If either of you finds it difficult to discuss or deal with your emotions, whether due to your bereavement or the recent diagnosis, you may want to seek grief counseling to find emotional relief.
Coming to terms with the death of a parent and an Alzheimer’s diagnosis for the surviving parent can feel like too much for one family to bear. Try to remember that this is an emotionally difficult time for everyone involved, but also be sure to leave time for your own self-care. Patience, planning and self-care can make this difficult time a little easier for all.
Photo Credit: Unsplash