photo Courtesy of morguefile
This is what to do after you have had that all important conversation with your loved one. Once a primary caregiver has been named then it is time to start getting things in order. If that primary caregiver is you then here is a list of things you will need to know immediately.
Meet with the doctor. A good relationship with their Dr. is paramount. This will be your care partner. Find a Dr. who is familiar with Alzheimer's Disease and its effect on not only the patient, but the whole family. You will be your loved ones advocate, you will need to speak up for them when need be and fight if you have to.
The most important thing on the list is to get a POA. A POWER OF ATTORNEY is a legal document that allows someone else to act on your behalf. I cannot stress how crucial this piece of paper is. Get it early, before there is a mental deficiency. Without a POA, a DR or insurance company cannot even discuss your loved one's medical problems with you. This paper lets them know that you are speaking for them and that you are responsible for their care. If you fail to get this legal document before it is needed it could cost you thousands of dollars later and you will probably have to go to court. If you wait it will then be up to a judge whether or not you will be your parents guardian. A POA costs roughly300 a guardianship costs about3000 and could take weeks during a medical emergency!
You will need physical and emotional support as this disease progresses. Figure out who will provide both.
Have a family meeting, discuss what is expected of each member of the family. Whether it's a weekly phone call, filing paperwork or just taking your loved one for a weekend of respite. Every family member has some responsibility in the care of a loved one. Some will be on board, others will not. Find out what works best. You may need to use a professional caregiving service. Plan ahead and research those companies now. I suggest getting in contact with your state's Aging and Disability Resource Center and the Alzheimer's Association.
Make yourself knowledgeable about your loved ones health insurance. Make yourself familiar with coverage, networks and renewals. How it works and what isn't covered. Important dates like Medicare open enrollment, etc.
This is just a broad list of things to do and getting them taken care of earlier rather than later will only be a benefit both of you in the long run. Believe me, there will be plenty to do later.
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