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6604281One of the hardest things a family can face is the prospect of losing an elder, even when it happens gradually over a period of months of years, as is usually the case with dementia. But there is hope in the face of uncertainty.

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends that seniors take steps to prepare as soon as possible after a diagnosis is confirmed by a doctor. “There is no time to waste,” AA states on its website, noting that taking the time to put legal and financial documents in place will be a big help down the road.

These documents should include:

  • Financial durable power of attorney (naming a person to take care of your financial matters in the event that you become unable to do so for yourself).
  • Medical durable power of attorney (naming someone to carry out medical decisions in the event that you are unable to do so for yourself).
  • Living Will (Your preferences for critical medical procedures)
  • Will (Identifying beneficiaries of assets in the event of your death).
  • Do not resuscitate (DNR) Order (Telling emergency personnel what to do if your heart and/or lungs stop).

“All of these documents express your wishes,” AA states on the website www.alz.org. “Legal and financial planning takes time and careful consideration. Once you have completed your plan, you can enjoy a feeling of confidence, knowing that you have helped yourself and your family establish a solid foundation for dealing with future medical and/or financial needs.”

Making decisions gradually becomes harder because the disease can block your ability to process information – to remember, organize things, problem solve and even recognize when you are having difficulty making decisions. This is why it is so vital to make the decisions as early as possible in the beginning stages of the disease. AA recommends choosing a person you trust to help with making decisions about handling finances and living arrangements when a change is necessary.

Those with Alzheimer’s should have a candid discussion about the cost of care and establish a plan for caregiving. Many families take on this heavy responsibility, sacrificing their careers and much of their time to make sure an aging parent is okay. Among the alternative options to consider is relocating the senior to a community where he or she can receive comprehensive care for treating the disease.

Regency’s secure memory care area, Pathways Memory Care, offers the finest care from specially trained caregivers who provide a structured routine and a personal program of activities to support each resident. This space includes an enclosed outdoor courtyard. Regency is pleased to be able to offer this solution to Tuscaloosa seniors and their families as they bravely face the challenges of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

For more information on Regency Retirement Village and Pathways Memory Care, call (205) 752-5500. For information and resources from the Alzheimer’s Association Alabama/Florida Panhandle Chapter, visit http://www.alz.org/ALFL/