Sudden Dementia In The Elderly Can Be Life Threatening
If an elderly loved one is mentally alert one day and confused or delirious the next it may not be Alzheimers Disease. Sudden signs of dementia is one obvious symptom of a considerable number of medical conditions that are potentially life threatening if untreated.
If you notice symptoms of delirium in a loved one develop suddenly, call their doctor immediately, or better yet get them to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room.
I recently went through this with my sharp as a tack mother. After breaking her hip and staying in a skilled nursing facility for several weeks she was severely confused and disoriented upon check out. She knew her name and birthday, but couldnt tell you the name of the street she lived on and was even struggling to come up with the right words and lost her train of thought mid-sentence. Absolutely nothing like her normal state.
At first I thought they may have given her the wrong medication at the skilled nursing facility, but after a call to her insurance company nurse line I took her to the Emergency Room in the middle of the night. They kept her for 6 days treating a urinary tract infection, hypercalcemia and lacunar strokes.
Introduce Familiar Things Such As A Favorite Song Or Blanket
Dementia can thrust older people into the throes of confusion. Moving to a new space as weve established certainly does not help. Once your loved one leaves their home and their way of life as they know it, they could begin getting upset.
Try to keep familiar elements out and visible throughout the moving process so the transition might be more seamless. For example, on the drive over to the seniors new place, you might play their favorite music.
You could have a TV set up in their new room thats playing a classic movie they love. Perhaps you use an air freshener in the car that smells like a scent thats meaningful to them.
You can even give them a comfortable, familiar item like a scarf, a blanket or a plushie, or maybe a photo album they can look through.
These small steps can make a big difference in helping your senior get to their new living quarters with fewer interruptions.
How To Set Up And Register A Lasting Power Of Attorney
You can apply online for both types of LPA or download the forms, along with detailed guidance on how to complete them.
You can get someone else to use the online service or fill in the forms for you, such as a family member, friend or solicitor.
The LPA forms need to be signed by someone, apart from your chosen attorney, to state that you have the mental capacity to make an LPA. The forms also need to be witnessed.
You then need to register each LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian. Either you or your attorney can do this.
Registering the LPAs takes several weeks. You’ll have to pay a fee for each one, which may be reduced if you’re on a low income or receiving certain benefits.
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Save 10% With Coupon Code: Will20
As people live longer lives, they also live healthier ones, for the most part. But with advancing ages comes increased risk of some serious illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease. About half those who live past age 85 will have the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. More than five million Americans currently suffer from dementia, and that number is projected to increase to more than seven million by 2025, unless medical breakthroughs help alleviate the suffering.
People with dementia eventually lose memory, cognitive ability, and language. If you or someone in your family is concerned about the prospect of impairment, you should know that it’s very important to get legal documents in place before dementia makes it impossible for you to understand the issues and make informed decisions. You can’t make a legally valid will, power of attorney, or other legal document unless you are of what’s commonly called sound mindthat is, you must understand your family circumstances, act of your own free will, and understand the consequences of your choices.
Here are the key documents to move forward with.
What If My Father Doesn’t Have Testamentary Capacity
If it is felt that the person making the Will no longer has testamentary capacity because of their dementia then they cannot change or amend their Will. Also, no one can make or change their Will on their behalf, except for the Court of Protection, who may in certain circumstances make a statutory Will. You will need to contact your fathers Solicitor to find out more about this.
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Forgetting This One Thing Can Mean You Have Dementia
Dementia is a much-feared condition associated with aging. But it’s becoming more common, simply because more of us are living longer. According to the World Health Organization, dementia cases are expected to triple from their current rate by the year 2050. Although the disease is progressive and there is currently no cure, treatments are available to slow its progression if at all possible. The key is early detection. In particular, forgetting one thing might mean you’re developing dementia. Read on to find out moreand to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
How Do I Get Power Of Attorney For A Parent With Dementia
When your loved one receives a diagnosis of Alzheimers disease or another type of dementia, your entire family has much to process. In addition to weathering the emotions that naturally follow this diagnosis, families must convene with the diagnosed older adult in order to make plans for their current and future needs.
This can feel overwhelming, especially as you are trying to come to terms with the diagnosis. However, it is crucial that your family uses the early stages of the disease to fully understand the diagnosed older adults wishes and input for moving forward.
Just one thing to consider during your planning is the topic of advance directives, including power of attorney. It is much easier for everyone to be on the same page in regard to power of attorney long before it is necessary because obtaining power of attorney when the older adult in question is already well into the disease process is more time consuming and difficult.
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How Other Health And Care Staff Can Help
All health and care staff should understand how dementia can affect people. They should know how to give you any extra help you or your carer might need.
You and your care coordinator should talk about which health and care staff you would like to know about your diagnosis. This will be set out in your care plan. As things change over time, you and your care coordinator can review your care plan.
What Can Happen If You Do Not Have A Will
Guardianship: You could fall ill and become incapacitated while your spouse has advanced dementia. If you have not executed a Durable General Power of Attorney giving an Agent authority to act for you financially, or a Health Care Power of Attorney giving an Agent authority to make medical decisions, it will be necessary to petition the court for a Guardian. This process can become complicated if your spouse is unable to care for you but battles family members for this right. Family conflict can end in permanent damage to relationships.
Intestacy: If you do not have a Will or estate plan, then, upon your death, your assets will pass under the States plan. The intestacy rules might give all your assets to your incapacitated spouse, who is unable to manage these assets. Or, worse, a spouse who is vulnerable to other peoples deceptions. Also, without a Will, there are no protective trusts to shelter assets for your loved ones. The Intestacy Rules do not take your wishes into consideration. A Will allows you to craft a plan that reflects your real desires.
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Solicitors File Of Papers
The starting position to determine whether a parent suffering from dementia had capacity at the time of making the Will is to request a copy of the solicitors file of papers relating to the drafting of the Will. It is well established law, that a child is entitled to a copy of the file. When reviewing the file it is important to note the instructions given by the parent, the reasons why the Will was drafted and whether the solicitor was put on notice as regards any capacity issues. If a solicitor is on notice that there are issues relating to capacity, it is sensible for that solicitor to have the Will witnessed by a medical expert or a note on the file confirming that a medical practitioner has confirmed that the person had capacity. However, even if this step is not undertaken, it is not indicative that the Will is invalid.
Legal Financial And Health Care Planning Documents
Families beginning the legal planning process should discuss their approach, what they want to happen, and which legal documents theyll need. Depending on the family situation and the applicable state laws, a lawyer may introduce a variety of documents to assist in this process, including documents that communicate:
- Health care wishes of someone who can no longer make health care decisions.
- Financial management and estate plan wishes of someone who can no longer make financial decisions.
Learn how to get your affairs in order.
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The Seven Stages Of Dementia
One of the most difficult things to hear about dementia is that, in most cases, dementia is irreversible and incurable. However, with an early diagnosis and proper care, the progression of some forms of dementia can be managed and slowed down. The cognitive decline that accompanies dementia conditions does not happen all at once – the progression of dementia can be divided into seven distinct, identifiable stages.
Learning about the stages of dementia can help with identifying signs and symptoms early on, as well as assisting sufferers and caretakers in knowing what to expect in further stages. The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can start.
Can A Person With Dementia Change Their Will
With people living longer than ever, the number of elderly being diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimers Disease is on the rise. Many people living with these diseases have already created an estate plan, but what happens if someone wishes to change a will after receiving a diagnosis of dementia? Is he or she allowed to change the will? The experienced estate planning and probate lawyers at TheInheritance Recovery Attorneys understand this difficult topic and are prepared to help you and your loved ones manage this situation. To learn more about your legal options, call or contact the office today for a free consultation of your case.
Can a Will be Changed After Diagnosis?
Whether or not a will can be changed after a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimers Disease is entirely dependent on the specifics of your case. Making a change to a will after diagnosis does not automatically render it invalid. The key question is whether the person with dementia still has thetestamentary capacity to make amendments to the will.
In order to be mentally competent to amend a will after a diagnosis of dementia, the following must be true:
If all aspects of mental competence for making changes are there, a person can amend a will even after being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimers Disease. However, even if there is testamentary capacity, you should still take steps to avoid any accusations of a lack of capacity by heirs during probate.
Steps to Protect Any Changes in an Estate Dispute
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Capacity Requirements For Legal Documents
Mental capacity is a complex concept that is not necessarily black and white, especially when dementia is a factor. A senior with some form of cognitive decline may experience moments of lucidity during which they could be legally competent to sign a document like a will. Furthermore, different levels of mental capacity are required to execute different legal documents and ensure their validity.
Property And Financial Affairs Lpa
A property and financial affairs LPA gives your attorney the power to make decisions about money and property for you, such as:
- managing a bank or building society account
- paying bills
- collecting benefits or a pension
- selling your home
Once the LPA is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, it can be used with your permission, even if you’re still able to deal with these things yourself.
Or it can be held in readiness for when you’re no longer able to make decisions for yourself.
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How Does A Doctor Test For Dementia
There is no single diagnostic test for Alzheimers disease and other causes of dementia. Dementias are diagnosed by evaluating and understanding a persons memory and thinking patterns. Doctors will consider a persons memory, grasp of language, mood states, problem-solving skills, ability to maintain focus and perform complex tasks. Evaluation may include in-office cognitive screening , physical examination, and review of labs. Labwork helps to determine whether there are vitamin deficiencies or hormonal changes at play. In some cases, evaluation may require neuropsychological testing, brain imaging , and genetic testing.
Choose Someone To Have Lasting Power Of Attorney
You can make one or more people an “attorney” to manage your affairs, including your money, property, and medical treatment, if it becomes necessary.
You can choose anyone you trust to be your attorney , but they must be over 18.
Find out more about power of attorney on our page about managing legal affairs for someone with dementia.
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How Long Does It Take A Dementia Patient To Adjust To A Nursing Home
Once you move a senior with dementia to a dementia care community, how long should it take for your senior to adjust to their new facility?
Expect an adjustment period of at least 30 days, but theres no one right answer. According to the Alzheimers Association, upwards of 40 percent of seniors with dementia or Alzheimers may be depressed. Their depression can worsen when in a new environment.
Thus, adjusting can happen in fits and spurts. One day, you might visit your senior parent or loved one and they seem to be doing quite well. The next time you come, theyre very sad or lethargic.
This may continue for a couple of weeks, although new residents usually adjust as they form new relationships and make new friends.
Fortunately, you dont have to sit idly by while your senior gets used to their new surroundings. You can and should set up their new apartment or living arrangement as close as possible to the one back in their own home. Bring in familiar things such as photos and décor to help decrease transfer trauma.
Stage : Moderately Severe Dementia
When the patient begins to forget the names of their children, spouse, or primary caregivers, they are most likely entering stage 6 of dementia and will need full time care. In the sixth stage, patients are generally unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and have skewed memories of their personal past. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for:
- Delusional behavior
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What Kind Of Doctor Tests For Dementia
A primary care doctor can perform a physical exam and find out more about your symptoms to determine what may be the cause. They will likely refer you to one or several specialists that can perform specific tests to diagnose dementia. Specialists may include neurologists, who specialize in the brain and nervous system psychiatrists or psychologists, who specialize in mental health, mental functions, and memory or geriatricians, who specialize in healthcare for older adults.
Do Offer Assurance Often
Many times, people with dementia may experience feelings of isolation, fear, loneliness or confusion. They may not be able to express this in the right way and thus may wander off or keep saying that they want to go back home, especially if they are in a senior living facility. This is not the time to shut them out. Its a good idea to assure them that they are safe and in a good place.
If you are close enough, provide a comforting hug every once in a while and remind them that they are in a place that has their best interest at heart. Where possible, engage in exercise or take a walk as even light physical activity may help to reduce agitation, restlessness and anxiety.
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Legal Competency: When Is It Too Late To Create A Will Trust Or Poa
As an elder law attorney, I frequently advise adult children who suddenly realize that they must step in to help their aging parents. Perhaps Dad has fallen behind on his bills, or Mom is not making sound decisions when it comes to her medical care. Regardless of the reason, this transition of control over a loved ones very personal affairs can be challenging.
Unfortunately, many seniors are reluctant to plan for this possibility or even discuss it with their close family members. For example, creating a power of attorney document, which gives a trusted individual known as the agent the ability to make legal decisions on ones behalf, is frequently seen as a direct loss of independence. Combine an aging parents refusal to discuss estate planning with an adult childs reluctance to broach the subject out of fear that it may result in anger or offense, and you have a recipe for procrastination.
When families delay discussing these matters, the results can be stressful and costly. Failing to preplan can have serious consequences both while an elder is still alive and after they have died. Unfortunately, once a family realizes they urgently need legal documents to help an aging loved one with cognitive issues manage their affairs and ensure their wishes are respected, its often too late. In many cases, an attorney must decide if a senior is deemed competent and legally able to create a will, trust or power of attorney.