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Legal Documents that the Caregiver Needs : Caring for Parents with Dementia

If your spouse, parent, or another relative suffering from a form of dementia already? You need to complete some necessary paperwork. My mom was a nurse and was aware that she had dementia. So when the disease progressed, I was glad to find out that she had already completed the paperwork for handling her affairs before her dementia progressed too far.

A person who has dementia needs someone who can make significant financial and medical decisions on his or her behalf. It’s crucial to assign this task while the person with dementia still has the mental strength, and legal capacity, to be involved in making a choice.

Be careful if your parent, spouse or close friend waits to long to complete the paperwork because If they do your loved ones dementia may have progressed too far for him or her to turn over power to a trustworthy person.

Laws for completing this paperwork vary by state, and mistakes can be costly, it would be great to draft these documents with the assistance of a local certified elder care attorney who understands the laws and regulations of the state where your loved one lives. Go to NAELA ( or the National Elder Law Foundation ( for more information.

Some essential documents you need are:

Power of attorney - Allows a person affected by dementia to name another individual, most likely a trusted spouse, domestic partner, family member or friend, to make both financial and other necessary decisions when the individual with dementia is no longer able too.

Power of attorney for health care - allows a person affected by dementia to name a health care advocate to make health care decisions when he or she is no longer able too. This is also called an "advance directive." such as ensuring that nutrition is provided via a feeding tube or providing do-not-resuscitate (DNR) instructions to health care providers.

Living will - Also called an advance directive for health care a living will let your loved one wishes for the medical treatment that he or she wants or doesn’t want near the end of life. It’s crucial that this is updated.

Living trust - Another way for the person to give instructions for how his or her estate should be managed upon his or her death.

When the time comes, decisions can be difficult for families to make. Avoid disagreements and distress by getting together to have open and candid conversations early on, so everyone is aware of your loved ones end-of-life desires plans in place.

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