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Plan Ahead for Legal, Financial, and Medical Needs Before an Emergency

by National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health

No one ever plans to be sick or disabled. But being prepared for all kinds of health situations can make all the difference in an emergency.

Here’s what you can do now to be ready:

  • Tell a trusted family member, friend, or lawyer where you put all your important papers.
  • Give consent in advance for your doctor or lawyer to talk with your caregiver as needed. There may be questions about your care, a bill, or a health insurance claim. Without your consent, your caregiver may not be able to get needed information. You can give your okay in advance to Medicare, a credit card company, your bank, or your doctor. You may need to sign and return a form.

There are many different types of legal documents that can help you plan how your affairs will be handled in the future. Many of these documents have names that sound alike, so make sure you are getting the documents you want. Also, state laws do vary, so find out about the rules, requirements, and forms used in your State.

Legal and financial planning for people with Alzheimer’s disease

Update financial and health care arrangements as soon as possible when someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another serious illness expected to cause declining mental and physical health.

With diseases such as Alzheimer’s, the person may lack or gradually lose the ability to think clearly. This change affects his or her ability to participate meaningfully in decision making and makes early legal and financial planning even more important.

Although difficult questions often arise, advance planning can help people with Alzheimer’s and their families clarify their wishes and make well-informed decisions about health care and financial arrangements.