Paying for Care
Tax Deductions and Credits
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Evaluating a person's ability to make decisions and manage daily activities is an important task and requires ongoing monitoring. Most importantly, there needs to be respect for a person's involvement in their own life and the ability to make decisions.
The following principles should be considered to protect an individual's autonomy:
- A diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or other dementia alone does not necessarily indicate that an individual is incompetent.
- Competent people have a moral and legal right to reject any medical treatment. Many people with mild or moderate dementia retain this right, and it should be protected.
- A person with Alzheimer's may lack capacities to drive, handle financial affairs, or live independently in the community, but he or she may still have the capacity to make competent decisions about place of residence and medical care.
- Appointment of a representative or legal guardian for specific tasks, such as financial affairs, might allow a person with Alzheimer's to maintain a degree of independence and exercise autonomy over other matters.
(Source: Alzheimer's Association, Ethical Issues in Alzheimer's Disease: Respect for Autonomy)
When assessing decision making capacity, a physician or judge is looking for the person's ability to:
- predict the results of an action
- understand information
- use information sensibly
- communicate choices
A person who can no longer make good decisions may need a guardian's help. In some states, this guardian is called a conservator. The court appoints a guardian or conservator to manage an individual's property and health care.
When to step in
How will you know when it's time to ask for help or offer it? Several community resources can help you decide:
- Join an Alzheimer support group to share experiences with people who understand.
- Call the Alzheimer's Association any time with questions at 1.800.272.3900. We're ready to listen and help you talk through tough decisions.
- Consult a Geriatric Care Manager (GCM). A GCM can arrange care services, offer counseling, and see if you qualify for financial aid.
- Contact a financial or legal advisor, such as an elder law attorney