If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you are undoubtedly going through an emotionally-draining and tumultuous time. One thing that could help you is to plan ahead and develop your own care team. This is a group of support people that will help you through the different stages of the disease. Here are a few things to consider when deciding if you would benefit from a care team:
Why do I need to build a team now?
A team can reduce the stress and feelings of being out of control of your own life. A team can help you live a more productive and active life during the early stages of the disease. Once you have a team in place you can make plans for daily living and emergencies, and you can assign roles to each team member. As the disease progresses, it may be harder for you to make decisions, so having a team in place with specific instructions can help both you and your family members.
Who should I include in my care team?
Typically, you want to include family, friends, professional advisors (incapacity/disability attorney here in Plano, social workers, care coordinators) and doctors. Ask people that you trust to make important decisions for you if you are not able. Have a conversation with your team and express your wishes to them. Plan in advance what type of long-term care you’d like and what medical care you would prefer in the later stages of the disease. Neighbors can also be key members of your team in the early stages – especially if you live alone. Since they are close by, they can help with day-to-day tasks and are easy to reach in case of emergencies. You should also contact community groups or church groups that can help with day-to-day tasks.
Tips for developing your care team
Talk to potential members, and gage their interest and willingness in joining your team. Discuss what you will need from them and their ability to help you. Make sure to be as specific as you can, and let them know exactly what you will need to the best of your knowledge. Understand that some people are not going to be able to be a part of your care team. Their family and work obligations may mean that they do not have the proper amount of time needed to devote to you. Don’t take this type of response negatively. Be glad that they let you know in advance, as you want to make sure that people have the time to care for you when you need it.
It’s also wise to start scheduling consultations with professional advisors if you do not currently have any. The first appointment you make should be with an Plano incapacity and disability attorney as he or she will help you craft legal documents such as Powers of Attorney and Healthcare directives that give your care team actual legal authority to act for you when you are no longer able. He or she may also help you implement an asset protection plan now so that your finances are not an issue, and your family is not on the hook when it comes time to pursue options for long-term care later.
Building a support team can make it a bit easier to think about the situations you may face. When you start these conversations, you will find many people will come forward and offer their help. Take the help that is offered! Your care team can make a big difference in your quality of life.