My father will be 72 in April. He lives at home in Illinois, and my sister lives with him, though not for any care needs - it just worked out like that. He travels regularly to visit his other children, and after a three month visit to Florida, he is now staying with me.

In 2018 he was diagnosed with vascular dementia. This process took about a year, and it involved several visits to a neurologist and several tests. Basically, what I have been told is that his MRI showed his brain has shrunk and that it appeared he has suffered several mini-strokes.

My sister in Illinois is the one who started the testing with the doctor, mostly because she noticed that he would get very upset at times when having a conversation. She also noticed that he would take longer to gather his thoughts when he was speaking. He is now on medication and is doing well.

Overall, if you didn't now my father's diagnosis, you may just chalk up some of his behaviors to aging. But, the question I have is what we should be doing as children to help our father as he ages. Is there a checklist out there that tells us what to do? We could really use something like that. :-)

As his condition progresses, when do we get an estate plan done? What is an estate plan? When do we get a power of attorney? I know that I can find out some of this stuff on the internet, but I need a resource on how to do this with/for my father. I'm just not sure where to start and what sites have the best information. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Elder law attorney is your best start.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Llamalover47

Elder Care Lawyer will help a lot. That will get the ball rolling with many of your questions.
I have a few questions for you though.
Is your Dad a Veteran? If so the VA can help a lot. The Veterans commission office ( located in Woodstock)can help with some of the paperwork.
Your Dad may do well in Adult Day Care, if not now then later.
If your Dad is a Veteran and has any other medical conditions depending on where and when he served he may qualify for a bit of help or a lot of help depending on the situation.
you will find that the decline with Vascular Dementia is like going down stairs with landings. The decline will progress then stop for a while then begin again. Some of the declines can be pretty drastic others not so much.
If the house he is in is not handicap accessible it might be worth looking into making it such, if you plan on keeping him in the home.
This is a long and difficult journey, one I would not have been able to do without the help of the VA as well as JourneyCare Hospice.
Get into a good support Group.
But do contact an Elder Care Lawyer
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Grandma1954

An uncle impressed upon my father the value and importance of having a trust. Fortunately, my father took his brother's advice and had this done. Although both of them are now gone and my mother is almost 94 in a nursing home, dividends from stocks, SS, and a pension are used to pay most of the NH expenses while the individual stocks are earmarked for my sister and me. Many other items were specifically designated each of us, but anything we didn't really need or want, or that cost money to maintain (such as their house, which was earmarked for my sister) was sold so the income-generating stocks could be kept. If one wants to "have his cake [receive an inheritance] and eat it [provide appropriate care for parents]" then proper planning is essential, and everyone involved should make sure they are on the same page. On the other hand, another uncle and his wife have both been gone for 6 years, but there was no will, the three children can't agree on things, so among other issues the utilities, etc. have been paid to keep up an empty house that long.

Another thing the first uncle mentioned above suggested was getting a dozen copies of the death certificate at the time of death because several will be needed and it's cheaper and easier to get them all at the same time.
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Reply to jacobsonbob

I'm sorry I have a question for you. What kind of medicine did they put your father on?
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to xpl2732

The best gift a parent can give a child is a POA for health and finances and a trust if that is warranted or at the very least a will. The time to do it is when we are younger. By the way just because someone wants to appoint you as POA or executor, you have a choice as to accept it or not.

You could certainly visit with a physician familiar with the sequence of vascular dementia. There will be what are called "step downs' when suddenly he will seem worse. Then if he lives long enough, it will normally cause balance issues as well as incontinence. Read up on it so you know what is coming and what questions to ask.

He may need to move to assisted living if he can afford it and the family can't continue to provide in home care. He may or may not need memory care. My dad has VD but didn't require memory care. IT wasn't until he fell and suffered a bad femur fracture that he had to transfer to the nursing home in his building.

All these things are long range planning but it is good you are thinking of the future now so you can be prepared. Very smart of you.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Harpcat
ShenaD Jan 18, 2019
I disagree. I never had a POA and thank goodness because now I am his paid caregiver. I had to quit my job to care dad cuz caregivers kept quitting. If I had POA I would not have been eligible to be a paid caregiver. When I take him to a dr appt he literally tells staff to have me sign. His verbal is good enough. Staff knows he has dementia and speak to me accordingly.
lkyldy1, I agree 100% with what gladimhere had posted. DO NOT WAIT. And use an "Elder Law Attorney" as they specialize in all things elder when it comes to legal documents and if needed down the road, Medicaid. Don't rely on the Internet, because for some legal documents each State has their own laws.

My parents had Wills and Power of Attorneys, but the paperwork was older than dirt, and no longer applied. What a relief to have had everything updated.

Your Dad needs to have a Medical Power of Attorney, someone who can make decision for him regarding medical care. He needs to have a Financial Power of Attorney to help him handle his bills and any other financial items. One person can be both POA's.

Your Dad would only need to have what is called a Revocable Trust if he has a lot of financial assets. The Trust avoids Probate. Probate could take over a year before everything can be distributed to the heirs, depending on the backlog at the Court House.

My parent also had what is called a Medical Directive. This spells out what measures the parent wants when it comes to medical issues. That was so helpful when my parents were going down that final road. I knew they didn't want extra measures taken. So I was following their wishes.

I know it is tough to talk about this, but what are your Dad's last wishes? Does he want a funeral? Does he have a cemetery plot? I remember my Dad telling me he wanted to be buried in Iowa, ok Dad, thanks for narrowing that down :P Ah, need more information, Dad.

I had put together a "red" 3-ring binder where I wrote out questions, and had my Dad answer them. And that notebook was placed where it could be easily found. It even had the car title to Dad's car, so when we donated it, no digging through a lot of file cabinets looking for the title.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to freqflyer
ShenaD Jan 18, 2019
Regarding the trust. He does NOT have to have a lot of assets. I large life insurance policy is sufficient.
You need to get power of attorney and will, estate plan done now while he can still be considered competent! You wait too long, it cannot be done and you will have a mess to deal with. Guardianship could become your only option, or he becoming a ward of the state. Get a elder law attorney now to help.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to gladimhere

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