Elder Law: Living with memory loss

Thirty years ago, my mother died in a nursing home. Back then, there weren’t open discussions or resources available to people with Alzheimer’s. There were no home care agencies or day programs to help you stay home. My mother was embarrassed to say anything and anxious when my father left, even for a moment. My father was frustrated to see his wife of 60 years recede into herself and end up in the nursing home. It was after my mother died that I started doing elder law.

Much has changed in thirty years. The sooner you face the fact that you might have a problem, the sooner you can get a diagnosis and start looking for the programs to help you and those you love. If you don’t know where to start, I have several suggestions:

  • Call your senior center. There may be a support group or day program for those with memory loss right at the senior center. If not, the folks there can help direct you.
  • Call the Alzheimer’s Association. There is a national 24-hour hotline staffed by people who can point you to local resources.
  • Find a support group. My parents felt so alone and unaware of others in their situation right in town.
  • Call Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands. Their trained staff may want to visit your home and connect you with programs. They also have resources to help you pay for home care and other services.
  • Talk to an elder law attorney to make sure you have a strategy that will give you the support of government programs.

You can deal with memory loss. But first, you have to face it.

For more information on living with memory loss, watch this month’s elder law virtual seminar on Frank and Mary’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/elderlawfrankandmary, and your local cable station, MVTV, along with the Frank and Mary on the Vineyard cable TV show, where my co-host, Sandie Corr-Dolby, and I address many common issues facing seniors and the resources available. If you have any questions, please contact me at 508-860-1470 or abergeron@mirickoconnell.com.

Arthur and Leah are elder law attorneys in the Trusts and Estates Group at Mirick O’Connell.