Elder Law with Frank and Mary: Living with memory loss


We are all forgetful at times. There is a point, though, when those memory problems get noticeably worse, either for you or for those around you. The worst thing to do is bury your head in the sand, hope the memory problems will “go away,” or hope that a magic cure for memory loss may be on the horizon. However, there are ever-expanding resources and tools to help you or your loved ones deal with memory loss.

While the available tools vary by community, here are some places to start:

  • Your doctor. Don’t hide this from your doctor. Your doctor may be able to do some preliminary testing or refer you to someone who can recommend programs in the area to help you adapt to memory loss.
  • Your senior center. The senior center staff is fielding questions about memory loss and helping people find programs to help them. Many senior centers run programs to help people with memory loss. Incidentally, when you hear the word “dementia,” think “memory loss,” which is really what dementia is, in its early stages.
  • Your ASAP. Springwell (formerly known as BayPath Elder Services) in the Metrowest area and Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands (ESCCI) on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard both offer a host of programs, from caregiver support groups to actual in-home care, for people suffering from memory loss and other disabilities. These programs, which are funded with your taxpayer dollars, are often free or have a small co-pay.
  • The Alzheimer’s Association Hotline. Take advantage of this free 24-hour service that can provide emergency advice and services in your area. Call them at 800-272-3900.

Finally, this may be the time to talk to an elder law attorney about structuring things so that if you ever need MassHealth down the road, you’ll be able to qualify. For more information, visit Frank and Mary’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/elderlawfrankandmary. These programs also air on MVTV (Comcast 13), along with “Frank and Mary on Martha’s Vineyard,” where Sandie Corr-Dolby and I address common issues facing seniors and available resources. If you have any questions, please contact me at 508-860-1470 or abergeron@mirickoconnell.com.

Arthur P. Bergeron is an elder law attorney in the trusts and estates group at Mirick O’Connell.