Senior Alternatives

Care Management and Home Care Services

Social & Legal Issues in Dementia Care

–   In this blog we explore the core concepts associated with navigating social and legal issues when caring for someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  The core concepts are as follows:

a. Definition of meaningful consent

b. Legal codes and ethics

c. Financial issues

d.Social issues

What is ‘meaningful consent’?  It involves ensuring a client is provided every opportuity to make personal and financial decisions based on their current and past needs, wants and desires for as long as possible.  It is only obtained when involved parties and family members go out of their way to determine what the client would ultimately want, and then empowering them to have the autonomy and ability to folow through with their decision.

Legal codes and ethics:  Probate law governs multiple types of fiduciary relationships such as: Conservatorship, Guardianship,Trustee, and Durable Power of Attorney for health and finance.   The goal is to keep the client in the least restrictive environment possible. Ensuring decisions are made based on the individual’s need and desires is of utmost importance.   Time is of the essence, consult an attorney as this is typically not a ‘do it yourself’ project. Be aware that people with dementia have the capacity to createe and change testamentary documents.  Attornyes are tasked with determining capacity based on a defined set of questions.

Financial issues: Empower independence by promoting self-management as long as possible.  Assist the individual with every day tasks such as speding monies, check for bank accounts with low balance and enlist the help of a bookkeeper if necessary.   There are credit cards with restrictions that may prove effective when managing expenditures.  Some financial red flags include:  past due bills, inappropriate donations, unsolicited home repairs, and telephone scams.

Social issues: In reviewing the living situation of an individual one area to consider is home safety as related to cognitive ability.  Conduct a home assessment to mitigate risk and add safety features to the home if necessary.  Consider how self help is being performed in respect to activites of daily living, meal preparation, medication management and hygiene. And what about household disposition, is cleaning, shopping and maintenance an issue. Prevent falls by ensurig the individual attends regular physician check up’s and eye appointments.  Measure cognitive ability to live alone.  How is their executive function, can they structure daily routine?  How is their judgement, can they make proper decisions? Is there anxiety and depression present?    Red flags regarding living situation:  Is it time to change or add a care plan if a person is: losing weight, has dirty or soiled clothing, is not taking medication properly, calls family members constantly, has an unkept home, has burned pots and pans, has increased anxiety, confusion and depression.

For more details on the topic contact: Director of Care Management.


To schedule a free 45 minute consultation with one of our Geriatric Care Managers, please call 888.451.4290

Related Articles

Why do the Elderly Experience UTI’s Differently?

Why do the Elderly Experience UTI’s Differently?

Urinary Tract Infections affect seniors in a completely different manner than other adults. Here we review the reasons why this condition creates temporary confusion and how to stay ahead with preventative steps.