3 Good Reasons to Organize Legal Documents in the Mildest Stages of Dementia

Reluctant to start thinking about the eventual legal documents you'll need, like a durable power of attorney for health care and finances, along with a living will? That's understandable. After all, someone early in the first stage of dementia is still of fairly sound mind and able to make many decisions just as he or she always did. But this is exactly why sooner, rather than later, is a wise time to look into these documents.

  • At this earliest stage of dementia, someone can still legally sign the documents.

  • Your loved one is capable of giving useful input and expressing personal preferences now. Eventually he or she won't be able to.

  • If you postpone too long, these simple documents become unusable and you may have to go through the added expense and trouble of obtaining legal conservatorship.

Learn more about power of attorney and advance directives.

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio

over 3 years, said...

The part about conservatorship was interesting for me.

about 5 years, said...

My wife has MCI in a mild form of memory loss and the article made me move forward with getting a POA and living Will. TRhank you for the "push"!

over 5 years, said...

My sister and I moved our 95 year old mother who is stage 3 dementia and her 87 year old husband, early dementia to Fl. in Aug so we could take care of her. She made the trip very well and has adapted to being here. Never did we expect her husband to be the problem. We have had so many arguments it has torn our relationship completely apart. He takes care of my mom the best he can, but he doesn't understand she needs to be as active and not just sit. He has accused us of taking everything, we had all papers updated before she got to this point so we could take care of her. We take care of all her bills, they are staying with my sister now and as long as they can. We have a housekeeper and daily nurse to help so my sister's life still exists. My mom will side with her husband against her daughters not understanding he is the problem. We just don't know what to do. We have reached out to his family who are in VA when he was about to run out of his meds. They didn't do anything. We have no support here other than our family, and thank God for them. I know someone else has to have been through dealing with a step. We seem to be dealing with mom's dementia but not the husband. Any one have any advice? Thanks

almost 7 years, said...

Absolutely Essential! Because I didn't have these documents treatment was refused by one physician. I also could not file Federal Income tax since my wife could not sign the documents. I have found an inexpensive way to get these and a last will and testament for a husband and wife which I will be happy to share with anyone who would like to sent me an email.... Place will info in the subject line. I also have started another web site for caregivers at help-4-caregivers.com