How do you make a personal care agreement for someone with dementia?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

How do you make a personal care agreement if the parent you are taking care of has dementia? They cannot sign for themselves any longer. I have power of attorney but am not sure how to make a legal and valid care agreement under these circumstances.

Expert Answers

Carolyn Rosenblatt, R.N. and Attorney is the author of author of The Boomer's Guide to Aging Parents. She has over 40 years of combined experience in her two professions. As a nurse, she has extensive experience with geriatrics, chronic illness, pain management, dementias, disability, family dynamics, and death and dying. As a trial attorney, she advocated for for the rights of injured individuals and neglected elders. She is also co-founder of

A personal care agreement is a contract and therefore, anyone signing it has to be legally competent to do so. If the parent with whom you're trying to make a personal care agreement about has dementia, it may not be possible to get the parent to sign anything. It's not clear from the question if you want your parent to sign the agreement, or if you intend to make the personal care agreement with someone else.

Let's consider the underlying problem. If a parent has dementia, you want that person to receive proper care. If your thoughts about getting an agreement signed are to get the person with dementia to agree to something over the long run, it is not likely to succeed. Dementia, by nature, involves memory loss. That is part of the difficulty of trying to make agreements with someone who has this problem. I would not try to make any written agreement with someone who has dementia. Instead, you have to operate more on a day-to-day basis, doing the best you can to work with the memory loss and moods, and suspicion that often accompanies dementia. you may get an agreement to certain kinds of care one day, but have to change it the next. It's a hard job. You will get through this. It won't be perfect. My heart goes out to you. Keep trying to do the best you can.