Garden variety memory lapses, like misplacing car keys, are normal, but where do you draw the line? A good rule of thumb is that if you notice that your loved one has repeated episodes of memory loss, and/or troubling personality changes or difficulty performing everyday tasks, like driving or financial management, it could be time for a crisis elder care plan. Here are some red flags to watch for:
- Asking the same questions over and over again;
- Repeating the same stories;
- Difficulty paying bills, balancing the check book or reading a bank or credit card statement;
- Difficulty adding and subtracting;
- Late notices and missed payments, unopened mail accumulating;
- Paying the same bill multiple times in the same month;
- Difficulty performing everyday tasks (getting lost and being unable to find your way home, forgetting how to operate a home appliance);
- Decline in personal hygiene (not bathing or brushing teeth, wearing the same clothing day after day);
- Inappropriate attire, behavior, statements and/or language;
- Confusion or word-finding difficulty (ex. asking where the “bread-thingy” is instead of where the toaster is;
- Inability to retain new information; and/or
- Irritability or foul language, behavior consistent with depression, apathy, anxiety, agitation, delusions and hallucinations, wandering, aggression
If you notice one or more of these signs, it may be a good idea to contact an elder lawyer without delay. An elder lawyer can help you find the best care and a way to pay for that care with public benefits, while protecting your life savings and the family home.
Questions? Let Jane know.
Jane Fearn-Zimmer is an Elder and Disability Law, Taxation, and Trusts and Estates attorney. She dedicates her practice to serving clients in the areas of elder and disability law, special needs planning, asset protection, tax and estate planning and estate administration. She also serves as Chair of the Elder & Disability Law section of the NJSBA.