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Helping People Age with Dignity

Legal issues for families of Alzheimer's sufferers

It is not uncommon here in Massachusetts to have an elderly loved one who suffers from Alzheimer's. Around 12 percent of the state's seniors have this disease.

It is estimated that the total number of individuals 65 years of age and up who currently suffer from Alzheimer's in Massachusetts is around 120,000. This number is expected to get even bigger in future years. The Alzheimer's Association estimates that, in ten years, this number will be up to around 150,000. This would be a 25 percent increase.

There are many concerns Massachusetts families who have an elderly loved one who has Alzheimer's may have about their loved one. For one, they may be concerned about their loved one's decision-making abilities when it comes to health care decisions and financial decisions. The dementia symptoms that Alzheimer's can lead to an elderly individual suffering can sometimes greatly impair decision-making ability.

Thus, one of the legal concerns a family of an elderly Alzheimer's victim may have is whether they should be considering asking a court to establish a conservatorship and a guardianship for their elderly loved one's protection. A conservatorship is when a conservator is appointed to make financial decisions for a person and a guardianship is when a guardian is appointed to make decisions like health care decisions for a person. 

Elder law attorneys can help families of elderly Alzheimer's victims who are concerned about their loved one's decision-making abilities with determining if requesting a guardianship and a conservatorship would be appropriate given their loved one's particular situation and can help families with guardianship/conservatorship issues and other legal issues that can arise in relation to Alzheimer's sufferers.

Source: Alzheimer's Association, "Massachusetts Alzheimer's Statistics," Accessed May 20, 2015

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