When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimers, long-term planning is crucial, especially when considering the complexities of the condition. While the basic principles of care planning apply universally, there’s a heightened significance in the context of dementia. The cognitive decline characteristic of dementia, particularly the loss of executive function, can pose significant challenges for caregivers in organising and financing care. Often, difficulties in understanding financial matters and care options emerge as initial symptoms of dementia. To preemptively address potential issues in planning, it’s advisable to take proactive steps such as those outlined below.

When a family is planning long-term care for a loved one diagnosed with dementia, there are several important factors to consider:

Level of care needed
Assess the current and future level of care required based on the progression of the dementia. Early stages may require minimal assistance with daily activities, while later stages may necessitate around-the-clock specialised care. During the early stages, some families opt for home care day and night caregivers. Whilst this can be a good decision at the onset of the diagnosis, it is important for families to explore long-term care options at specialised dementia care facilities. Facilities such as Livewell are able to provide the levels of care required that are not easy to replicate in a home-care setting. There are several factors to consider such as safety, social interaction, access to specialised services, nutrition management, medication administration, trained caregivers and more.

Financial planning
When evaluating the financial implications of long-term care, especially for high-net-worth individuals, it’s crucial to consider various aspects beyond basic expenses. In addition to the costs associated with medical care, assisted living facilities, and in-home caregivers, families should also focus on asset management, portfolio strategies, and wealth preservation. Asset management becomes vital to ensure that resources are strategically allocated to cover long-term care expenses while also safeguarding wealth for future generations. Portfolio managers can tailor investment strategies to generate steady returns to support ongoing care needs without depleting assets excessively.

Legal and financial affairs
To ensure that legal and financial affairs are in order for individuals facing long-term dementia care needs, it’s essential to establish powers of attorney for healthcare and finances, create advance directives, update wills and estate plans, and include a living will. Powers of attorney designate trusted individuals to make healthcare and financial decisions on behalf of the person if they become incapacitated due to dementia or other conditions. Advance directives outline the person’s preferences for medical treatment in specific situations, ensuring their wishes are followed even if they cannot communicate them directly. Updating wills and estate plans allows for the orderly distribution of assets according to the individual’s wishes, considering the potential impact of long-term care costs on their estate. Additionally, a living will specifies the individual’s preferences regarding end-of-life medical care, providing clarity and guidance to loved ones and healthcare providers during challenging times. By incorporating these legal documents, individuals can ensure that their wishes are honoured, their assets are managed appropriately, and their loved ones are supported throughout their long-term care journey.

Quality of life
It’s important to recognise that a diagnosis of dementia doesn’t diminish the essence of who a person is. They still retain their interests, likes, dislikes, and personal preferences, including hobbies and self-care routines they once enjoyed. All these aspects remain significant and should be considered when selecting a long-term dementia care facility. Prioritising the individual’s quality of life means finding a facility that not only offers access to meaningful activities, social interaction, and opportunities for physical and mental stimulation but also takes the time to understand who the person was before the diagnosis. By getting to know the individual on a personal level, care providers can tailor their approach to meet the unique needs and preferences of the person, ensuring a more fulfilling and supportive environment.

Support for caregivers
Recognise the challenges faced by caregivers and ensure they have access to support resources, respite care, and counselling services. Caregiver burnout is common, so it’s essential to prioritise their well-being to ensure they can provide the best possible care for the person with dementia.

Transition Planning
When transitioning your loved one to a dementia care facility, plan for a smooth transition by involving them in the decision-making process as much as possible, familiarising them with the new environment, and providing emotional support during the adjustment period.

Regular review and communication
Regularly review your loved ones’ care needs and adjust the care plan as necessary. Maintain open communication with healthcare providers, care staff, and family members to ensure that everyone is informed and involved in decision-making.

Long-term dementia care at Livewell Estates

Livewell Estates offers long-term and short-term dementia and Alzheimer’s care at our specialised memory care facilities in Somerset West and Bryanston, South Africa. Our Estates also offer short-term dementia respite care, which provides temporary caregiving relief for caregivers. With an all-inclusive offering, our residents can enjoy expert health care, nutritious meals, personalised care and medication management and luxurious surroundings. Our stimulating activities program ensures a cognitive-focused lifestyle by actively engaging with the individual needs of our residents and addressing their unique requirements.

Personalised Services

  • Long-term permanent residency
  • Short-term respite care options
  • 3 nutritious meals, including snacks
  • Personalised care and medication management
  • 24/7 nursing care
  • Occupational therapy
  • Ongoing Care Plan (assessments and evaluations)
  • Stimulating activities program
  • Unlimited housekeeping and laundry services
  • Access to communal gardens, dining and living area
  • Pet-friendly
  • 24/7 security