We did a complex Section update this month for the Topic “Future planning: legal matters”.
Previously we only included Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) as part of this Topic, because it’s something planned and set in advance (we always encourage early planning where possible). We have since discovered that many families have not had this set and are thus required to look into Guardianships or equivalent.
As such, we have included the three key elements for each of the states:
Enduring Power of Attorney
Please note, each state varies in the name and also the power they convey. These could be subtle so please choose your relevant state.
We also received a very useful Tip recently from Sue, who is looking after her husband. She kindly shared her experience with applying for the dementia supplement, including some setbacks:
"The dementia supplement was hard to get for my husband. This is because some of the questions are so generic, for example "tell me if you've heard of Stalin and who is he". Anything the person says is OK and it goes through a long list of celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin, Dawn Fraser and more. From what I’ve learnt about dementia, these very old memories are more intact so most people with dementia actually score ok. Even though my husband can no longer dress himself, gets lost around the house that we have been living in for 29 years and can't remember our grandchildren, he scored 1 point over the limit and didn't qualify! My friend's mother was from overseas and had never heard of Dawn Fraser, so she just made the cut and got the supplement!"
Some other carers have also told me that their loved ones have rote-learnt the answers to the questions and managed to score well, despite having no idea what the questions were about and aren't independent at all! Some carers' loved ones also try to be tough and say they are independent when they are not, because they don't want to be embarrassed. Again, not receiving the supplement.
I have spoken to a few care managers and dementia advisors, who have said this is common. My suggestion would be to 1) be honest and don't "play tough". Explain (if you can) to your loved one that if they are not honest, there's less money for them. 2) if they are denied and you think your loved one deserves it, appeal. Try to get another assessor who may understand dementia a bit more, so they understand better how to assess. This has worked for some carers..”
This Tip demonstrates how complex some of these processes can be, and we just need some guidance at times. So please read up on the Tips in My Dementia Companion, speak to other carers, professionals and support groups for advice when you have a set-back, if not just to “talk things out”.
We also encourage you to share your experiences to help others, so we all can just do that little bit better.