How Texas Families Can Protect an Elderly Loved One Who Wanders

It can often be disheartening when a loved one begins to wander, when they cannot remember their name and meander away from their home. Wandering is a risk associated with many conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. Warning signs include forgetting how to get to familiar places, trying to “go home” when a person is already at home, and acting as if doing a chore, but getting nothing done. When this occurs, it can often become overwhelming and anxiety-inducing for caregivers. There are steps loved ones and caretakers can take to ensure their elderly loved ones are safe and constantly cared for as they wander. A Houston estate planning attorney can help families confront this difficult issue.

Make Sure the Person Always Carries Identification

While this will not prevent wandering, it helps ensure a lost loved one will be returned home. However, as a person can remove an ID from a wallet, giving an elderly loved one medical ID jewelry – like a bracelet or pendant – could help a loved one return safely in case they accidentally wander far from home.

Discuss Long-Term Care Plans

Thinking about an elderly loved one’s long term care – which might include placing them in an assisted living facility – may be difficult. Still, it is critical to consider the safety and well-being of the wandering person. One option is hiring an in-home aide, who can help deliver care to an elderly loved one while allowing them to remain in their home. For others, the right decision may be placing the loved one in a nursing home, where they can receive care from a trained health professional who specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia. However, either option – transitioning a loved one to a nursing home or hiring an in-home health care aide – are difficult and expensive decisions. Caregivers should consult an experienced Houston elder law attorney who can help evaluate these potential routes. Having these discussions early can alleviate future stress and ensure the loved one is properly cared for, even if their condition worsens.

Finalize the Loved One’s Estate Plan

Individuals in this situation should also finalize the elderly loved one’s estate plan immediately while they still have the mental capacity to do so. Three documents are especially critical: a will, a power of attorney to handle finances, and a health care power of attorney for health care decisions. Getting these estate plan documents in place can alleviate the family’s stress about their elderly loved one and any future decisions they will need to make on their behalf.

Because caring for wandering loved ones can be extremely scary and stressful, those thinking about creating a long-term care plan or finalizing an estate plan should contact an experienced elder law attorney to help them navigate the process.

Do You or a Loved One Need to Consult an Elder Law or Estate Planning Attorney?

If you are thinking about transitioning an elderly loved one into a Houston nursing home or updating their estate plan, contact the dedicated attorneys at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC. We assist seniors and their families in making long-term care decisions and drafting wills and health care directives. Because our attorneys are knowledgeable in both estate planning and elder law matters, we understand how stressful and complicated these situations can be and are here to help. To learn how our Houston estate planning attorneys can help your elderly loved one prepare for the future, call us today at 713-333-8900 and schedule a consultation.

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