When someone is no longer able to handle his or her own financial or personal affairs, the Court can appoint an individual or professional to act on behalf of the incapacitated person. The legal terminology for these protective proceedings varies state by state. In some states, the term “guardianship” is used for all protective proceedings, whether for a minor or adult.
When a family member has a cognitive impairment and cannot manage his/her affairs, legal and/or financial planning is often needed. Areas of concern to family caregivers include future health care decisions, management of assets, public benefits planning and, in some cases, litigation.
For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, certain legal and financial decisions become increasingly important as they age. These determine who has the responsibility to provide care, the power to make medical decisions, and the legal authority to utilize financial resources on someone's behalf if he or she is incapacitated.
When an individual is diagnosed with dementia, one of the first concerns that families and caregivers face is whether or not that person should drive. A diagnosis of dementia may not mean that a person can no longer drive safely. In the early stages of dementia, some – though not all – individuals may still possess skills necessary for safe driving. Most dementia, however, is progressive, meaning that symptoms such as memory loss, visual-spatial disorientation, and decreased cognitive function will worsen over time.
My husband disguised it well, but I knew. I had known for the last seven or eight years. He was sixty-five and I was forty-seven. We had been married for sixteen years. The eighteen years between us never made a difference.