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Talking About the Future
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After a person has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it is time to start planning for the future. Changes in the person can be gradual, and the point at which someone can no longer make a decision is difficult to pinpoint. Planning ahead can help reduce stress and better ensure that decisions meet the needs and desires of the person with Alzheimer’s.

Why we resist planning ahead

Many people find it difficult to start the conversation about the future for a variety of reasons:


  • of a disease that we don’t understand 
  • of what we do not want to face

Embarrassment about:

  • memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s 
  • other changes, such as misplacing objects, social withdrawal and loss of ability to organize or plan


  • Family finances or healthcare may be seen as a private matter.
  • Family members may not feel comfortable talking about money.
  • You may not have enough information about family finances.


  • There may be problems within the family.
  • One family member may not believe or perceive there is a problem, so the conversation stops there.

Suggestions for starting the conversation

Decide who needs to be involved
The person with Alzheimer’s should be involved in decision making and planning ahead if he or she has the capacity to make decisions and be involved in care.

Plan a time to talk
Make sure you have enough time set aside to discuss planning and paying for care now and in the future. A good time might be:

  • after a visit with the doctor
  • around the holidays
  • while you are drawing up your will or other estate planning

Push yourself to begin
Think about what you want to say and then push yourself to take advantage of openings that come up. Also remember that this is a start to what can be an ongoing dialogue. Your conversation does not have to be perfect.

What to talk about

Among the areas you should cover are:

  • living arrangements – care in the home or in another residence
  • how to pay for care – budget, cost of care, payment options, government assistance, tax deductions and credits
  • legal planning – advance directives; wills and estate planning

For help in making decisions about any of these areas, go to CareFinder™.

Additional help

Our Helpline care consultants will listen and help you start a conversation about making plans for the future with a loved one. Call anytime day or night 1.800.272.3900. 


Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.