Evaluate elder’s competency to protect their health and finances

Dr. Barry Cohn Licensed Clinical Psychologist Portrait Health Centers

Assessment of competency and capacity may be the single best protection you could recommend to your elderly family member to ensure that their intended wishes are fulfilled. Getting an assessment is easy, and it will help determine whether or not your elder is competent enough to be able to create a trust, make medical decisions regarding long-term care, and be able to make financial decisions regarding their estate and will.


Do

Do schedule a psychological assessment

A psychological assessment includes tests, structured interviews, and observations done to clarify diagnosis, determine cognitive abilities (including strengths and weaknesses), and measure progress. There are numerous psychological tests that can be performed to determine competency and capacity in regards to health and financial topics.

Do talk to a professional

Before determining if a competency and capacity assessment is appropriate for your family, consider calling a group that specialize in these tests. Some competency assessment professionals offer a free consultation and all of them will be able to discuss your options before making any decisions.

Do consider health history

Alzheimer’s and dementia is becoming more prevalent, which can affect the decision-making abilities of seniors. In cases where past health history is an issue, a competency and capacity assessment is appropriate before executing wills, trusts, medical procedures and charitable donations.

Do observe living skills

Before determining if an assessment is appropriate, observe your family member’s day-to-day functioning regarding safety and health, money management, transportation and telephone, self-care, a leisure skills. For example, if an elderly family member starts to show a change in behavior that causes concern, like confusion when speaking on the telephone, or forgetting if they paid a utility bill, these can be warning signs that a competency evaluation is appropriate.

Do have good communication

Talk to your family members about the importance of working together as a unit to make the best decisions for the family. Encourage an evaluation of competency as a safeguard to your family’s health and financial security. Open communication can lead to a positive outcome.


Don't

Do not ignore the problem

It is no secret that we lose our ability to make rational decisions as we get older. There is no room for error when it comes to our family member’s health, safety, and financial well-being. A simple test of competency and capacity can help sidestep potential problems down the road. Don’t ignore the warning signs, get an assessment today.

Do not fight with family

Fighting or arguing about the importance of an assessment for capacity will not end in a positive result. Have open discussions with all family members and encourage a step-by-step process if a family member is hesitant. Suggest a consultation with a competency professional as the first step before any final decisions are made.

Do not be afraid

Some people are concerned about talking with their family members about a potentially difficult or touchy subject fearing that a fight or other negative situation may arise. Remember that your intentions are for the good of the family, and that should help everyone understand the importance of protecting your health and well-being.

Do not trick or lie to a family member

When considering a test of competency and capacity for a family member, one might try to avoid confrontation by “tricking” or lying to a family member about their intentions or even when arriving at an evaluation. This method will almost always lead to a negative experience and a lack in cooperation. The best practice is to be upfront and honest to them about how important it is for them to do this, so that their health and financial wishes are fulfilled.

Do not procrastinate

The longer you wait to address the issue, the worse the problem will get. There is no room for procrastinating when it comes to the health and financial stability of your family. If you need more information about assessment options, call a competency expert right away and get your questions answered.


Summary
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A competency evaluation team includes medical professionals and clinical psychologists who evaluate a person's cognitive functioning, memory capacity and reasoning capability. These factors are important in determining whether an individual is competent to execute a will, to determine medical directives relating to long-term care, create a trust. or manage financial matters. Don’t hesitate to contact a competency expert if you have any questions, or just want more information.


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Dr. Barry CohnLicensed Clinical Psychologist

Portrait Health Centers are multi-specialty clinics that employ the most cutting-edge and proven assessment protocols and treatment options available, believing that an Effective Treatment Depends On An Accurate Diagnosis. Individuals should not...

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