If you are the caregiver or loved one of someone with Alzheimer’s or special needs one of your biggest fears is likely that your loved one will turn up missing. Whether your loved one simply wanders off from the grocery store, or decides to take a drive and gets lost, the idea that he/she is out there somewhere lost and frightened is something you never want to go through. While there are steps you can take to try and prevent just that scenario from unfolding, there is no guarantee that it will never happen. For residents of Exeter, New Hampshire, however, there is hope that if the worst does occur, their loved one will be found quickly thanks to a new program implemented by the Exeter Police Department. The new program is designed to help protect those with Alzheimer’s Disease and special needs in the community, according to news reports.
The program, announced by Interim Chief William Shupe, is intended to create a system whereby police can respond rapidly to situations in which a person with special needs or Alzheimer’s wanders off, gets lost, or has a medical emergency. “We want to ensure that if someone from one of our vulnerable populations goes missing, or is in need of medical attention, that we can find or help that person as quickly as possible,” Chief Shupe said. “This program is truly one of value and will help residents feel at ease knowing that their loved ones are being taken care of in the event of an emergency.”
The program allows you to essentially provide all relevant information about your loved one to the police ahead of time, such as height, weight, hair and eye color along with emergency contact information and relevant medical information (preferred hospital, primary care physician, allergies and medications). You also have the option to attach a photo of the individual. The hope is that with all the necessary information already in the system, police will be able to respond much more rapidly when someone goes missing.
If you are a caregiver of someone in Exeter who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, tends to wander off or get lost, or has special needs, you are encouraged to visit the Exeter Police Department online to register for the program. If the individual becomes lost, call the Exeter Police Department immediately at 772-1212 and notify officers that the resident is a participant in the program.
Estate Planning as the Caregiver of a Loved One with Special Needs
As the caregiver of someone with special needs you already know that extra care and planning goes into every decision you make. The same applies to estate planning if you are the caregiver of someone with special needs. Just as the new program introduced by the Exeter Police Department attempts to plan ahead, so should your estate plan. If your loved one is a minor right now, you need to consider the fact that he/she will eventually be considered an adult by the law. At that time, it becomes more complicated to care for him/her as well as to provide for your loved one financially without jeopardizing much needed assistance from program such as Medicaid and SSI.
Fortunately, a well thought out estate plan that includes special needs planning can help. In order to continue to provide financial assistance to your loved one with special needs, for example, you may decide to create a special needs trust, also referred to as a supplemental needs trust. When properly drafted, a special needs trust is recognized as such by state and federal assistance programs and the assets held in the trust will not be counted against your loved one for purposes of determining eligibility for assistance programs. Those assets may then be used to provide “supplemental” care above and beyond that provided by the government.
If you have a child, or loved one with special needs, they key to ensuring your loved one will be well cared for both now and in the future is to include special needs planning in your overall estate plan. Contact the experienced New Hampshire special needs planning attorneys at Debruyckere Law Offices by calling (603) 894-4141 or (978) 969-0331 to schedule an appointment for your free consultation.