Legal & financial concerns *

If you are caring for a loved one, you should plan for the future as early as possible.

This way, your loved one may be able to take part in some of your family's discussions about the future.

Some caregivers may need to make plans that involve finances. Legal issues may also need to be addressed. These are complex issues, and laws are not the same from state to state. If you need to make such plans, it may help to seek advice from a lawyer and a financial planner with expertise in these matters.

Legal Concerns.

As a caregiver, you should think about obtaining the following legal documents:

  • Durable Legal/Medical Power of Attorney: allows you to make legal or healthcare choices for your loved one when they no longer can
  • Living Will/Advance Directive: allows your loved one to express wishes about medical treatment before they become unable to communicate these wishes
  • Will: records your loved one's decisions about what will happen to property (estate) inheritance

You may decide to talk to a lawyer about these documents. If you do, be sure to find one with expertise in elder law. This branch of law focuses on the needs of older people. A lawyer with expertise in estates and trusts may also be helpful.

Financial Issues.

You may also need to make plans for your loved one's financial future. As care needs increase, expenses may increase as well. Here are some issues you may need to consider when planning for the future:

  • Personal income—joint checking and savings accounts, expenses
  • Pension or retirement funds—penalties for early withdrawal, payment schedule
  • Social Security—benefits, eligibility, payment schedule
  • Healthcare insurance—coverage, medical benefits, prescription plan
  • Medicaid—a program that pays for medical assistance for certain people and families with low incomes and resources
  • Medicare—a federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older

Note: If your loved one had prescription drug coverage through Medicare, their benefits may have changed. If your loved one's resources are limited, they may be able to get extra help from Medicaid.

*This Web site and the information contained herein is for informational purposes only and is not legal or financial advice about matters discussed. This Web site is for providing general helpful information to members of the public who may need to seek the assistance of a licensed attorney and financial advisor for any legal or eldercare advice.


ARICEPT® (donepezil HCl) is a prescription medicine to treat mild, moderate, and severe Alzheimer's disease.


Before starting on ARICEPT 23 mg/day, patients should be on ARICEPT 10 mg/day for at least 3 months. The starting dose of ARICEPT is 5 mg/day and can be increased to 10 mg/day after 4‑6 weeks. Please take ARICEPT as prescribed by the doctor.


  • ARICEPT (donepezil HCl) is not for everyone, including people who are allergic to any ingredients in ARICEPT or to medicines that contain piperidines.

  • Tell the doctor that the patient takes ARICEPT before they have any procedure that may require anesthesia, including dental and medical procedures or surgery.

  • ARICEPT may cause slow heartbeat and fainting. This happens more often in people with heart problems. Call the doctor right away if the patient faints while taking ARICEPT. People may also have seizures while taking ARICEPT. They may also have difficulty passing urine. Lung problems, including asthma, may worsen with the use of ARICEPT.

  • In a study, more side effects were seen with ARICEPT 23 mg than with ARICEPT 10 mg. Many more people taking ARICEPT 23 mg experienced nausea and vomiting than those taking ARICEPT 10 mg. These side effects may get better after the patient takes ARICEPT for a while.

  • People at risk for stomach ulcers or who take certain other medicines, such as aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), should tell their doctor because serious stomach problems, such as bleeding, may get worse.

  • Other side effects that were seen more often with ARICEPT 23 mg were stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, and weight loss. People of lower weight (less than 121 lbs) may have increased nausea, vomiting, and weight loss when taking ARICEPT 23 mg.

  • Other side effects of ARICEPT may include diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, vomiting, or muscle cramps. Some people may feel tired or may have loss of appetite.

  • Tell the doctor if your loved one takes nonprescription or prescription medicines, including those used to treat Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease; anticholinergic medicines, such as allergy or cold medicine; medicines to treat bladder or bowel spasms; or certain asthma medicines.