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Wife of Retired Military - Husband Diagnosed with Alzheimers


EODCMC

Question

Hi everyone. It has been quite some time since my last visit, regrettably. This site is eerily similar to my relationship with God. I seem to only call on him when I need help. Although, Theresa (Tbird) is the closest I’ve seen to an angel on earth.

I’m trying to help a friend of my wife. Only, to get her in the right direction to get professional help. Leony has been married to a retired military veteran for more than 40 years, still married, still loving and living together.

The retired veteran has had multiple operations recently including but not limited to the heart. He was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. His symptoms were getting serious enough to over-ride his stubbornness resisting doctors. He has become recalcitrant, cantankerous, and paranoid recently. Aside from the hardship of caring for her husband (without complaint) she is growing desperate because her husband has growing lapses in providing his share of the household bills. This is worsening. When she asked him to allow her access to do this, he gets very defensive and blows up at her.  Although she still works and pays for the household food and some other things, the mortgage and utilities are on him and there have been some troubling letters from them. He has always been reclusive where the family finances are concerned but his mental health is worsening and she doesn’t know where to turn

He is 30 year military retired veteran. She doesn’t know if he ever applied for VA disability. She lives near a Naval base and a VA Regional. I don’t know if I should direct her toward the base legal office or the VA. If anyone has some advice I would surely pass it on.  

Again, thanks in advance and my deep regards to Theresa…you have helped so many.

Respectfully, Jim C

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Jim, thanks for helping a veteran. Shortest and easiest answer I can give you is to call the Patient Advocate's Office at the VA Regional Office. You need to find out if he is under VA care and also if he has current service connected disabilities. In all likelihood he is going to have to get an evaluation and if found to be incompetent,  a financial person to take over the finances for him; either a relative or an appointee. He may also be in line for additional compensation. A good VSO could be a potential good alternative option, but if he is combative, it isn't going to be easy. Without his cooperation, you won't get to first base until irreparable damage has been done. 

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  • Content Curator/HadIt.com Elder

To add to what @GBArmy recommended, unless you have the appropriate power of attorney for the retired veteran, the VA will not talk with you about him at all. He or his wife will need to do the legwork. One factor to keep in mind is Agent Orange. If we was in any of the presumptive areas/date ranges, he could potentially benefit from that. I know a lot of older veterans exposed to AO might suffer from "Parkinson's like symptoms", which is covered by presumptive criteria.

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Thanks Vync and it’s good to see you are still volunteering your time to this great community. As I intimated, I just want to point her in the right direction. She has been, and still is the kind of spouse that leaves the finances to her husband. She has never seen a RAS and has no idea what her husband makes. She just knows he retired as an E-7 in 2007. Can she inquire with the VA without her husband’s consent? Anyway, I will point her in that direction. She can pursue if and when he situation becomes untenable. 

It’s a good lesson for some folks out there. Each family situation is different. I sit with my wife at least once a year and whenever she wants…to go over everything. Steps to take in case something happens to me including passwords, insurance, will and state of affairs. I do this with my daughters too, although they push back every time.

Thanks again.

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  • Moderator

I have a son in law who would not apply for VA benefits "even tho" he has a purple heart from shrapnel in his head and feet.  

Finally a VSO convinced him partially to go for it.  He got 70 percent.  I think he is going for 100 percent now. 

I have 3 possible courses of action:

1.  Contact a VSO who would talk to him.  Vets trust other Vets and often no one else.  

2.  Contact a financial/estate planner.  There is something about the reality of ones death which may sway a man to care for his spouse.  But, the suggestion would come from him.  Brief the planner before the visit.  (Make an appointment for him).  

One benefit is some vets are eligible for 10,000 free life insurance, but only after you get your va benefits.  

3.  The last resort is to contact an attorney and ask for him to be declared incompetent to manage finances.  (VA mental health docs can do that, and have appointed a fiduciary.  

     We can not force people to make good choices..they have to want to.  

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  • Content Curator/HadIt.com Elder

@EODCMCWell, before I had a heart attack in 2019, I just handled VA-related issues by myself and split the financials with my wife. However, while I was out of work recovering for three months, I went to the JAG office at the nearby Air Force base and they drew up all the wills and POA's for my wife to act in my absence. Keep in mind there are varying types of POAs and you need to be certain you can trust someone with the decision. The VSO's will generally have you sign a POA so they can file claims and act on your behalf like @broncovetdescribed. I still retain POA with the state VSO. They have helped with some forms and have access to VBMS so I can get claims decisions printed out instead of having to wait for them to arrive in the mail.

Some medications, such as Aricept may help pause/slow the cognitive decline of Alzheimer's. Because the inevitable will eventually happen, recommend they ensure all of the burial arrangements are made well in advance. My father is also a retired E-7 in his 70s and did this years ago. When the time comes I know exactly how to handle things the way he wants and who gets what so there's no fuss or worry.

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