The numbers are hard to read: One out of eight Americans 65 years of age and older have Alzheimer’s disease. For 85 year olds and older, 43 percent of them have Alzheimer’s. In the U.S., Alzheimer’s develops in someone, on average, every 69 seconds.
But again and again, I see clients and family members who are hesitant to even consider the disease as a reason to ensure estate planning and long-term care is in place. Alzheimer’s disease is not an easy condition to contemplate for ourselves or for our loved one in the future, but it’s made much worse without compassionate care and financial security in place.
What are some of the early signs that indicate there may be an issue?
- Trouble with previously routine tasks like balancing a checkbook or following a multi-step task
- Increased forgetfulness, like missing bill payments
- Increased cognitive impairment, like putting things away in odd places or forgetting names or places
- Decreased personal hygiene
- Signs of depression and isolation<
These signs are all red flags. They may not mean anything serious, or they may indicate that something more is going on. The first step is a cognitive assessment by a physician, but you should also take steps to ensure finances are also in place before more damage can be done.
Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure all the proper documents have been secured, any will is up-to-date, a living will is put into place and long term care plans are clarified.
Christopher J. Berry is a Michigan Alzheimer’s Planning planning lawyer and Medicaid planning attorney dedicated to helping seniors, veterans and their families navigate the long-term care maze. To learn more visit http://www.michiganelderlawattorney.com/ or call 248.481.4000