Delicate Planning for the Many Americans Dealing with Dementia
When people think of Dementia, they often think of Alzheimer’s specifically. This ignores the many Dementia patients who have one of several other diseases that severely impact their lives that fall under the umbrella of Dementia.
We take a wider approach to Dementia Planning to include Alzheimer’s patients and the patients who suffer from the many other forms of Dementia, such as:
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
- Frontotemporal Dementia
- Huntington’s Disease
- Korsakoff Syndrome
- Lewy Body Dementia
- Mixed Dementia
- Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
- Posterior Cortical Atrophy
- Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
- Vascular Dementia
Over 55 million people are estimated to suffer from a form of Dementia across the globe, with nearly 6 million of those living here in the United States. Dementia is also the 7th-leading cause of death around the world, according to the World Health Organization.
These diseases impair cognitive function, frequently leading to memory loss, a lack of clear thinking, personality changes, and significant interference with daily life. Dementia symptoms impact patients and their families in many ways, limiting the ability to work, spend quality time, continue lifelong hobbies, or socialize.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Direct and indirect costs of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, including Medicare and Medicaid costs and the indirect cost to business of employees who are caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s, amount to more than $148 billion annually.” Much of the cost of care is absorbed by a Dementia patient and their family out of their own pockets.
Caring for an individual with Dementia is not only expensive but also challenging. These patients will experience the disease in different ways at various stages of symptoms and life. Caregiver responsibilities can range from paying bills and balancing the checkbook to bathing and dressing. Many care options exist in the spectrum between living in a private residence and going to live in a nursing home. Unfortunately, many families assisting a loved one with Dementia believe a nursing home is the only option due to a lack of access to information about more viable, affordable options.
“Wandering” is a common symptom of Dementia and can be a serious safety hazard for anyone suffering along with one of the biggest challenges for caregivers. We have all heard horror stories about someone with Dementia getting disoriented, leaving their home, and wandering in the woods in the dead of winter. Caregivers can take measures of protection by securing the environment to prevent or contain wandering.
Additionally, enrolling in the safe return program, sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association, provides additional assistance. This government-funded program has a national database of information and photos of those registered to help bring them home safely. To enroll in the program, contact the Alzheimer’s Association at 1-800-272-3900 or link to the Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return program website at http://www.alz.org/SafeReturn
When you are ready, our attorneys are here to help. We have helped many families explore options of care as well as develop an asset protection plan so that property and life savings are protected from the cost of such care. Find a lawyer near you or meet the Dementia-Focused Practice Lawyers.