What Steps Should I Take if I Suspect or Am Diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimer's Disease?Dementia is not one specific disease. According to the Mayo Clinic “dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning.” Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in older adults.
Diagnosing Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
A diagnosis of dementia requires that as least two of the following core mental functions be impaired enough to interfere with daily living: memory, language skills, ability to focus and pay attention, ability to reason and problem solve, and visual perception.
To diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, doctors will assess memory problems, run laboratory tests to rule out other disorders, and possibly conduct brain imaging tests (MRI, CT, or PET scan) to look for degeneration of cells.
Steps To Take After Diagnosis
There are a number of ways that you can take care of yourself and your family should any type of mental incapacity occur.
Follow Your Treatment Plan
There are currently no cures for degenerative dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, though there are a number of medications that will reduce symptoms. The Mayo Clinic suggests establishing and strengthening routine habits and minimizing memory-demanding tasks.
Financial Considerations
Dementia may affect your ability to pay your bills on time. It may remove you from the workforce sooner than you had anticipated. If you suspect you may have, or have been diagnosed with dementia, it is important that you get your financial affairs in order. It is also important that you determine how you are going to pay for the costs of Long-Term Care if it becomes necessary.
Further, it is critical that you designate an attorney in fact to manage your financial affairs in the event that you become incapacitated.
Estate Planning
Proper Estate Planning helps you get your financial affairs in order, designate agents to handle your finances and make medical decisions for you if you are not able to do so yourself, protect assets, and allow for a less burdensome condition for your family after your death.
When you or a loved one receives a diagnosis of degenerative dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or another serious medical condition, the impact can be devastating for you and your family. If you are in this situation, it is important that you take immediate steps in order to ensure that your wishes are carried out with respect to your financial affairs and your health care decisions.
At Elder Law Group PLLC we know that making arrangements for the eventuality of aging, Long-Term Care, and mental or physical incapacity can be very stressful and emotional. We strive to remove some of the burden from you and your family by helping you create an estate plan that addresses your needs in detail.
Contact us or call (509) 468-0551 (Spokane office), or (509) 579-0206 (Tri-Cities office) to learn more about Estate Planning or other legal needs of seniors, the disabled, or vulnerable adults and their families.