Articles Tagged with Dementia

9.30.19It’s a hard thing to imagine: what would your life be like, if you were not able to take care of yourself? Not being able to manage your physical or financial needs, drive, leave your home without assistance, or do any of the things that you do now as a legally competent, abled-bodied person?

Being incapacitated means that someone has to be named to carry out your health care and manage your finances. Without a plan, courts usually get involved, and often people who don’t know the person needing help are the ones who make decisions for them. With a plan, as described in The Post-Searchlight’s recent article, “How to go about planning for incapacity,” you have the ability to tell what your wishes would be for health care and name someone to be in charge of your financial and legal affairs.

Incapacity can strike at any time. Advancing age can bring dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and a serious illness or accident can happen suddenly. Therefore, it’s a real possibility that you or your spouse could become unable to handle your own medical or financial affairs.

7.26.19The progressive nature of dementia makes advance directives necessary to manage the health care needs of the patient.

When adult children suspect that one or both of their parents may be suffering from the early symptoms of dementia, it’s a good idea to sit down with an experienced elder care attorney to start planning for the legal issues that will follow, says The Roanoke Times in the article “What to do in absence of advance directive.” If the parent is unwilling to cooperate, the attorney will be able to refer the family to a social worker or other professional who may be able to assist. In addition, a geriatric evaluation consultation with a board-certified geriatrician will help to clarify the medical issues.

It’s wise for anyone older than 55 to have advance directives in place, should they become incapacitated so a trusted agent can fulfill the patient’s wishes in a dignified manner. Think ahead and plan ahead.

10.22.18A healthy life where you retain all your faculties and enjoy yourself, is definitely preferred to decades of dementia. We don’t get to choose, but we can plan.

As Baby Boomers continue to change the face of aging, and so many embrace the idea of genetic testing, many are confronted with a harsh picture of what their future may bring. If that includes dementia, there are facts you need to know and myths that need to be uncovered.

The (Bryan TX) Eagle’s recent article, “Alzheimer’s disease: Five common myths, busted,” reports that, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. There are up to 5.7 million individuals who live and die with the disease, which makes it the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. The article provides five common myths about Alzheimer’s disease.

10.15.18Professionals who have had clients with family members suffering from dementia have a greater understanding of the challenges these families face. However, living through the experience personally is totally different.

When a loved one receives a diagnosis of dementia, as described in this deeply personal article from Financial Advisor, “The Limits of Financial and Estate Planning for Dementia,” the family has to begin immediately planning for the present and the future. It is a difficult journey. This story shares the family’s experience to help others.

The father was an extremely intelligent man, with a master’s degree in engineering and an MBA from a prestigious business school. When diagnosed with dementia, he and family members moved quickly to ensure that the correct documents were in place, working with a trusted estate planning attorney. The family’s plan worked well, as his father was able to be active for the early stages of the disease and never injured himself or anyone else.

10.1.18“H.4116 An Act Relative to Alzheimer’s And Related Dementias in The Commonwealth” is now law in Massachusetts, following an August 15 ceremony.

A ceremonial signing took place in Massachusetts Governor Baker’s office as community members, legislators and members of the administration gathered at the Alzheimer’s Association’s Waltham office, where the governor signed the new bill into law.

“Raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia is key to supporting the Massachusetts families who are impacted by this horrible disease,” Governor Baker remarked in an article in the Framingham Source, “Governor Baker Signs Law Strengthening Alzheimer’s and Dementia Treatment in Massachusetts.”

2.8.17You might think that any doctor seeing patients over a certain age would automatically screen for Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related diseases, but until now that has not been the case.

Starting in January, Medicare will now begin reimbursing doctors for screening and providing information about care planning for patients with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairment diseases. What seems like common sense public health policy, took many years of advocacy from patient groups.

Santa Cruz Sentinel’s recent article, “Diagnosing Alzheimer’s: Medicare now pays doctors to stop and assess memory loss,” reports that more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and as many as 16 million will have the disease in 2050.  The cost of caring for those with the disease and other types of dementia is also skyrocketing. In the U.S., it’s estimated to total $236 billion in 2016 and is anticipated to increase to $1.1 trillion by 2050.

Bigstock-Couple-running-bookshop-13904324As with the rest of America, Hawaiians are coping with a growing population of citizens over age 65 diagnosed with Alzheimer's, approximately 25,000 in total. Advocates, including members of a dementia task force under the Executive Office on Aging and members of the local Alzheimer's Association, are focusing on preparing professionals and caregivers to address the often complex needs of individuals with dementia.

A recent article in KHON, titled "Task force aims to help seniors living with dementia" recently reported on this.

James Pietsch, the director of the University of Hawaii Elder Law Program, told KHON that there are multiple tasks under this task force, one of which is supportive research to determine whether professionals are qualified or capable of handling these type of cases. Professionals like doctors, social workers, nurses, and lawyers need to be better prepared to handle issues involving dementia.

MP900407501Can you imagine not being notified if your parent had been injured, fell ill or had even passed away? With a recently increasing occurrence across the country, state representatives are proposing changes to ensure children have visitation rights to ailing parents.

Fox News shared Catherine Falk’s story in an article titled“'Columbo' daughter pushes for bill that protects the right to visit sick parents.” The daughter of Peter Falk, a five-time Emmy Award winner as Lt. Columbo, laughs as she recalls memories about her funny father, like forgetting about Christmas presents they had given him after he had put them in the trunk of his car, only to find them all there still the next year. But when he got sick, it was no laughing matter. Catherine claims she was kept out of the details of her father’s condition, including being able to see or talk to him. Thousands of adult children in America are finding themselves going through a similar experience.

In Falk’s case, she and her stepmother were locked in a court battle over conservatorship and access to Peter for years. In 2008, he became completely incapacitated from his advanced dementia. Catherine then decided to create the Catherine Falk Organization, which advocates for the rights of adult children to see their sick parents.

Signing documentAccounting for the possibility of your own and your loved one’s eventual mental incapacity is a key part of any estate plan. If your loved one appears to be showing signs of diminishing mental acuity, ask if he or she has the proper documents in place. If so, find out who his or her agent(s) are so that you can alert them.

What if you or a loved one develops dementia? If you didn’t have the mental capacity to take care of yourself or your finances at some point, what would happen? You need to be prepared.

A recent articlein Physician’s Monthly Digest, titled “Dealing With a Loved One’s Cognitive Decline Is Simpler with Right Legal Documents in Place,”says that a healthcare proxy and a durable power of attorney are key legal documents to have before there are any signs of mental incapacitation. The documents allow you to designate another person to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf once you are unable to do so. This can be your spouse, an adult child, a friend, or a trusted adviser. Without a power of attorney, your spouse will need a court order to access any non-joint accounts that you have.

Signing documentAlzheimer’s patients live for years with diminished mental skills, which makes it crucial that they make decisions early on about how their care should proceed.

Planning for one’s estate and for one’s late-in-life plans requires more than a bit of wherewithal. This is not only an empirical fact but also a legal one. Because Alzheimer’s and dementia affect the mind means certain legal choices, whether regarding healthcare or disposition of property to one’s heirs, simply have to be down and in writing well before they are questionable.

It’s a complex problem. Fortunately, there are some important tools to keep in mind early and get a plan in place. Some of the basics were helpfully pointed out in a LifeHealthPro article last month titled “4 things to know about Alzheimer’s and estate planning.

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