Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia have a devastating impact on people’s lives. According to the World Alzheimer Report 2015, there are over 46 million people suffering from dementia. That is a staggering figure. Even worse is the future view – it is estimated that there will be over 131 million people suffering from dementia by the year 2050.
Thankfully, I have not had to experience, first hand, the emotional impacts of living with or suffering through dementia. It takes the strength of Hercules to be the support and the stability for a loved one suffering from the disease. I recently read an article by CNN discussing one man’s struggle as he was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. The article imparts interesting insight into the mindset of those whose memories are fading. Alarmingly, most people do not consult with their doctors as warning signs emerge.
As an estate planning attorney, I see the struggles of families trying to do what is best for their loved ones. Many times, it is the person suffering who is the biggest hurdle. He or she is gripping onto the control they once knew, and the fear of losing it makes them grip tighter; they almost become their own worst enemy.
As I put together estate plans that help give legal authority for a trusted friend or family member to step in to assist in these times, I try to emphasize and remind my clients to “store these thoughts” as to the “why” and the “when” their son or daughter will step in to help them. I stress that the plan is in place to help make that difficult time easier by allowing the person they chose to continue to pay bills and find the care and support they need to continue to live their life.
It is a difficult time. I hope that I am fortunate enough to not have to experience it firsthand. I am thankful that each of my family members have a plan in place so we will be able to legally support each other if Alzheimer’s befalls any one of us.
Make sure your plan is in place. Getting the right advice and having the right pieces in your plan is critical to making that difficult time just a little easier. Call us today, and one of our estate planning attorneys will review and discuss what you need in your plan.
Contributed by Morris Hall PLLC Estate Planning Attorney and Partner, James P. Plitz.
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This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.
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C S says
My parents have a Living Trust and recently updated it. We have this situation with my mother having Alzheimer’s dementia and there is nothing in place for her regarding this disease.
How can we further define in detail my mother’s care? We need to do this now because her decline is coming more quickly. She goes in and out of reality of her disease, mostly, not self-aware.
Please advise what to do. Siblings all agree that mom needs to be in better care. She has no stimulation, socialization, help in meals, housework, etc. Dad has his own medical issues that have put him in the hospital with no plan for mom when he goes in. It becomes a fire drill and she is not able to understand that she cannot be alone overnight.
Morris Hall says
I can only imagine what you and your family are going through. Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease. The good news is that your parents have put the legal plan in place, and made sure it is up-to-date. This is the critical piece to make sure the legal authorities are in place. Now it is time to utilize those tools. Sitting down with your attorney to talk about the next steps to make sure that the people who have been picked to be decision makers are in place making those decisions.
AssistedL Living Prescott says
I completely agree. If you or someone you love shows signs of Alzheimer’s or Dementia you need to speak to an estate planner like Morris Hall. I have seen more times than I can count poor planning create devastating results for a family that felt uncomfortable speaking to their loved one about estate planning before their Alzheimer’s or Dementia progressed too far. If you aren’t sure if someone you love has Alzheimer’s, Dementia or Memory Loss, take this test: http://www.assistedlivingprescott.com/alzheimers-test.html