Dementia diseases are one of the most common and debilitating diseases for those over 60 years of age. In general, dementia is an irreversible and degenerative disease - meaning that it gets worse over time.
Dementia can lessen one's ability to process and retain information, problem-solve, complete multi-step tasks and can even cause changes in personality and unusual behavior. The risk of Dementia increases with age and is rarely seen in people under 60 years old.
There are various types of Dementia, with the most common being Alzheimer's disease. Other forms include Vascular Dementia, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Frontotemporal Dementia, Creutz-Jakob disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and a few others that are less common.
Common Signs and Symptoms
- Memory loss, especially affecting short-term memory
- Difficulties with language and communication
- Deteriorating cognitive skills (such as calculation, abstract thought, judgment)
- Getting lost at familiar places or on familiar routes
- Personality changes and diminishing social skills
- Loss of interest in favorite hobbies and activities
- Difficulty with common and familiar tasks
- Poor judgment, especially worrisome in dangerous situations
Prevention and Treatment
So far, knowledge on the treatment, cause and prevention of dementia is very limited. Currently there is no cure and no definitive known cause. Some treatments are available which target the specific symptoms of dementia, but most have shown minimal results. Treatments can also vary depending on the type of dementia.
As there is no known cause, methods of prevention are highly speculative. It is always recommended that one eat healthy, exercise and avoid habits that negatively affect ones health in order to lesson the odds of later developing a wide variety of diseases, including Dementia.
What to Do Now?
If you or a loved one are suffering from any form of Dementia, there are some important steps to take.
1. See your physician for an official diagnosis. Be sure to ask questions and get as much information as you can from your practitioner.
2. Make a plan for the future that entails who will serve as a caretaker; would in-home assistance or a nursing home be preferred; how to pay for care; who to designate for important legal, financial and healthcare decisions.
3. Get all legal affairs in order.
Getting Legal Affairs in Order
During the course of Dementia, mental functioning continues to deteriorate, creating an ever increasing need for support and assistance. It is imperative that one or more persons are selected to handle financial, medical, healthcare and other important decisions on the behalf of the individual suffering from dementia.
Setting up a Power of Attorney (POA), Healthcare Power of Attorney (HPOA) a Living Will and a HIPAA document are imperative. For superior protection of a loved one and their assets a living trust should also be created. These various documents are crucial for ensuring that your loved one is taken care of and that trustworthy individuals are legally designated to handle important affairs.
Morris Hall (MH) has focused on estate planning for forty years and can help guide you and your loved one in the direction that will best help you prepare for the road ahead. Our attorneys and our life care specialists can help you with everything from legal planning, financial assistance, help for caregivers, additional resources and more.
Find out more information and schedule a free consultation by calling 888.222.1328 or visiting us online at Morristrust.com.
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.