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Planning for future needs in the wake of a dementia or Alzheimer's diagnosis

While it's the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and ultimately affects one-third of elderly adults, many people fail to truly understand what Alzheimer's disease is or how it affects those who are both directly and indirectly impacted. Currently, more than 5 million Americans are believed to be living with the disease and, as individuals who make up the baby boomer population continue to age, that number is expected to "nearly triple...to a projected 13.8 million."

Currently there is no way to prevent, slow the progression of or cure Alzheimer's disease. There are, however, steps that an individual and his or her family members can take to ensure for one's future care and financial security, as well as that of a spouse, as the disease progresses.

While it's important for all Americans to take steps to establish a long-term care plan, doing so is especially important for individuals who have a genetic predisposition for or who have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

When making decisions with regard to long-term care planning, the following matters should be considered and accounted for.

  • Future living arrangements
  • Future medical care and possible interventions
  • Management of one's finances
  • Management and ownership of property
  • Providing for a spouse

Contemplating and making decisions about these types of matters can be difficult and emotionally and mentally draining. It's wise, therefore, that individuals and family members who are dealing with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's discuss their questions, concerns and future goals with an attorney who handles estate planning.

Source: Alzheimer's Association, "legal plans: Assisting a person with dementia in planning for the future," July 7, 2015

Alzheimer's Association," 2015 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures," July 7, 2015

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