November 1, 2012
The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be heartbreaking for both the person afflicted with the illness and their family members. Alzheimer’s, a common form of dementia, is a brain disorder that seriously affects one’s ability to carry out daily activities. Today, 5.4 million Americans are living with it.
Alzheimer’s disease begins slowly. The most common early symptom of the disease is difficulty remembering newly learned information, because changes usually begin in the part of the brain that affects learning. Over time, the symptoms progressively get worse. The disease leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including disorientation, mood and behavior changes, deepening confusion about events, time and place, unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers, increasingly serious memory loss, and behavior changes, including wandering away from home, difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking. Eventually the person will require total care. This can cause great stress on family members and loved ones.
Signs of Alzheimer’s disease may be more apparent to friends and family members, as people afflicted may have difficulty recognizing that they have a problem. If one is suspicious of a loved one experiencing Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, it is imperative to have the loved one see a physician as soon as possible.
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease puts a person his family in a position where they face special legal and financial issues. Alzheimer’s planning includes medical and nursing care, housing options, financial management, estate planning, and asset protection, which may include Medicaid planning. All too often, individuals will hesitate on making important decisions because of the slow progression of the disease. This is a mistake, as any delay can prevent that individual’s meaningful input while their cognitive impairments deteriorate. ...
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by: Todd C. Ratner