World Alzheimer’s Day is September 21. Did you know that this is an international campaign to raise dementia awareness and challenge stigma? Over 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia, and that number is expected to triple by 2050.
Dementia is a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes which impact memory, thinking, behavior, and emotion. Alzheimer’s Disease and vascular dementia are the most common types of dementia, responsible for up to 90% of cases.
Even though many people believe dementia is an inevitable part of aging, research suggests that people may be able to reduce their risk. Generally speaking, the research indicates that what is good for your heart may be good for your brain. Be physically active. Follow a healthy diet. Challenge your brain with new activities. Enjoy social activities. Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity all appear to contribute to developing dementia later in life. If you have heart disease, seek out effective treatment.
While it can be important for everyone to plan for the future, legal plans may be especially important for a person diagnosed with dementia. The sooner these plans are put in place, the more likely that the person living with dementia will be able to participate in the process.
A person with dementia should consider putting several legal tools in place to protect themselves and loved ones. For instance, a health care surrogate, that gives a trusted friend or family member the power to make health care decisions, may be put in place. Additionally, a durable power of attorney for finances, which allows a trusted individual to take over financial decisions and control of bank accounts may be a good idea. The person with dementia should also consider having a will or trust to set forth who will receive which assets upon passing. It can also be beneficial for the person to have a living will that sets out the specific types of care that he or she wants or does not want to receive at the end of life.
The best time to prepare for a diagnosis of dementia can often be before it happens. Give us a call today to help you plan now, so you can be ready if you or someone you love is diagnosed.