Opinion: Resolve this year to plan ahead for loved ones facing Alzheimer’s disease

A patient with Alzheimer’s disease. Courtesy centers for disease control

New Year’s resolutions are nothing new. Most of us grew up making New Year’s resolutions, from commitment to the gym (have you ever tried to find an open treadmill for the first two weeks of January?) To personal goals. , professional or financial.

For families and people facing a Alzheimer’s disease early diagnosis, no resolution could be more important than planning ahead.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease for which there is no known cure. At an advanced stage, people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are unable to make good financial and personal decisions.

The most responsible thing parents, or in the absence of close family friends, can do is work with their loved one to plan for the future they want. A plan that allows them to maintain their dignity, preserve their assets, continue to enjoy their hobbies and passions, while reducing the burden on the family caregivers who will be responsible for managing their care.

Here are some things that should be considered by people with early stage dementia and their loved ones:

Finance – Organize your documents and take an inventory of all your assets and debts. Identify family members who should be included in your financial plans, including those who will help you with day-to-day financial responsibilities like paying bills. Talk to a financial planner or CPA.

Lifestyles – Take into account the wishes of the person with Alzheimer’s. Identify the costs of care. Consider the costs you could incur now and in the future. Review home safety changes and make arrangements for prescriptions, personal care items and home care options, including Meals on wheels and others.

Building a care team – Family, friends, neighbors, professionals and your community are all part of your healthcare team. Start building your team by identifying a decision maker you trust. Think about what help you might need now and in the future.

Consider a clinical lead – The Alzheimer association Trial match connects people living with Alzheimer’s disease, caregivers and healthy volunteers to clinical trials that may advance Alzheimer’s disease research. TrialMatch allows users to search for studies without creating an account, choose to receive email notifications of new opportunities, and contact research teams directly.

Consult your doctor – Perhaps the most important resolution you can take, if you notice that your cognitive abilities are starting to weaken, or that of a close friend or family member, is to talk to your healthcare professional. health screening for Alzheimer’s disease. Early diagnosis is essential, leaving the most time for lifestyle improvement techniques and financial decisions to preserve assets.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to make smart decisions that will change your life. Plan ahead. It is now.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 hotline at 800-272-3900 or go to alz.org.

Douglas Friedman is the Director of Communications for the San Diego / Imperial Chapter of the National Alzheimer’s Association.

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