When we think of Alzheimer’s disease, we often think only about the later stages, when symptoms like memory loss and cognitive decline are at their most severe. If you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, or you have risk factors for developing the disease, it’s important to remember that symptoms don’t come on all at once. Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia generally progress slowly, in stages. By planning for these stages, you can get the most out of life while your symptoms progress.
At Slutsky Elder Law, we often work with clients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Today, we would like to share some advice about estate planning, medical care, and other topics of concern to seniors living with Alzheimer’s.
Shortly after your diagnosis, you may notice some changes taking place. You may have trouble finding the right word, or you may have difficulty remembering the names and faces of people you have known for years. If you are in this stage, don’t lose hope; there are some actions you can take to reduce your symptoms and plan for the future.
Talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes and medications that can improve your cognitive function and slow the disease’s progression. You may also want to think about important estate planning considerations that will make future decisions easier for you and your loved ones. Talk to your support system, including family members and close friends about topics like powers of attorney, guardianship declarations, long term care planning, and life insurance. Making these decisions now, while your symptoms are relatively mild will put you in a better position to have a good quality of life for as long as possible.
This is the stage where your symptoms become more pronounced and begin to have a larger impact on your life. You may have trouble taking care of yourself, driving, planning, and more. The people closest to you may even start to see changes in your personality. This is where your support system comes in. Your loved ones can help you with errands like grocery shopping and cleaning your house.
Alzheimer’s symptoms become most pronounced in the late stage, and you may require a higher level of care than your loved ones can provide. You will most likely need to consider hiring a skilled healthcare professional to assist you with your activities of daily living. You may even need to think about moving to a senior living community that specializes in memory care. In this case, the planning you put in during your earliest stages of Alzheimer’s will help cover the costs, and documents like powers of attorney will allow your trusted friends and family to make medical and financial decisions for you if you are unable to do so. In addition, having an estate plan in place that includes a living will can give you peace of mind as you approach the end of your life.
Planning for Alzheimer’s in Montgomery County and Chester County, PA
The most important thing about preparing for the stages of Alzheimer’s is developing a plan and a legal framework for your life moving forward. Slutsky Elder Law can help you accomplish this goal in Montgomery County, PA and surrounding areas. We are experienced guardianship attorneys in Chester County, PA and Delaware County, and we can help you prepare important legal documents like wills, powers of attorney, guardianship declarations, and more.