Every minute, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. It is the most prevalent form of dementia in the United States, and chances are it has affected someone you know or love dearly. While no two cases of Alzheimer's look the same, and progression may not advance as quickly for one patient as it does for another, it is important to be cognizant of the signs if you care for elderly parents and loved ones. How can you help a parent exhibiting signs of dementia?
Common Symptoms of Early-Onset Alzheimer's
Recognizing the early signs of Alzheimer's Disease and dementia can help you obtain the care your loved one needs faster. Some of the early symptoms include memory loss, confusion, agitation, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, irritability, repetition of phrases or sentences, and rapid mood swings. Often symptoms may be more pronounced early in the evening. A loved one suffering with dementia might have difficulty concentrating, retaining new information or completing simple household tasks. This can be extremely dangerous if they are still driving or caring for young children. Do not ignore a decline in cognition or even a slight change in mood or demeanor. Speak to your loved one's primary care physician and ask for a referral to a neurologist or geriatrician who can help you identify a plan of care moving forward. Your parents or spouse might benefit from occupational therapy and home-health nursing. The family as a whole might also find counseling to process the diagnosis helpful.
Legal Planning for People Suffering From Dementia in Kentucky
Once a diagnosis has been made, you will want to speak to a licensed, experienced elder law attorney about your next steps. The more a client with early-onset dementia can contribute to long-term planning, the better the outcome. At a bare minimum, a spouse or adult child will want to discuss seeking a financial power of attorney to navigate complex financial issues and become custodian of the loved one's financial accounts. Patients with a new diagnosis will also want to consider designating a family member or trusted friend as an agent on a healthcare power of attorney, who can make health decisions on their behalf in the event they are physically or cognitively unable to do so. As long as a client diagnosed with dementia has the legal capacity to understand their diagnosis and the actions they must take to prepare, they should be involved in crisis or long-term care planning needs in addition to financial and legal measures they will want to consider. More about financial planning after a medical diagnosis will be addressed in a future blog post.
Contact the Elder Crisis Planning Attorneys at Darpel Elder Law
If you or a loved one were recently diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's Disease, it can be overwhelming and difficult to process. Rest assured, our attorneys at Darpel Elder Law specialize in crisis and long-term care planning for advanced stage illnesses and can help you form a plan of actions. We can also help you arrange your financial and legal affairs regarding tangible and intangible property. Let us help you prepare for this next stage of your life. We serve clients throughout Northern Kentucky and are standing by to take your call.