Unfortunately, the odds of avoiding some type of dementia, namely Alzheimer’s, are not good.
Currently 1-in-10 people age 65 or older have Alzheimer’s 32% of people over the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s, and every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops the disease.
While deaths by things like stroke (52% decrease), heart disease (14%), and breast cancer (2%) declined between 200 and 2013 in the U.S., the death rate caused by Alzheimer’s INCREASED 71%. That’s an enormous 123 point spread and that is certainly a cause for alarm.
Alzheimer’s / dementia is an epidemic. With such a bleak outlook, what can our society do today, RIGHT NOW? Here are some ideas:
- Don’t Avoid the Diagnosis: If you or a loved one is facing the tangible symptoms of dementia don’t avoid getting a diagnosis. Research is beginning to show the sooner a person is diagnosed, the longer health and memory are being maintained.
- Discuss the Disease, its Impacts, and your desires: Avoiding the topic only sets up a more difficult situation to deal with later. Talk NOW with family, friends, your doctor, and anyone else that could be impacted while you can control what your future looks like.
- Prepare Legal & Financial Matters: Legal documents should be reviewed with a qualified attorney. All financial accounts should be tracked by a trusted third-party advisor. Budgets reviewed to track normal spending, and stop-losses placed to keep unnecessary spending and risk of financial abuse at bay.
- Healthy Living Can Help: Exercise like walking, swimming, playing tennis, etc. has shown a positive impact on the condition of not only the heart but the brain. Stay active in a meaningful way. Diet also impacts brain health. Invest in time with your doctor and a dietician to create an exercise and diet plan suited to you as an individual.
- Acknowledge the Risk: Whether you are a potential caregiver, or facing a potential diagnosis yourself, or you are simply interested in learning about dementia, acknowledging the risk and the disease is a strong first step to dealing with the potential impacts on society, and each of us as individuals.
While Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, with no known cure or treatment, there are ways to deal with facing a diagnosis and helping loved ones who are facing the disease. Currently, proactive planning (healthy living, financial and legal etc.) or better stated, PREVENTION, is the only known “treatment” to deal with Alzheimer’s.
Will Parrish, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ CDFA™ is a founding partner of Slate, Disharoon, Parrish and Associates, LLC, and is located in Knoxville, Tennessee specializing in services for medical professionals, business owners, and corporate executives, and divorce financial planning. Feel free to contact Will with questions via email firstname.lastname@example.org or directly by phone at (865) 357-7373. Visit their website, www.sdp-planning.com.
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