We all think we’re aware of the pain caused by Alzheimer’s disease, but unless you’ve watched a loved one’s memory fade away or acted as a caregiver to a dementia patient, you really don’t know what it feels like to watch someone you love disappear before you eyes. With holiday season quickly approaching, it will be an even more painful time for many families who won’t have the ability to enjoy the festivities with their loved one.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month — at the time, fewer than two million Americans had the disease. Today, more than five million are suffering from it, with over 500,000 victims dying annually, according to a report released by the Alzheimer’s Association. The report also showed that it is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. The late president died of Alzheimer’s disease on June 5, 2004. Just shy of a decade early, in November 1994, Reagan revealed in a handwritten letter to the American people that he had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
What many people don’t understand is that Alzheimer’s disease, a condition that affects cognition and memory, has an extremely devastating impact on the family members and caregivers of person suffering with the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association also reported that in 2013, there were 15.5 million people who acted as caregivers, providing an estimate of 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care.
Not everyone has the time or the money to sacrifice in order to act as caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients. In addition, many homes lack the necessary safety precautions and medical supplies necessary to provide a sanctuary for the Alzheimer’s patient. With the rising costs of nursing homes and other medical care facilities, without proper planning, caring for an Alzheimer’s patient is very costly.
If you are caring for someone suffering with this horrible disease, it’s OK to ask for help. When you speak with a social worker who has dedicated their life to helping families like yours, you will feel a huge burden lifted from your shoulders. Life Care Planning Coordinator Anne Markel-Crozier will help you through this; she will discuss your options for care for memory patients in your community.
Further, at Bratton Scott, our elder law attorneys focus on the legal aspects of life care planning. We will make sure your family member’s needs will be taken care of — now and in the future. We will explain all of your options involving Medicare, Medicaid and will lay out the best course of action to ensure the best medical care while preserving hard-earned assets.
Contact Bratton Scott today for a consultation about your family’s life care planning needs. We will meet with you to fully understand your family’s situation and work with you to create a care plan that effectively coordinates all of the various legal and health components. Call our office at 856-857-6000 to get started.