Almost 7 million people are currently living with Alzheimer’s in the United States and that figure is only expected to increase in the coming years. Because Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, those who have been diagnosed with the disease will eventually need various levels of care. If a loved one was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and you plan on being a caregiver, you need to know what to expect. Toward that end, the Los Angeles elder law attorneys at Schomer Law Group, APC discuss Alzheimer’s disease and offer some tips for effective caregiving.
Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease
According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s disease is “a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.” The most common cause of dementia among older adults, Alzheimer’s symptoms typically begin when a person is in their 60s. Currently, one out of every nine people aged 65 and older is living with Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. While the onset of severe symptoms can take years, Alzheimer’s will eventually result in severe alteration of brain cells causing physical and mental impairment that requires round the clock care. Long before the end stages of Alzheimer’s however, a sufferer will require increasing levels of care.
Tips for Caregiving When a Loved One Has Alzheimer’s Disease
If you are currently providing, or plan to provide care to a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, be prepared for your caregiving to affect you physically, emotionally, and financially. To manage the impact your caregiving has on you and your immediate family, consider the following tips:
- Consult with medical professionals early and often. An important key to caring for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s is having a thorough understanding of the disease and how it is impacting your loved one. You need to know what stage your loved one is in and what to expect next to provide effective care.
- Make sure you have the legal authority you need. At some point it will become necessary for someone to take control of assets and make healthcare decisions for your loved one. If you are the designated person for either or both, now is the time to make sure that authority will be transferred to you when the time comes by having your loved one execute the appropriate estate planning documents.
- Ask for an accept help. It is mentally and physically exhausting to provide care to someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Recognize when you need help and ask friends and family members to step up and help. If someone offers to pitch in, accept the help.
- Join a support group. Joining a local support group is a great way to manage the stresses that come with providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s. It also reminds you that you are not alone. One way to find a local support group is through the Alzheimer’s Association website.
- Know when it is time to move to long-term care. The time will likely come when you simply cannot safely provide care for your loved one because the disease has reached the final stages. At that point, it is important to recognize that moving your loved one to a long-term care facility may be necessary both for his/her safety and for your own mental and physical health.
Do You Have Questions about Caregiving for Someone with Alzheimer’s?
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or other elder law issues, contact the experienced Los Angeles elder law attorneys at Schomer Law Group APCby calling (310) 337-7696 to schedule an appointment.