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End-of-life planning is not just for people who are about to pass away. It is for anyone who wants to ensure they will be cared for when they can no longer care for themselves, and for anyone who wants to care for their loved ones in that process. Here are five critical reasons you should start forming your end-of-life plan today.

Most people don’t want to think about the health-related what-ifs that come with aging, let alone talk about them—especially with family. Nonetheless, having a plan in place that you’ve put together as a family can free everyone up to focus on each other, instead of worrying about where the money will come from

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for about 65% of cases. Although deaths from other major diseases have decreased or remained the same, Alzheimer’s deaths have increased substantially. In the US alone, AD afflicts approximately 7 million older people, thus impacting the caregivers as well. Since the hallmarks of the disease - plaques and tangles - were discovered by Dr. Alzheimer in 1906, there have been only 2 classes of FDA approved medications developed to treat the symptoms of AD and some other related dementias.

Life provides us with many challenging moments. As I write this we are in the middle of a global pandemic. If that wasn’t a challenge enough, simultaneously, some of us are also coping with a newly diagnosed medical condition, others placement into hospice care, a dementia care residence, or moving into a new home. During stressful times, taking a conscious inventory of our day to day self-care choices is so very important for our emotional and physical well-being.

Funding care needs for a loved one can be a challenging and scary thought. Those who are age 65 and older have more than a 70% chance of requiring long-term care during their lifetime according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 1 out of every 5 individuals will likely need extended care for more than five years. After identifying care needs and finding the right fit, one of the most important questions is – how will we pay for it?

For those that have experienced the doctor’s visit that changed their lives forever – the news came with a gamut of emotions. Thoughts of uncertainty, denial, shock and/or sorrow may be recalled as well as ambiguous feelings for the future. Once the initial shock subsides and facing the realities of life with dementia become more prominent, there is often so much to learn and so much to prepare. If that weren’t enough, not only are you trying to make sense of your own thoughts and emotions from day to day; but you are also trying to be attuned with what your loved one is also experiencing. Considering all these aspects for the journey ahead, there is hope in the early stages of dementia!

Do you know someone with Parkinson’s? I’m always amazed by how many people not only know someone, but know someone in their family. By that I mean a spouse, parent, grand-parent or other close relative. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, “Nearly one million will be living with Parkinson's disease (PD) in the U.S. by 2020."

I’m a Nurse Practitioner with 18 years of experience caring for people with dementia. My specialty is research, or more specifically, clinical trial research aimed at the discovery of new treatments and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Here are some of the most common questions I’m asked about dementia.

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"I like that IMCC focuses on dementia-related problems and provides a focal point for families to network and socially interact in coping with dementia. It provides a community that helps us in our struggle."