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November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month!

In 1983, President Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month.  At that time, fewer than 2 million Americans were recognized as having Alzheimer’s disease.  Today, there are over 5.5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease.  Further, it is expected that by 2050, there will be an estimated 14 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  With these staggering numbers, and being November, we at O’Connell Law are proud to help spread awareness about this disease.
Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease and is a form of dementia.  Dementia is actually not a disease.  Dementia is the term used to describe a group of symptoms.  There are many different types of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is one of them.  Alzheimer’s disease is also recognized to be the most prevalent form of dementia and is the best known.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are ten early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s:
1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life – such as forgetting recently learned information, forgetting important dates or event, asking the same questions over and over, and increasingly needing to rely on memory aids or family members.
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems – such as trouble with following a recipe or keeping track of monthly bills.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks – such as having trouble driving to a familiar location.
4. Confusion with time or place – such as forgetting where they are or how they got there.
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships – such as trouble judging distance or trouble reading.
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing – such as struggling with naming a familiar object or using the wrong word for the object.
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps – such as losing things and/or putting things in unusual places.
8. Decreased or poor judgment – such as using poor judgment when dealing with money or paying less attention to grooming and keeping themselves clean.
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities – since a person with Alzheimer’s disease may have trouble holding or following a conversation, they may withdraw from normal activities.
10. Changes in mood and personality – a person with Alzheimer’s may become easily upset, confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious. 

The Alzheimer’s Association on its website encourages those who are showing any of the above signs to schedule an appointment with their doctor.  The Alzheimer’s Association notes that early detection matters.  Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease at this time, early detection can at least help you look into treatments that can provide some relief of systems and help you live independently longer.
At our firm, we’ve encountered too many people who are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease who feel lost and alone.  You aren’t.  Our guidance to you is that if you have a diagnosis, are worried about one, or if you are the caregiver of someone diagnosed with Alzheimer, planning as early as possible is essential.  Set that appointment to get checked by your doctor and keep pushing until you feel you have a thorough prognosis.  Then, schedule with an attorney who focuses on dementia and Alzheimer’s in order to get your legal affairs in order while you have capacity to do so.  Planning early gives you more options and helps you prepare for additional care as the disease progresses.  

To help get you started, we’ve put together some very short books to help you plan for the progression of this disease and also serve as a resource guide.  We are happy to send a book to you.  To take advantage of our offer, just give our office a call at 508-893-4935.