Do you have a family member with Alzheimer’s Disease? Are you familiar with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia or memory loss? Did you know that Alzheimer’s Disease is a type of dementia?  Your family member may have problems with memory, thinking, cognition, and behavior. However, often symptoms develop slowly and get worse over time.  The end-stages of the disease can become life-threatening, which may lead to a need for long-term care. Unfortunately, there is no cure. 

Be aware that for any possible treatment to be effective and improve the quality of life there needs to be an early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease.  The most widely recognized early warning sign is memory loss and knowing what to do about it could make all the difference in the treatment options. Additionally, that is why it is important for you to know that November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. This month is designed to promote awareness for Alzheimer’s and support for all those with Alzheimer’s Disease and their families.

The question is, though, how do you support a family member who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease? We have some key long-term care tips that we would like you to keep in mind when approaching your loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease. 

1.. Any changes in your older adult loved one? Have you noticed any changes in your loved one’s memory, thinking, or behavior? Are you concerned? Has anyone else noticed the same changes that you are seeing? Remember that early detection is crucial in diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease.  It is also crucial when there is a need for long-term care planning.

If you are beginning to notice changes in your older adult loved one, enough to be concerned, then write down your observations because over time your observations may help establish the difference between what could be Alzheimer’s Disease or the normal aging process. Keep in mind that a certain amount of memory loss and confusion is to be expected as adults age. And there may be other factors as well, such as prescription medications, stress, and additional health conditions. 

2. Be proactive in the care of your loved one by seeking help. Where should you go first for help? Your loved one’s physician. Begin by scheduling a doctor’s evaluation from your loved one’s doctor. You can also find help and support from a number of Alzheimer’s Disease organizations, memory loss assistance programs, and caring professionals. These people can assist with daily challenges, getting to medical appointments, and important legal and financial planning items. Our Florida law firm can help you plan for the future to determine what type of Florida estate plan and long-term care plan may be needed in the future for your loved one.

3. Communication between you, your loved one and your family. Talk to your loved one about your concerns in regard to his or her health and well being. Together you and your loved one should reach out and communicate with other family members. Talk about the needs right now of your loved one and his or her needs in the future, including will there be a need for long-term care? When you do have this conversation, remember, the key is to have compassion, understanding and support.

4. Decide, now, to obtain guidance from a qualified Florida elder law attorney. While estate planning is important to ensure your wishes are honored in the event of incapacity or death, equally important is creating a plan for your long-term care. What type of care would you want? How will you be able to afford it? Your elder law attorney will be able to provide you and your family with critical advice at this time.

We know how difficult this conversation can be and want to help. At David H. Jacoby Elder Law Advocate, P. A., we are focused on providing thorough, ethical, and timely solutions for our clients and their loved ones. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with us.