According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive and fatal brain disease. Alzheimer’s destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life. Alzheimer’s gets worse over time, and it is fatal. Today it is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States.”
In the United States there are more than 5 million people with Alzheimer’s Disease. This Disease is so common that every 72 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s. Due to changing demographics, there are more Americans surviving into their 80s and 90s thus, increasing the number of Americans living long enough to be affected by Alzheimer’s.
Despite the large number of American’s with this disease, it is very expensive to treat. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Direct and indirect costs of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, including Medicare and Medicaid costs and the indirect cost to business of employees who are caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s, amount to more than $148 billion annually.” Unfortunately, a large portion of the cost of care is taken on by the Alzheimer’s patient and their families.
In addition to the costs, caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is extremely challenging. Those suffering from the disease will experience its progress in different ways at various stages of the disease. Caregivers can take on numerous responsibilities including paying bills, balancing the checkbook, bathing and dressing. Many care options exist if a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to lessen the burden of caring for them on your own.
Once a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another debilitating disease such as dementia or Parkinson’s, there are many legal and financial steps that need to be taken. Primarily, it is essential that their estate planning is in order and that there will be the funds necessary to pay for their care down the road.