Comprehensive Planning. Lifelong Solutions.

Understanding the stages of Alzheimer’s

By Hook Law Center

Reportedly, over five million Americans are afflicted with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association has created a checklist of the usual symptoms to help you identify the warning signs. Among these are changes in memory that interfere with daily life, difficulty planning and resolving problems, becoming disoriented regarding time and place and having issues with words when communicating verbally or in writing.

The seven stages of Alzheimer’s were created by Barry Reisberg, M.D., clinical director of the New York University School of Medicine’s Silberstein Aging and Dementia Research Center. The first stage is one in which there are no symptoms of dementia. The second stage is marked by a very mild cognitive decline, including memory lapses, forgetfulness of words and loss of the ability to find everyday objects.

The third stage consists of mild cognitive decline in which friends, family members or co-workers start to become aware of challenges, including recalling names, thinking of the correct word or name and losing valuable objects. The fourth stage involves moderate cognitive decline, in which a medical interview should detect forgetfulness of recent occurrences and increased difficulty carrying out complicated tasks.

The fifth stage is marked by moderately severe cognitive decline, in which there are clear gaps in memory and thinking, and the person starts to require assistance with daily activities. During this stage, those afflicted with Alzheimer’s may not remember their own address or telephone number, or the academic institutions from which they graduated. They may also become confused about their location or what day it is.

In the sixth stage, their memory loss becomes worse, and they may experience changes in personality. When they are in the seventh stage, they have very severe cognitive decline, in which they are no longer able to respond to their environment, have a conversation or control their movements.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are strategies that can help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, including control of blood pressure, weight and cholesterol; exercising body and mind; consuming a brain-health diet consisting of fruits and vegetables; and being socially active.

Posted on Saturday, January 16th, 2016. Filed under Long-Term Care.

Transportation is an often overlooked but crucial aspect of retirement planning

By Hook Law Center

When people engage in retirement planning, they often fail to think about transportation. They do not consider that a time may come when they will no longer be able to drive themselves, and will have to rely on others to go to doctors’ appointments and run errands.

Including transportation in your retirement plan is essential. After housing, transportation is the second-greatest household expense. The American Journal of Public Health states that Americans are outliving their capacity to drive in a safe manner. In general, the ability to drive safely as you get older is largely dependent on your health. While some people are capable of driving well into their 90s, others reduce their level of driving by age 65.

But many people do not think about the day that they will not be able to drive themselves, and will instead have to rely on public transportation or others to accomplish basic daily activities. When creating a retirement plan, you should think about whether you would like to remain in your community, downsize or relocate. A 2014 AARP study revealed that by age 65, 87 percent of people prefer to stay in their community as they become older.

Many older adults are benefiting from the Independent Transportation Network, a nonprofit organization that provides rides for the elderly. It has 27 affiliates throughout the country. There are also new transportation services that offer rides for a fee. These include Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. In addition, some senior housing communities provide shuttle buses that transport residents to doctors’ appointments.
When making decisions about where to live and your mode of transportation, perform an analysis of your neighborhood concerning the places to which you usually travel and determine how you might arrive at those destinations if you were not driving. You should also consider your social support network where you have formed relationships.

Posted on Thursday, January 7th, 2016. Filed under Estate Planning, Long-Term Care.
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