I talk a lot about the importance of accepting your Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. Now, obviously, when I use the word “accepting,” I am not saying that you should accept it for what it is, bury your head in the sand, and give up. You learn nothing from doing that, and it would get both you and the people who love you dearly nowhere in a hurry.
On the contrary, you should do something about it – now. Although there is not presently a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, accepting your diagnosis means taking an active role in your care, such as:
- Understanding your diagnosis and treatment options
- Actively looking into long-term care sooner rather than later
- Having open (and tough) conversations with family
- Allowing others to help you (this is particularly difficult for some people)
- Working with an estate planning attorney to ensure your affairs are in order
Alzheimer’s is a cruel, life-changing illness that no one should have to endure, and perhaps the scariest part is giving up control over decision-making and admit you need help. You may be angry or depressed and wondering, “Why me?” or “What is in store for my future now?” These are normal reactions, and it takes incredible courage to face both the disease and your role in the acceptance journey head-on.
At Leigh Hilton PLLC in Denton, Texas, we work hard to make sure the clients we work with know they are not alone and that there is help available. YOU are not alone. Our team is prepared to help families work together to take the important steps now to protect their loved ones later. But this requires proper planning – and acceptance.
Accepting help from medical experts
In my book, You’re not Alone: Living with Alzheimer’s Disease, I point out that while there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are treatment options your medical team can suggest. This includes medications to at least slow the progression and to treat the symptoms of the disease. From there, there is a laundry list of medical experts you can turn to for long-term care, guidance, and support, many of whom you likely have not thought of before.
Just a few include:
- Neurologists and Neuropsychologists – Can confirm a correct diagnosis
- Social workers – Will assist you and your family in a variety of areas
- Geriatric Pharmacists – Can educate you on the benefits and limitations of prescribed medications
- Psychiatrists and Psychologists – Can provide help with your physical and psychological well-being
- Support groups – Provide the ability to talk to other Alzheimer’s disease patients and their caregivers
The long-term perspective
The key takeaway here is that this is not a solitary, individual process. Planning for your long-term future includes input not only from your medical treatment team but also from your loved ones and from any number of professional counsel, including clergy, accountants, financial planners, insurance agents, and of course, an elder law attorney.
An experienced elder law attorney is important and may be the one professional who can coordinate the planning to include input from all of the other professionals mentioned above. Important things to consider include:
- Is your estate plan in order?
- Do you have legal documents in place naming the individual(s) who you want to handle your financial and medical affairs when you can no longer do that?
- Are your financial affairs in order?
- Have you thought about end-of-life decisions and who you want to make them for you if you are incapacitated?
- Do you have a plan for paying for long-term care?
- Are you concerned about protecting your assets from the cost of care?
Call Leigh Hilton PLLC today
Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is a challenge that no one is prepared for. But accepting it is the first step and could set you and your family up for an easier road as you continue on your journey. Our goal was to build a practice with a team of professionals who work together to have your back at all times – whether that means putting steps in place to protect you and your loved ones or offering practical advice.
Leigh Hilton PLLC wants to be your first call every time for any estate planning or elder law needs. Call us today!