Alzheimer’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects cognitive functions, including memory, thinking, and behavior. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are currently 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s Disease and, by 2050, that number will increase to nearly fourteen million. The association claims that Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
The Alzheimer’s Association has listed ten early warning signs that you should be cognizant of, which include:
- Memory loss that affects daily life;
- Challenges in planning or solving problems;
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure;
- Confusion with time or place;
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships;
- New problems with words in speaking or writing;
- Misplacing items and losing the ability to retrace steps;
- Decreased or poor judgment;
- Withdrawal from work or social activities; and
- Changes in mood or personality.
If a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is important to have advanced directives in place prior to their condition worsening. Advanced directives are documents that assist in the event that a person loses the capacity to make important decisions on their own behalf, which include:
- A health care proxy;
- A Living will; and
- Power of attorney.
A health care proxy designates an agent to make medical decisions in the event a person becomes incapacitated. A living-will informs others of a person’s wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment or the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment when the person is terminally ill, has no reasonable expectation of recovery, or has no chance of regaining a meaningful quality of life. Lastly, a power of attorney designates an agent to make financial decisions in the event a person becomes incapacitated. Each of these documents are necessary to ensure that your loved one’s financial and health care decisions are properly made if they become incapacitated from a debilitating disease, like Alzheimer’s.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Hunziker, Jones, and Sweeney are experienced New Jersey estate planning lawyers. The firm’s attorneys help individuals and their families handle all aspects of estate planning, including the execution of advanced directives, updating directives to reflect major life changes, end-of-life planning, asset preservation, Medicaid planning, and trusts and estates issues. Our New Jersey estate planning lawyers are trusted by their clients to handle each legal matter with diligence and compassion. For more information, contact our New Jersey estate planning law firm at (973) 256-0456.