Imagine the outlook for your life changing in minutes.A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be that stunning. If your parent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, how can you help them as they strive to make the most of the years ahead?
An Alzheimer’s diagnosis may bring stages of grief and anxiety – when and how should your parent share the diagnosis with loved ones, friends, and colleagues?
If Mom or Dad tries tohide their Alzheimer’s from family members, friends, or even coworkers (if they are still working), it could inevitably lead to tension and stress. They may already have a diagnosis, or at the very least, be suspicious of one.
Some of your parent’s friends may not know how to respond to the news. But if they are open with those friends about their diagnosis – and how they are trying to cope with it – it can help to reduce any confusion and apprehension. Some of their acquaintances may shy away; their true friends will not.
As the Alzheimer’s Association notes to those finding out they have the disease, “You are the only person who can change how you feel about your diagnosis.” Many people in the early phase of Alzheimer’s learn that they must be proactive – they must build a care team of family, friends, doctors, and caregivers for the present and future, and additionally, seek out support groups. Simply waiting for the world to help is never the route to take.
To stay engaged with the world, stay active as long as possible, and keep meeting the challenges of daily life, your parent will need a plan. It can be fine-tuned as needed.
The Alzheimer’s Association identifies three key steps of all such coping strategies: identify, prioritize, and strategize.
What tasks do Mom or Dad have the most trouble with? Can someone help them accomplish them, while your parent remains wholly or mostly in charge, or should those tasks be assigned to a loved one or caregiver? Can the process of the task be simplified with fewer steps, so that your parent can still keep doing it? There may be multiple ways to solve most of these issues. Let Mom or Dad know that asking for help is not an admission of weakness.
As an example, if Dad fears losing track of Mom at a mall or sporting event, both of them can wear the same color of shirt, so Dad can easily look at the color of his shirt and locate Mom.
Alzheimer’s affects not only an individual, but an entire family.
It is an adjustment, and some spouses, siblings, and children adjust more quickly than others.Let Mom or Dad know that they should forthrightly express the degree of understanding and help they need from you. You understand they want to enjoy a full, rich life for as long as they can, and you want to be a good – no, great – son or daughter and help them as much as you can.
Families must also address future caregiving and financial aspects of living with Alzheimer’s. Meeting with a financial advisor in Charlotte, NC and/or an eldercare provider can help an individual, couple, or family arrive at a ballpark estimate of extended care costs. Perhaps the place where your parent lives can be modified to permit “aging in place” for a very long time with the help of caregivers.
The Alzheimer’s Association maintains a website, communityresourcefinder.org, where you can find local programs, resources, and service providers responding to the needs and wants of those with the disease.
Is it actually Alzheimer’s?Be sure. No diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is made cavalierly, but sometimes, less-common neurological disorders (such as Lewy body dementia, Pick’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and frontotemporal dementia), which may initially present similarly to Alzheimer’s disease, might be overlooked. Under such circumstances, years may pass with both the patient and caregivers believing the patient has Alzheimer’s, when in fact, that is not the case. A plan of care may be established, seeking to adapt to or even delay the progression of Alzheimer’s, when another one might actually be more appropriate.
This is no time for your parent to retreat from life; this is a time for them to live fully, each and every day. While they may need to explore adaptations to activities they love, or find new ones altogether, they should continue to pursue their passions, as their minds and bodies permit. In time, they will simply live in the moment; resolve to share as many precious moments as you can with them, today and tomorrow.
In corporate America, pension plans are fading away. Only 16% of Fortune 500 companies offered them to full-time employees in 2018, according to Willis Towers Watson research. In contrast, legal, medical, accounting, and engineering firms are keeping the spirit of the traditional pension plan alive by adopting cash balance plans.1
I’d like for you to meet my friend, Hugh. He’s a retired film stuntman who, after a long career, is enjoying his retirement. Some of what he’s enjoying about his retirement is sharing part of his accumulated wealth with his family, specifically his wife and two sons. Like many Americans, Hugh likes to make sure … Continue reading “The Gift Tax”
“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald The economic struggles in our country are among the worst we’ve ever seen. In April, a record 20 million people lost their jobs, and 36 million people have filed for unemployment since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in mid-March. Record drops in consumer … Continue reading “Better Times Are Coming”
You can sum up the appeal of a Roth IRA in three words: federal tax benefit. Potential earnings in a backdoor Roth IRA grow tax free as long as the owner abides by the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) rules, and withdrawals are federally tax free once you reach age 59½ and have held the Roth … Continue reading “Backdoor Roth IRA”
Inheriting wealth can be a burden and a blessing. Even if you have an inclination that a family member may remember you in their last will and testament, there are many facets to the process of inheritance that you may not have considered. Here are some things you may want to keep in mind if … Continue reading “Coping With An Inheritance”
Epic Capital provides the following comprehensive financial planning and investment management services: Learn More >