Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease can be overwhelming on many levels to both families and individuals afflicted by the disease. Currently no cure for this disease and it is ranked amongst the top in cause of death here in the United States. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia there are some ways you should plan legally and financially.

Average costs for a room within in a nursing home can amount to over $7,000 a month. These costs can become expensive and troublesome very quickly. Luckily, if you have protection like long term care insurance in place, this can help you shoulder the costs. So how do you go about handling and paying for these costs with Long Term Care Insurance?

Documents to have

There are three main documents that you should have in line first:

  1. A financial power of attorney: This document helps someone who is not able to make their own financial decisions work with someone who is able to make these decisions
  2. Medical power of attorney: This document helps someone who is not able to make medical decisions for themselves work with someone who is able to make these decisions for them
  3. Financial and medical power of attorney: This is personalized to the individual but it’s a document that instructs both the financial and medical power of attorney on how to provide the best care for the person they are working with.

LTC Insurance

All three of these documents will come into place and create a foundation for the best decisions for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. After you have these documents in place you can move onto calculating your expenses. Long Term Care Insurance is almost always a suitable option however, there exist many different policies, therefore it’s important  you determine which policy is best for you or your loved one.

Families can also choose to pay for long term care privately which usually entails using up their own savings account or retirement savings to fund the proper care. In fact many families will opt for this route however many will encounter the struggles and challenging of depending on solely personal funds. This sort of planning can also lead to the costs of your care falling onto your children or other relatives.

Another more similar occurrence when children do not have the funds to help shoulder the cost for their parents care they will often feel obligated to offer the care themselves. This can lead to strained relationships as well as unwanted stress. This is why planning ahead and calculating the future costs of your care now can help avoid all this in the future. Having chosen the right type of Long Term Care Insurance policy can serve great future benefits to someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

How many affected

Alzheimer’s Disease effects countless individuals all around the world and the number of families it effects is constantly rising. This disease can shift many aspects of the day to day lives of all those affected. Tasks that were once possible become almost impossible and suddenly more and more supervision is needed. Given the many challenges that come along with Alzheimer’s disease and the need for assistance, there exist many facilities which focus specifically on this. These facilities often differ from our typical long-term care facilities and are known as memory care facilities.

Memory Care

Memory Care facilities offers cognitive therapy as well as other programs to help keep seniors brains sharp and active. Care is offered at these locations by in state licensed communities, residences, or nursing homes. Memory care focuses specifically on memory and specific hurdles one may encounter when dealing with Alzheimer’s. You should keep in mind that although memory care can differ from your typical long term care, some nursing homes do feature memory care wings. This may look like a separate building or wing within the facility that offers specialized care as well as security to assist residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

When researching different options for your loved one, you should consider a few factors about the type of professional care needed. The Average costs of memory care per year can vary  from $2500-$5000. Planning for how to address these costs as well as knowing what type of services should be rendered is essential.

You may need memory care if

When determining whether ot not a loved one might need memory care consider the following:

  • forgetting to take their medicine
  • forgetting alarm codes or forgetting to lock the door
  • not showering or changing clothes
  • not eating or forgetting to eat
  • Recurrent mood swings or behavioral changes
  •  Anger, depression, or reocurring confusion

Other signs

Frequent or progressive memory loss may be a sign of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Alzheimer’s is progressive disease which destroys or impedes your memory, thinking, and overall mental functions. Although the disease has no cure, early detection of the disease can be helpful in managing your Alzheimer’s symptoms. Despite the commonality of this disease, many of its symptoms often go unnoticed and dismissed as normal sign of aging.

Frequent memory lapses or confusions should not be dismissed as normal signs of aging and there are various warning signs to look for when checking for Alzheimer’s. At first you may notice a more subtle memory loss however, if continued , additional symptoms may appear. If you begin notice various warning signs within yourself or a loved one, it may be time to visit a doctor. Early detection can make all the difference and here are some other signs to watch for:

Other signs continued

  • Forgetting new information

A common symptom includes forgetfulness with new information such as dates, events, and conversations. You my find yourself asking the same previously stated questions more repetitively.

  • Confusion

A feeling of confusion is commonly associated with Alzheimer’s. Confusion may be related to time and how much time has passed or trouble remembering getting from point A to B.

  • Fluctuation in mood

Changes in mood may be a symptoms of Alzheimer’s as many of those affected often experience moods related to anxiety, depression, suspicion, and confusion.

  • Challenges retracing steps

Misplacing various items and being unable to retrace your steps as well as forgetting the steps to previously well known tasks may be an additional warning sign for Alzheimer’s.

  • Noticeable decline

You may notice someone with Alzheimer’s to begin to display a noticeable difficulty participating in conversations as well as some changes in their outward appearance. Individuals may have trouble remembering simple words as well as show less grooming efforts.

Glial cells

A new study provides new insights into brain structures and how they are actually arranged. These findings are instrumental to brain cell activity and may help us to better understand neurodegenerative illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease. One of the main discoveries relates to glial cells and their role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. As previously interpreted, Glial cells were thought to solely be responsible for acting as the glue of the brain providing structure and and protecting neuron cells. In this study a particular glial cell known as astrocytes were examined and led to discoveries in their contribution to Alzheimer’s disease.

3D visuals

Using nucleic acid imaging from human and mice brain cells, 3D visuals of astrocytes in the brain were produced. These 3D visuals were instrumental in allowing for deeper observation of Glial cells. These images revealed that unlike previously established, Glial cells are molecular form are not only uniform but actually vary directly with positioning in the brain. Prior studies have previously identified a correlation between Glial cells and Alzheimer’s and the hope is that this closer observation into the structure of glial cells can take previous findings even further. The end goal is to develop new interventions to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

A better understanding

This study provides a new understanding a brain structure as it relates to Alzheimer’s disease. As previously discovered ,astrocytes can sometimes get stuck in a feedback loop with microglia and produce inflammation of glial cells. As astrocytes typically help to protect against Alzheimer’s through the releasing of cytokines, the mixup and inflammation produce the opposite result therefore, a better understanding into the structure of the glial cells, may help prevent just that. All detailed findings and accreditations for this study can be found here Nature Neuroscience.

Alzheimer’s is categorized as one of the top 10 causes of death amongst the elderly community and continues to rise. While deaths caused by other diseases such as stroke and heart disease seem to be on a steady decline, Alzheimer’s continues to prevail. This steady rise could perhaps be accredited to the rising elderly population and the increased life spans we are experiencing here in the U.S. We should note that, our longer lives may provide us with a greater or “longer” opportunity to develop the disease and since there is still no known cure we must learn how to protect ourselves. Found below are six useful tips for how to reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s:

Helpful tips

1.Take in more B12

Vitamin B12 is essential in maintaining good health for the elderly, as a deficiency in B12 has been linked to depression, anemia, memory loss, and dementia. Foods rich in B12 are meats, seafood, cereals, dairy, and eggs.

2Give up Smoking

You have probably already been given multiple reasons to quit smoking as this habit is incredibly corrosive to ones health, however you may not have been aware that smoking can also increase your risks for developing Alzheimer’s. The free radicals found in cigarettes are especially damaging to your memory.

3Increase your movement

Did you know that just 3o minutes of aerobic exercise can greatly aid your brains ability to regenerate itself? Exercise can also improve your overall heart health and blood flow which are also good for your brain!

4Drink more coffee

As discovered by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 3-5 cups of coffee per day has been associated with a decreased risk for Alzheimer’s in those 65 and over.

5Consume less alcohol

Excessive drinking can be damaging to your liver, brain, and can also cause dementia. Studies found that individuals who participated in excessive drinking or periods of binge drinking were found to be at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s.

6Protect your head

As uncovered by the  Alzheimer’s Foundation, it is especially important to prevent your head and brain from as much trauma as possible. Those who experienced moderate to intense brain trauma were found to be at a much higher risk for dementia than those who experienced low to no brain trauma.

If you or someone you love is interested in learning more about Long Term Care Insurance be sure to visit: LTC TREE for more information.