Dementia is a grave condition, and its prevalence continues to grow at a staggering pace. In fact, dementia has been dubbed by some as the "silent epidemic." According to Forbes, the number of people worldwide with dementia has been steadily climbing and is expected to double every 20 years. An estimated 75 million people will be living with this disease by 2030, and the number will most likely climb to 135 million by 2050. This increase in the incidence of dementia is largely attributed to longer lifespans in both poor and rich areas of the world.
As dementia becomes more and more widespread, everyone must learn to recognize the warning signs and plan for caregiving. By making important medical and financial decisions in advance, families can ensure the long-term well-being of their loved ones.Dementia is a general term used to describe conditions that lead to significant loss of memory and other mental abilities. Dementia can manifest in different forms. The most common is Alzheimer's disease, which accounts for up to 80 percent of dementia cases. Symptoms of dementia can develop slowly and get progressively worse over time, eventually making it impossible for the individual to live on their own.
With dementia becoming much more common among aging individuals, it is essential to know the signs and be able to recognize them. Here are some things to look out for:
- Does your loved one forget names or appointments?
- Do they get confused about what day it is or where they are?
- Do they have difficulty concentrating on day-to-day tasks?
- Do they struggle with vocabulary or call things by the wrong name?
- Have you noticed a sudden change in mood or personality?
Early recognition is the first step toward obtaining proper care. Friends or family members who recognize some of the warning signs above should talk to their loved ones about scheduling an appointment with a doctor and with financial planning experts.
Effects of Dementia on Patients and Families
Dementia can affect sufferers and their loved ones in profound ways. As the individual's condition progresses, he or she is likely to need around-the-clock support and care. This not only takes a toll on the patient and members of his or her family; it can also become expensive. The cost of complete caregiving continues to rise as the demand grows. As a result, many people who have been diagnosed with dementia end up receiving partial and/or unorganized care.
Advance planning is essential to ensuring your loved ones receive the appropriate care. Even before a diagnosis of dementia is made, families should initiate long-term financial planning.
As a first step, make an appointment with a financial advisor, as well as an insurance expert who specializes in long-term care. These professionals can guide aging individuals and their loved ones in making crucial decisions now, rather than later in the disease’s progression when decision making is likely to be impaired.
The Bottom Line
With the incidence of dementia growing, many people will eventually have a loved one who has been diagnosed with some form of this disease. Planning for the medical, logistical, and financial implications of long-term care is essential to ensure those suffering from dementia can continue to live with dignity.
Schedule a free consultation with a Richard Brothers financial professional to talk about your financial future.
Richard Brothers Financial Advisors