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Understanding How Dementia Could Impact Your Family

At Kathryn T. Joseph & Associates, Inc., we help individuals and families plan for the difficulties of getting older, including mental and physical decline. One of the harsh realities many families will face is a diagnosis of dementia, which can impact nearly every aspect of life and estate planning.

On this page, we’ve provided some helpful information about dementia, how to spot it and how to plan ahead to mitigate its effects.

Seeing The Signs And Symptoms

First, it should be noted that dementia is not a distinct, singular disease. Instead, it is a catch-all term that describes several diseases negatively impacting memory, social abilities and clear thinking. Alzheimer’s disease is perhaps the most common form of dementia.

Symptoms of cognitive difficulty that could indicate dementia include:

  • Memory loss
  • Problems planning, organizing and problem-solving
  • Regularly becoming confused or disoriented
  • Frequent trouble finding the words one wants to communicate
  • Getting lost while walking or driving in well-known areas

Psychological and personality changes could also be signs of dementia. These include:

  • The development of agitation and anxiety
  • Paranoia and/or hallucinations
  • Suddenly exhibiting inappropriate behavior
  • Marked changes in personality, usually noticed by loved ones

Keep in mind that some of these symptoms will occur mildly merely as the result of getting older. But if these symptoms seem to be more significant or frequent than the occasional “senior moment,” it may be time to seek help from a medical professional.

The Importance Of Planning Ahead

The development of dementia will dramatically change the trajectory of a person’s life and will impact family responsibilities, finances and inheritances. In light of how common dementia is, each of us should have legal strategies in place to mitigate potential problems before they arise. This includes creating an estate plan, designating power of attorney and health care power of attorney, creating a living will and perhaps planning for long-term care insurance.

Please keep in mind that to be considered valid, these legal instruments must be created while there is no question that you are of “sound mind.” If and when you begin to show signs of dementia, it may be too late to take care of these important estate planning tasks yourself.

Contact Us To Discuss Your Options In An Initial Consultation

Kathryn T. Joseph & Associates, Inc. is based in Cleveland and serves clients throughout Ohio. To arrange your initial consultation with one of our skilled and compassionate attorneys, call us at 216-245-0504 or fill out our online contact form.