Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that one in eight older adults is predicted to develop. It is a degenerative disease, which means that the symptoms become worse with time. Contrary to popular belief, not all elderly adults develop the disease. According to medical studies, patients can live up to 20 years after symptoms develop, and the average patient lives up to eight years after developing symptoms. There is currently no cure for the disease, but there are several types of medications and treatments available to help alleviate symptoms. Alzheimer’s causes brain cells to die, which leads to memory loss. Although all Alzheimer’s patients develop memory loss, not all people who have memory loss have Alzheimer’s disease.
The progressive deterioration of nerve cells leads to memory loss, and most patients are eventually unable to take care of themselves and require professional care from others. Although there are several symptoms unique to Alzheimer’s patients, one telltale sign is significant memory loss of recently learned information. Another important symptom is difficulty performing routine tasks due to decreased concentration levels.
If you notice a loved one developing memory problems or retaining information, you should seek medical treatment or persuade your loved one to see a doctor. Your loved one may be experiencing normal memory loss that occurs to most people as they age. If a doctor’s diagnosis suggests your loved one may have Alzheimer’s, you may want to discuss some important information now regarding future health care wishes and estate plans.
In many cases, the disease progresses to the point where it is appropriate to seek professional custodial care either in the home or in a facility. When families facing this potentially expensive type of care and would like to explore options for paying for it, it is best to consult with an experienced and qualified elder law attorney who is familiar with public programs available to assist in these circumstances.