Is Alzheimer’s in Your Future?

An estimated 44 million people live with Alzheimer’s disease worldwide, and the global economic costs total $604 billion, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International. It is estimated that by 2050, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s could rise to 135 million, impacting healthcare costs and millions of seniors, families, and caregivers around the world. However, great strides are being made in treatment and prevention of the disease, which will hopefully make the situation less dire than projected.

Last week, Alzheimer’s researchers and advocates convened for the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen. The conference called attention to the latest breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research and spotlighted some exciting new findings. Below are some of the highlights:

  • Smell tests are being used to detect Alzheimer’s early. There is growing evidence that the decreased ability to correctly identify odors is a predictor of cognitive impairment and an early clinical feature of Alzheimer’s. It has been found that as the disease begins to kill brain cells, this often includes cells that are important to the sense of smell.
  • Eye tests are also being used as an early indicator for Alzheimer’s, and have been shown to be effective in determining the presence of a protein called beta-amyloid, which has been associated with Alzheimer’s.
  • Cataract surgery for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias not only improves vision but can slow decline in cognition and improve quality of life for both people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
  • Cognitively-stimulating mental and moderate physical activities in middle age may help protect against the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in later life.
  • Poor Sleep is associated with higher dementia risk in veterans, and post traumatic stress more than doubles that risk.
  • In people 90 and older, late-onset hypertension may actually protect against Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
  • A new brain protein, known as known as TDP-43, has been connected for the first time to Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. People with TDP-43 were shown to be 10 times more likely to have been cognitively impaired at death than those without it.
  • A two-year clinical trial of lifestyle-based intervention, focusing on a group of 1,260 seniors at risk for Alzheimer’s, showed that physical activity, nutritional guidance, cognitive training, social activities and management of heart health risk factors improved cognitive performance.
  • A trial involving family caregivers of people with dementia tested an eight-session psychological support program delivered by graduate students. The intervention significantly reduced caregivers’ anxiety and depression, and this impact lasted for two years.
  • A study, which examined more 145,712 subjects over six years, showed that a reduced risk of dementia was significantly associated with use of diabetes drug, pioglitazone.

For more details, visit the Alzheimer’s Association Website and view program content from the 2014 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.  

As you can see from the findings described above, researchers are continuously discovering new treatments and potential cures for Alzheimer’s to lessen the impact on patients’ lives. The complexity of the disease has certainly challenged research efforts; nevertheless, scientists, advocates, and other stakeholders from around the world remain determined to end the Alzheimer’s epidemic.

Medicaid Planning for Alzheimer’s

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is life-changing for both diagnosed individuals and those close to them.  While it’s not easy to think about, if your loved one has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it’s imperative to make an appointment with a Certified Elder Law Attorney such as myself, to determine who to name to make legal, financial, and medical decisions when your loved one is no longer able to do so. In addition, if your loved one hasn’t done so already, it is also of utmost importance to determine how he or she will pay for long-term care without financially bankrupting the family.

Medicaid Asset Protection

People with Alzheimer’s live on average four to eight years after they’re diagnosed, but some may live 20 years beyond their initial diagnosis. Do you have a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s? Persons with Alzheimer’s and their families face special legal and financial needs. At the Fairfax and Fredericksburg Medicaid Planning Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C., we are dedicated to easing the financial and emotional burden on those suffering from dementia and their loved ones.  If you have a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s or any other type of dementia or memory loss, we can help you prepare for your future financial and long-term care needs.  We help protect the family’s hard-earned assets while maintaining your loved one’s comfort, dignity, and quality of life by ensuring eligibility for critical government benefits. Please contact Farr Law Firm, P.C. as soon as possible at our Fairfax Elder Law office at 703-691-1888 or at our Fredericksburg Elder Law office at 540-479-1435 to schedule your appointment for our introductory consultation.

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.