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Detecting signs of dementia early

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2024 | Estate Planning

The term “dementia” covers several medical conditions which cause a loss of brain function. Most often, dementia refers to Alzheimer’s disease, as the condition accounts for up to 4 out of 5 dementia cases.

Dementia is a progressive illness, meaning it gets worse over time. Usually, dementia affects older people, but it has been known to impact people who both are still working and have no plans to retire.

An Illinois resident’s friends and relatives should pay attention to the early warning signs of dementia:

  • Changes in the person’s personality or difficulties with their emotions.
  • Problems with tasks requiring judgment, like managing money or schedules.
  • Poor grooming or other difficulties with routine life tasks.
  • Difficulties with communicating, like repeating things, forgetting words, or suddenly stopping in the middle of a conversation.
  • Losing things, or having trouble with keeping track of locations, times or directions.

If they observe these signs, Springfield families should ask the following questions:

  • Is the behavior getting more frequent or more severe over time?
  • Is there another explanation? A medical evaluation is required before diagnosing a person with dementia so as to rule out other possible causes.
  • On a related point, how does the behavior compare with the baseline behavior for a person with similar circumstances and who is about the same age? Many of the signs of dementia are also products of ordinary aging.

It’s not too late to think about estate planning in early-stage dementia

Someone in the early stages of dementia will require some medical care and may also need some help with managing their lives.

However, having dementia does not, standing alone, mean a person can no longer do estate planning. People in the earlier stages of dementia can have a lot of independence and also make their own decisions, even important ones.

While there is still time, dementia patients should consider getting their estate plans in order. They may take the opportunity to appoint someone to make medical decisions for them and to manage their finances. An estate plan can also help the person preserve their wealth while affording the long-term care they will likely need.