The holiday season is upon us. While the holidays usually mean eating too much and spending quality time with family, for some it may be the first time you notice that your mother, aunt, or grandfather is showing signs of aging, and perhaps, dementia. This article is not meant to scare you, it is intended to provide resources if you have questions about the health of a loved one.
Dementia is not a disease, it is a set of symptoms that can be caused by any number of diseases. Simple memory loss is not necessarily dementia, but if a loved one is exhibiting symptoms that interfere with their daily life, they might have dementia (remember, only a doctor can make a diagnosis). The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s includes the following:
Note, that some of the symptoms mentioned above can be common symptoms associated with aging, including slower thinking and problem solving, decreased attention and concentration, and slower recall. This article contains a helpful guide to distinguish between normal memory changes and symptoms of dementia. But remember, if you have any questions please seek the advice of a physician.
If you suspect your loved one has dementia, it is important to schedule an appointment with their primary care physician immediately. An appointment with a doctor can rule out other causes of the symptoms mentioned above - such as a stroke, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems, depression, and alcohol or drug abuse. If your relative does have dementia, it is best to get it diagnosed early so they can get treatment sooner and you can start to plan for long-term care.
As always, if you have questions do not hesitate to contact us.
The attorneys at Bennett & McClammer want to wish you and your family the best this holiday season. Have a great Thanksgiving!
What Exactly Is Dementia?, Healthline (Nov. 24, 2014, 3:05 PM), http://www.healthline.com/health/dementia/early-warning-signs#Overview1.
10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzhiemer’s, Alzheimer’s Association (Nov. 24, 2014, 2:53 PM), http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_10_signs_of_alzheimers.asp.
Understanding Dementia, Help Guide (Nov. 24, 2014, 3:10 PM), http://www.helpguide.org/articles/alzheimers-dementia/understanding-dementia.htm.
Early Warning Signs: When to Call the Doctor About Alzheimer’s, WebMD (Nov. 24, 2014, 3:20 PM), http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/early-warning-signs-when-to-call-the-doctor-about-alzheimers.
"Palliative care is a specialized form of medical care intended for people with serious illness. The focus of palliative care is to clarify the goals of a patient's care while helping to alleviate the pain and discomfort that follows life-altering conditions by providing effective symptom management." [Source]
Recently, WFYI's Sound Medicine program hosted a conversation about palliative care featuring Dr. Rich Frankel, Director of the IU Walther Palliative Care Research and Education Program as co- host and three guests, Gail Sheehy, author of “Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos Into Confidence”; Mark Nepo, a cancer survivor and New York Times best-selling author and poet; and Dr. Timothy Quill, the Director of the Center for Ethics, Humanities and Palliative Care at the University of Rochester School of Medicine.
You can listen to the conversation here.
Almost everyone can benefit from estate planning. But what exactly is an estate plan and why should you spend money to get one? This article will answer those basic questions.
The term “estate plan” is used to generally describe the process which people use to plan for their long-term financial future. An estate plan can include a number of different tools including insurance (for example, short- and long-term disability insurance and life insurance), investments, retirement accounts, wills, trusts, advanced directives, and powers of attorney. Some of these require a certified financial planner and others require an attorney.
At Bennett & McClammer, our attorneys include the following documents in a basic estate plan: last will and testament, financial power of attorney, and living will/healthcare directive. Of course, each estate plan is carefully crafted to an individual’s needs so every plan will vary and some plans require the use of more complex tools.
A last will and testament is a document that dictates how your estate is administered after your death. A will allows parents to dictate who will serve as guardian of their children in the event of the death of both parents. It allows you to list who will receive your property. It also tells the Court who you would like to serve as your personal representative and whether that representative can administer the estate without court supervision. This document can even contain instructions for your funeral.
A financial power of attorney gives another person the power to handle your finances. The general powers granted under a power of attorney allow your attorney-in-fact to file tax returns, buy and sell personal property, conduct banking transactions, and to communicate with your attorney. Importantly, an attorney-in-fact can access your bank account and pay your bills if you are unable to do so yourself.
A living will and healthcare directive serve two purposes. First, a healthcare directive allows you to appoint a person to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so. Second, a living will allows you to make decisions regarding the level of care you will receive, including receiving electrical or mechanical resuscitation, artificial nutrition and hydration, and/or pain medication
An estate planning attorney will also assist in the management of assets and will develop a plan to help maximize the value of those assets. For example, it may make sense to transfer some assets during your life as opposed to after your death. This type of planning is very specific and must be tailored to each client’s needs.
Even if you do not have a large amount of assets, estate planning tools are still very valuable. For example, if you do not have a will your family may fight over the custody of your children, over who should serve as personal representative, and who should receive your property. A properly drafted will covers all of these issues and eliminates or reduces the cost your family might spend to find out the answers.
Everyone can benefit from an estate plan, even if you do not have many assets, are single, widowed, or married. The attorneys Bennett & McClammer LLP will craft a carefully tailored estate plan to meet your needs. Questions? You can reach us at 317-931-0944 or email@example.com.
Focusing on legal issues relating to Indiana's elders as well as trust & estate planning & administration.
Bennett & McClammer LLP
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Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
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