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Getting A Dementia Diagnosis Is A Real Possibility: Can Your Estate Plan Cope With It?


Fans everywhere were shocked and saddened to hear that Bruce Willis is retiring from acting after his diagnosis of aphasia, a neurological disorder involving deficits in the ability to use language.  Some types of aphasia are associated with dementia, while other types occur as the result of a stroke; therefore, most patients diagnosed with aphasia are elderly.  People were surprised to hear about this happening to Bruce Willis because, based on his performances in the Die Hard movies and Pulp Fiction, he seems invincible, but the news is even more disturbing because Bruce Willis is only 67 years old.  Chronic illnesses that force a person to retire and make it difficult to live independently can happen to anyone; they happen to people your age all the time.  Your estate plan should include plans for your medical and financial care in the event that you suffer long periods of ill health; estate planning is about more than just who gets which of your assets when you die.  An Orlando estate planning lawyer can help you state your wishes clearly in your estate plan.

The New JAMA Report on Dementia in the Elderly

The current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association includes a report by researchers at the University of Michigan.  The authors found that half of the elderly people who died in 2017 had received a diagnosis of dementia at some point in their lives.  Meanwhile, only half of the elderly people who died in 2004 had received a dementia diagnosis.  The authors caution against assuming that dementia has become markedly more prevalent in recent years.  The reason for a higher percentage of dementia diagnoses could be due to an increase in screenings for dementia and to a change in diagnostic criteria.

Preparing an Estate Plan That Provides for Long-Term Elder Care

The various causes of dementia have certain risk factors, so not everyone’s risk of developing dementia is equal, but dementia is common enough that you should assume that it can happen to you, and you should update your estate plan accordingly.  Who will be responsible for making financial decisions on your behalf in the event that you suffer from a severe illness like dementia?  Who will make decisions about your healthcare?  Even if you have ample retirement savings, everyone needs long-term care insurance.  It is not pleasant to think about the possibility that you will develop dementia, especially if you have watched a family member suffer from dementia, but you should make plans for the worst-case scenario now, while you are healthy.

Contact Gierach and Gierach About Planning for Your Long-Term Care

Your estate plan is not just about leaving money to your family or about saving money to enjoy your golden years.  An estate planning lawyer can help you make plans about appointing people you trust to make decisions about your care if you become seriously ill.  Contact Gierach and Gierach, P.A. in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.



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