If you have recently been diagnosed with dementia or care for someone who has it, get familiar with the following legal documents to protect your rights and the rights of your loved ones.
The best defense against dementia is to understand it. In addition to the physical aspects of the disease, there are numerous legal and ethical matters to be aware of.
Dementia means cognitive loss (or thinking problems). There are a variety of diseases that cause dementia. Stroke can cause dementia, drinking too much alcohol can lead to a type of dementia called ethanol-related dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent form of dementia.
With Alzheimer’s disease, there are three cruel realities. One, the entire brain is dying – not just memory but memory, emotion, the ability to move, process language, speak, listen, and understand.
Two, the disease is progressive. There’s an early, middle and late stage. It will continue to get worse. And no, it will never get better. Once the brain starts dying, the cells don’t regenerate. And three, there is no cure to this disease.
With that in mind, when someone is first diagnosed with dementia, the families should get health care and legal paperwork in order. There are decisions that need to be made early on to ensure your loved one’s needs and wishes are always honored.