Many of our clients, unfortunately, are living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. No one wants to face the traumatic reality of these diagnoses, but far too often, estate planning includes that reality. There are a host of resources available for families in New Hampshire and Massachusetts; but there’s also much to look forward to in the research aspects of finally finding a cure for these brutal diseases.
New Studies in Alzheimer’s Disease
New studies show that there exists a possibility for reversing the symptoms and improving cognitive abilities of those with Alzheimer’s. A new research effort, which involved blood work, monitoring of brain functions and other testing procedures, has shown promising results. The small study included ten patients with varying degrees of Alzheimer’s and who participated in a treatment regimen that included increasing their levels of Vitamin D, eliminating processed foods, increasing sleep, regulating insulin levels through their diet and adding, of all things, coconut oil to their diets. Probiotics were also added in order to better stabilize and improve gut health. Stress levels were reduced, adequate sleep was encouraged and a number of other lifestyle changes that were relatively easy for most to accomplish were recommended. The results were astonishing. Nine out of the 10 patients involved in the UCLA study showed a “significant reversal of their Alzheimer’s symptoms and improved cognitive ability”.
The tenth participant declined to continue the study because her advanced symptoms were not improving.
This is good news for the millions of families who have members suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Accurate information and education are key for those families and part of our role is to ensure they have the most current information available so that they can move forward with the difficult decisions that are sometimes part of the estate planning process. These results, of course, are in their earliest stages; however, it can affect a family’s decisions regarding medical care, Medicaid planning and more. These results don’t lessen the need for proper planning, including medical powers of attorney, but if continued testing shows success, it most certainly can affect future planning. We know firsthand how important it is to be armed with both accurate information and viable resources that can help ease the burden as families prepare to take this difficult journey.
In 2012, according to the national Alzheimer’s Association, there were 15.4 million caregivers looking after family and loved ones who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This is important as it tells the tale associated with how many of us want to ensure our loved ones are properly cared for. One look at the medical costs reveals just how overwhelming this disease has become. In 2013, the medical costs of Alzheimer’s will easily surpass $200 billion and by 2050, it’s expected to be closer to $1.2 trillion. These numbers are indicative as to why it’s important for researchers to continue in their efforts of identifying what causes this disease. Once that’s determined, the next logical step is a cure.
One in three seniors in the U.S. will die with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Further, close to 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have been diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Every 68 seconds, an American develops Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, it’s expected to be 33 seconds.
These new testing efforts could realistically change those numbers. To learn more about estate planning when there’s an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, contact our offices today. We’ll guide you through the process of securing Medicaid coverage, the importance of proper estate planning and we’re always happy to answer any questions.