Managing Aging Parent’s Cognitive Decline

July 29, 2023    |    Sage Capone

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the leading causes of death in the US. This number is expected to rise as the baby boomer population ages adding to a large increase of adults 65 and older. It’s estimated that 6.7 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s a form of dementia. In this article, we’ll cover what you can you do to stay ahead of this disease.

What is Alzheimer’s? It is a gradual impairment of the brain function causing loss of short-term memory and trouble completing basic tasks. As devastating the disease is upon the actual individual, the impact of the disease is even more disrupting and a financial drain on family members. Simply arranging the constant care becomes complex and expensive.

Watching changes in your aging parent’s cognitive abilities decline is normal but what signs should you look for to recognize the onset of dementia? Here are some noticeable differences.

  • Loss in memory and unaware of the date or season
  • Change in judgement and decision-making
  • Difficulty in having a conversation
  • Inability to manage a budget properly
  • Misplacing personal items and unable to retrace them
  • Mood changes and more isolation

Should you notice one or a few of these changes it is time to consider taking action and planning what partnership advice is necessary. You should schedule a doctor appointment for an assessment and update any prescriptions that are needed. Begin an open dialogue with family members and execute a plan of care for the adult parent along with yourselves as you navigate through this overwhelming change on the family. It’s best to keep the lines of communication open and share your emotional feelings and concerns. Conversations about aging is critical, particularly from a financial perspective. Should a loved one be suffering from cognitive decline it may be difficult to protect their finances if estate planning tools are not in place. Make sure there is an estate plan with a designated power of attorney listed and your loved ones wishes and fears outlined.

A financial advisor can assist you in the type of medical expenses needed to be addressed and allocated for. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease and the type of, and level of care needed will intensify over time. It is best to work with your financial advisor to determine Long-term care insurance coverage options since Medicare does not pay for long-term care and skilled nursing facilities.

It’s important to have these delicate conversations early with your parent to prepare for financial needs and costs in the future. Striving for transparency within a family is important in avoiding future conflicts and problems. Seeking a financial planner and attorney is wise before the unthinkable happens. No matter what, stuff happens. Setting up an estate plan allows for clarity making sure wishes are carried out and any end-of-life care is set up properly.

Research shows we can make a difference in reducing the impact of cognitive decline as we age. Making life changes early can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Strong evidence shows that combining physical activity, healthy nutrition, intellectual and social interaction and management of medical conditions can protect us of cognitive loss and our risk of Alzheimer’s disease.