There is a lot more to Alzheimer’s Disease than just forgetfulness. It’s actually the sixth leading cause of death in the United States annually, with more than 5 million people currently living with the disease.

Nearly every American family has been touched.

While there is currently no cure, there is much you can do to be prepared should you or someone you love be affected.

The first step is awareness. This is where the old adage of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” comes into play. According to the Mayo Clinic, certain activities are thought to contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, such as lack of exercise, high blood pressure, poorly controlled diabetes, poor diet and lack of social engagement. These are things you can proactively address, or not do as the case may be, to help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Other risk factors, are largely out of your control. Understanding them, however, can help you be prepared for the future. In fact, the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is increasing age. The vast majority of people with the disease are age sixty-five or older. One in nine seniors in their sixties and seventies have Alzheimer’s, and nearly one-third of all people age 85 or older have the disease.

Family history and genetics are other major contributors. Those who have a parent or sibling with Alzheimer’s are much more likely to develop it themselves. New research suggests a strong link between serious head injuries and the future risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, especially when head trauma occurs repeatedly over time. Buckling your seatbelt, wearing a helmet when engaged in sports, and fall-proofing your home, or the home of a loved one, are simple preventative measures.

Should you or someone you know be diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s, an important area to get acquainted with is medical treatments. There are both drug and non-drug treatments available to help with cognitive and behavioral symptoms of the disease. Knowing your options ahead of time can prepare you to make choices that can alter the course of the disease and improve quality of life.

What is most important, however, is to plan as soon as possible. This includes not only your Florida estate planning but your long-term care planning. You need to be thinking about the future for yourself and your loved ones well before any illnesses should occur and how you will be able to afford future care needs. While we do help families at all stages of their lives and diagnoses, the sooner we plan the more options can be available. Does this blog raise more questions than it answers? Do not wait to schedule a meeting with our office to discuss what you need right now.