As elder law specialists we keep our fingers on the pulse of all trends that affect our nations senior citizens. They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and when it comes to preparing for all of the eventualities of aging this adage is especially poignant.
Planning for possible scenarios that are not especially pleasant is an activity that may find itself at or near the bottom of your to-do list. However, successful people generally got that way by having the ability and the willingness to look over the horizon, and one can age successfully by implementing the same ethos.
With this in mind we would like to take a look at the impact that Alzheimer’s disease is having on the elder population. When you look at the statistics they are rather staggering, and they underscore the reason why incapacity planning is so important during the times within which we are living.
Alzheimer’s disease is one underlying cause of dementia, which could be broadly defined as a reduction in mental faculties that hinders an individual’s ability to conduct routine facets of his or her life on a day to day basis.
A study that was conducted in 2010 by the Alzheimer’s Association reports that Alzheimer’s disease is the cause of 60%-80% of the dementia cases in the United States. In all some 5.3 million United States citizens suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and 5.1 million of these people are at least 65 years of age. This means that one out of every eight senior citizens has Alzheimer’s disease (this equates to 13%). Alzheimer’s disease is the seventh leading cause of death in America today.
Approximately 40% of people who are at least 85 years old have Alzheimer’s disease. When you couple this statistic with the fact that the oldest old are the fastest-growing segment of the population, a clear picture emerges. There is a significant possibility that you will experience a period of incapacity near the end of your life, and if you fail to plan for it you are putting yourself and your family in a precarious situation.