Memory loss can creep up over time or be a sudden devastating hit with a stroke. Let’s face it, it’s something we would prefer not to think about. But we must, because the Journal of the American Medical Association has reported that managing personal finances is one of the first life activities to decline with cognitive impairment and early stages of memory loss. What should be done to protect your financial plan if your memory fails?
There are many children who have sacrificed greatly to give care to an elderly parent so that the parent can stay in the family home. Some have even given up their jobs to give that care. Besides that being a tremendous devotion to a loved parent, the federal and state law recognizes that keeping the elder parent at home may very well have saved the state and federal governments tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars because the parent did not have to enter a nursing home during that time.
Depression can affect people of any age, but it is much more common in older people. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry estimates about one-quarter of older people examined by healthcare professionals have some level of depression. If you have had a doctor’s exam recently, you may have noticed that the doctor or his staff asked a few quick questions about your frame of mind, and depending on age, they also give a mini mental evaluation relating to memory.
Sooner or later many families face the problems of an aging parent’s decline, such as creeping dementia or decreased physical mobility. It’s not pleasant to see that once strong and vibrant parent slowly lose the ability to be independent, and a big impediment to planning and getting a medical diagnosis is both the parents and the adult children being in denial.
The title is a quote from the daughter of an elderly couple who were suddenly faced with the need for long term care at home. This can happen to anyone at any time, but of course the probability is much greater the older a person is. That can be due to disease, physical or mental decline or a sudden accident such as falling down the stairs. So what exactly is “this stuff”?