The field of elder law involves assisting people who are trying to prepare for all of the eventualities of aging. These possibilities are many and varied, and during the times within which we are living the senior population is booming. Senior citizens are the fastest-growing segment of the population in America. Just how fast is this age group expanding? It is estimated that by 2030 the number of senior citizens in the United States will double. To take this demographic probing a step further, those termed the “oldest old,” people who are at least 85 years of age, are the fastest-growing subset of the senior demographic.
What does this mean to you when you are planning for your twilight years? Clearly it is more likely than ever that you will live to be at least 85 years old and perhaps much older.
This brings us to the subject of Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association recently released a study that examines the facts and figures associated with this disease and how it impacts our senior citizens.
Dementia could be succinctly defined as a reduction in cognitive abilities and a decline in memory. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia by a wide margin, accounting for up to 80% of the cases diagnosed in the United States.
One out of every eight senior citizens has Alzheimer’s disease, and once you reach the age of 85 the dangers of Alzheimer’s loom larger. Approximately 40% of Americans 85 years of age and older suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Many people are surprised when they hear that Alzheimer’s is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
This is a brief summary, but it is clear that Alzheimer’s is something that should be prepared for when you are engaged in long-term planning. Your estate planning attorney can help you devise an incapacity plan that will enable you and your family to react to this contingency intelligently should Alzheimer’s disease rear its ugly head at some point in your life.