When Alzheimer’s disease hits, many patients may need guardians

Alzheimer’s disease is a brutal condition that can rob a person of his or her personality, memories and ability to function long before he or she will die. There are a number of people in Socorro who are diagnosed with this condition every year and they are just part of the approximately 35 million pepole who have dementia, the umbrella disease that Alzheimer’s is grouped under. For the loved ones of Alzheimer’s patients, watching them decline can be hard, but many also recognize just how important it is for these patients to have a guardian appointed.

When someone with Alzheimer’s can no longer do some of the things he or she could previously, like work or remember to pay the bills, it is important to have a guardian appointed. A guardian handles an individual’s needs, including both finances and health. Whether one guardian handles both or they are separated into guardians of the estate and guardians of the person, respectively, is a matter on which a guardianship attorney can advise.

For some people, Alzheimer’s is a slow degeneration, and they may notice changes to their memories and mental capacities over time. There is new research that indicates that those who are worried about their memory decline are frequently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s or Alzheimer’s a few years down the line. If someone knows that he or she will eventually be living with Alzheimer’s, he or she may also want to consider appointing someone as a power of attorney.

Like a guardian, someone with a power of attorney is able to make financial and health-related decisions on behalf of someone who is no longer capable of doing so alone. One of the major differences is, however, that an individual can choose who holds a power of attorney, rather than have a guardian appointed by the court.

Source:The Associated Press, “Memory decline may be earliest sign of dementia,” Marilynn Marchione, July 17, 2013