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Alzheimer’s Disease, named after psychiatrist and neuropathologist, Alois Alzheimer, is a mentally degenerative disease that impairs cognitive function. It is a form of dementia that affects people both in mid-life and later in life. Today, approximately 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Some statistics say that approximately 65% of dementia patients suffer from Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s can often appear in stages. It sometimes can be mistaken for natural aging or memory loss in its early stages, and it can be difficult to diagnose. Its cause may be genetic, say some studies. It is, of course, a very good idea to consult your family physician or neurologist if you or your loved one is symptomatic. Thankfully, there are current treatment options that delay the advance of the disease, and hopefully with further research and development, treatment options will increase and improve in the future.

As our population ages, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s is likely to grow. Today, there are excellent resources for the Alzheimer’s patient, their families, and caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association is a wonderful resource, and has locations across the country, including one in New York City. They also have a helpline. Useful information can be found at www.alz.org

Many local hospitals have centers that specifically serve the Alzheimer’s and dementia population, and their Social Service Departments are a great resource for support networks, as well as physician referrals.

The burden associated with caring for your loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s can be onerous in many ways. Seeking the advice of an Elder Law Attorney can ease the burden on the family. For residents of New York State, there are excellent benefit programs available to the Alzheimer’s patient and their family. The planning options and strategies that Elder Law Attorneys have available to their clients, can help you avoid financial ruin from the costs of extended long-term care. Alzheimer’s patients can live many years, so understanding legal planning options is certainly worthwhile. In light of Alzheimer’s effect on mental capacity, it is always recommended to arrange one’s legal affairs as soon as possible.

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