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Elder Care Navigator Blog – May 2024

What happens if one of us gets sick? This is a frequent question from clients and one that begs an answer because the reality is that that’s often what happens. While many still suffer from chronic illness such as heart disease and cancer, more and more people are surviving those diseases or bypassing them altogether. Changes in habits can lead to good outcomes. For more than 7 million Americans, surviving serious illness opens doors of a different kind. Seven million Americans are diagnosed with dementia and that is the harsh truth. There are many, many illnesses/diseases that present with symptoms such as memory loss, confusion, aphasia, and weight loss. Mainly, we see clients with Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body disease, vascular and mixed dementia, frontotemporal dementia, or dementia, undefined. Once the diagnosis comes into your life, things change immediately. You didn’t plan for this, more than likely, not many do.

There are concerns or things you should think about if one of you gets sick. At some point, one of you is going to become a caregiver so you both have new roles. This is the time to think forward and have a conversation about organizing your thoughts, ideas, finances, insurances, medical records, beneficiaries, health care agent(s), financial agent(s), and those professionals who assist you. Ask your questions now and start to move things in a direction where you are making decisions about your own care and making sure you speak about it with those who are involved and will be your advocates, your chosen few. Simplify your life and live it as you choose to.

Once you’ve pulled everything together and you’re ready to put your thoughts to paper, make an appointment with an elder law attorney, one who specializes in elder law. This is where much of your planning will become real and you’ll have your assets protected and your agents in place. Some of you will work with a navigator who can explain how to resource services and support that you will need along the way. Each day you are learning how to live without further worry because you have controlled the things you could.

Eileen McGuiness is an Elder Care Navigator with The Elderlaw Firm located in Downtown Greensboro, NC. She is a certified dementia educator and trainer with many years of experience working with families affected by dementia and other chronic healthcare concerns. Eileen’s passion is to equip clients and their families to better deal with those chronic conditions, to maintain independence when possible and get the right care when needed. Eileen has three sons and one granddaughter and spends her personal time gardening, reading and drinking Irish tea.

About the author

Dennis Toman

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