Author: audrey

What to Expect After a Positive Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

A positive Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis is a life-changing event, but you and your loved ones are not alone. Every June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month and advocates across the health care, legal and nonprofit communities gather to raise awareness about the disease and provide access to resources for those in need. Here we discuss some of what you can expect after receiving a positive Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

There can be uncertainty and many emotions. Assuming symptoms like memory loss and abnormal confusion led you or a loved one to get tested, it is important to know that a rollercoaster of emotions may soon follow. Fear, anger, denial, despair, and hope are all common feelings, and understandably so. If they persist for a prolonged period, however, then consider seeking help from a health professional.

It can be overwhelming and often stressful. Taking care of yourself or supporting an afflicted family member can be critical to coping with the diagnosis. Consider taking care of yourself by:

  • Eating healthy and engage in light exercise
  • Sharing your feelings with close family and friends
  • Surrounding yourself with kind, supportive people
  • Joining an early-stage Alzheimer’s support group 

You can benefit greatly from seeking out support and resources. Alzheimer’s Disease can leave people feeling lonely, fearful, and disconnected. Sometimes people feel embarrassed or like they have something to hide. You do not need to. Consider reaching out to trusted companions or groups like the nonprofit Alzheimer’s Association. It is a leading participant in the June Alzheimer’s public awareness campaign and it has a 24/7 Helpline (1-800-272-3900) for information, referrals, and care consultations, as well as a local Alzheimer’s Association tool to find programs and services in your area. There is also an Alzheimer’s Navigator tool that gives customized guidance on topics like health care, transportation, and home safety.

Gathering information and being proactive about the positive diagnosis is often necessary to get the care needed. A positive diagnosis is based on a physician’s best judgement of the cause of a patient’s symptoms. Make sure to ask your evaluating physician why the diagnosis was Alzheimer’s Disease. Also, how far along is the disease in terms of its progression and what should you expect in the future? Ask about treatment options and which symptoms you should be most concerned about.

Receiving a positive Alzheimer’s Diagnosis can feel like your life is turning upside down. You do not and should not go through this alone. If you or someone you know would like more information or guidance on related legal matters, our team of dedicated elder law attorneys is here for you. Please consider contacting our office to schedule a meeting.

Where to Turn if Your Loved One May Have Parkinson’s Disease

Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of many events usually held during Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month. Even so, virtual events are still being held as planned. To that end, the Parkinson’s Foundation and AARP are hosting a webinar on April 30th, which should be available afterward on their websites. The purpose is to provide comprehensive information about Parkinson’s Disease for newly diagnosed patients and caregivers. 

This is just one resource available to you if you believe someone you love may have Parkinson’s Disease, or if a loved one is trying to cope with a recent diagnosis. We know this is just a start to the information you need and want to provide additional resources for you and your loved ones right here.  

The following organizations provide general information and support for people with Parkinson’s Disease:

1. The Parkinson’s Foundation offers access to a comprehensive online library, Helpline, podcasts, webinars, online discussion groups and local resources. It also provides information specifically for newly diagnosed patients.

2. The American Parkinson Disease Association provides education and support through its local chapters and support groups. In all it has more than 1,400 support groups throughout the United States. It also offers online resources, including access to its webinars through its website.

3. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides detailed information about Parkinson’s Disease, treatment and prognosis on its website. It also provides links to relevant publications and other advocacy/support groups.

4. Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Centers are coordinated through the Department of Veterans Affairs, these groups help U.S. veterans who have the movement disorder. Support available through the main webpage includes access to a telephone hotline, links to publications, and links to local and regional centers.

Many of these organizations and groups we have just detailed may also provide information about research, treatment, clinical trials and related topics. Additional resources dedicated to these subjects include:

 1. The Michael J. Fox Foundation which provides updates about the latest research, and information about its approach to funding research that advances treatment.

2. The Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center which provides patients with information about and access to clinical trials and relevant research.

3. The Parkinson Alliance which provides information about the research it supports, patient-centered research, and relevant insights.

Unfortunately, Parkinson’s Disease has long been recognized as a progressive condition that is likely to have a dramatic impact on a patient’s quality of life. Along with the medical implications associated with a new diagnosis, there may be legal implications, too. 

Specifically, you and your loved ones may want to create Florida health care documents to ensure that your wishes are honored. This is just the start of the Florida estate plan you may need, which we can discuss in detail together. If so, know that we are here to help. Please feel free to contact us to arrange an appointment to learn more at any time.

How to Protect Yourself From Sweetheart Scams This February

February can be an emotional month for some Older Americans. The Valentine’s Day holiday can create feelings of loneliness and isolation, which unfortunately leaves some seniors more vulnerable to scams. One such scam, the Sweetheart Scam, tends to increase in frequency during this time. This type of scam occurs when a scammer forms a relationship with a senior solely for the purpose of extorting them from money. This relationship is more commonly formed online, and the senior typically never meets their romantic interest. This often leaves the senior even more vulnerable and hurt. We know you care about protecting the senior you love both now and in the future. To help you do this, let us share a few ways to help your senior loved one avoid falling victim to Sweetheart Scams.

First, it is important that your senior loved one understands what a Sweetheart Scam is and the common elements of this type of scam and scams in general. This will hopefully help your loved one be able to identify if he or she is being targeted. Being a victim of a scam can be an emotional and embarrassing ordeal for your loved one. Encouraging your loved one to talk to someone they trust, whether that be a close friend or family member, if they have suspicions about a person they are involved with can help prevent the senior you love from becoming a victim.

We encourage you to remind your loved one that there should never be a valid reason that a romantic interest should need access to their bank information or Social Security Number. Often, the criminals involved in these scams will ask for money multiple times. If the senior sends money, it is likely that the criminal will continue to ask. Unfortunately, we often see that the romantic interest will disappear once they have received the money they asked for or the senior begins to get suspicious. This typically leaves the senior hurt, vulnerable, and even more lonely than before they were targeted by the scam. It is also important to remember that your senior loved one may experience long-lasting effects from the scam, particularly if the criminal received your loved one’s Social Security Number. Lastly, encourage your loved one to always be skeptical of people they meet online, until they are fully able to verify their identify and intentions.

Above all, one of the most effective ways to help protect your senior loved one from scams is by encouraging them to create a comprehensive Florida estate plan. If you have questions or are ready to help create a plan for your senior loved one, do not wait to contact our office.