Rita Benezra Obeiter, 59, is a former pediatrician who was diagnosed several years ago with early-onset dementia, a rare form of the disease. When this occurs in people under age 65, the conditions cause additional and unique issues because they are so unexpected and because most of the potentially helpful programs and services are designed for and targeted to older people.
One issue is that doctors typically don’t look for the disease in younger patients. As a result, it can be months or even years before the right diagnosis is made and proper treatment can start.
WLNY’s recent article entitled “Some Health Care Facilities Say They’re Seeing More Cases Of Early-Onset Dementia Than Ever Before” reports that her husband Robert Obeiter left his job two years ago to care for her. She attends an adult day care, and aides help at home at night.
If Dementia is a generic term for diseases characterized by a decline in memory, language, and other thinking skills required to perform everyday activities, Alzheimer’s is the most common. The National Institute of Health reports that there’s approximately 200,000 Americans in their 40s, 50s, and early 60s with early onset Alzheimer’s.
One conference discussed a rise in early dementia because of the processed foods and fertilizers or the other environmental hazards, and there are definitely some genes more associated with Alzheimer’s—more so with early onset.”
There is no clear answer, and most of the treatments help to slow down the progression.
There is some research showing the Mediterranean diet can be protective, as well as doing cognitive exercises like crossword puzzles and Sudoku.
It’s true that no one can predict the future of their health, but there are ways financially that families can prepare. It can cost $150,000 a year or more. That’s why you should think about purchasing long-term care insurance, a life insurance with a long-term care rider, or setting aside investments starting at the age of 40. That age may seem young, but with the astronomical costs that long-term care can be, it’s never too early to start planning ahead. Long-term care insurance can pay for an aide to come into your home and with assisted living costs. Keep in mind that Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care. If Alzheimer’s runs in your family or you have a family health history of long-term care, make sure you also visit with an experienced elder law attorney to help you safeguard assets as well.
And don’t forget that everyone over the age of 18 needs a healthcare power of attorney and a financial POA.
Reference: WLNY (Feb. 12, 2020) “Some Health Care Facilities Say They’re Seeing More Cases Of Early-Onset Dementia Than Ever Before”