Intergenerational planning covers both the younger and older generations and as we all live longer, IBC has found that planning for the financial requirements of old age is becoming increasingly more necessary.
Dementia, in particular, can have a major effect on wealth management but what about beyond the financials?
Here, IBC offers some much-needed insight into dementia – beyond the financials, so if and when the time comes that dementia becomes a part of your life, you know some of the things to expect.
Dementia isn’t the same for everyone so don’t expect the worst
It is a common misconception that dementia only refers to one thing. Dementia is actually an umbrella term, and not only does it cover a range of sub-types, such as Alzheimer’s. Mixed Dementia and Vascular Dementia, but it also covers different levels of severity, so it is important for your own wellbeing that if you or a loved one is diagnosed, you don’t jump to any conclusions.
Television and film sometimes typify only the most severe and challenging forms of dementia, but no two people will have the same experience and part of the diagnosis period for both the individual diagnosed and loved ones is to accept there won’t be a road map that shows exactly what this is going to be like.
Alzheimer’s accounts for two thirds of all cases, so is the most common kind of dementia but for many diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the progression can be gradual, and they are conscious of the initial stages of the illness – not unaware.
The more we talk the better we cope
One of the biggest strains that comes from a dementia diagnosis is caused, believe it or not, by embarrassment. It is entirely understandable that when things we always found easy become difficult, we feel embarrassed, frustrated and unwilling to ask for help. This is where communication from everyone is essential.
If you are a relative with a loved one with dementia or suspected dementia, remember to let them know that you don’t think differently about them, you don’t think less of them and that they need not be embarrassed.
And if you yourself have recently been diagnosed it is important to tell your loved ones what you might struggle with – they will be there to help if you are brave enough to let them know you need it.
Keep calm… but don’t just carry on
The oldest amongst us are often also the most hardy, so it is no wonder that many people upon diagnosis of a medical issue will try to carry on as if nothing is happening. It’s important not to treat a dementia diagnosis like it is business as usual. Dementia will affect your life but there will still be plenty of things to do to get the best quality of life – and all of those things will come from your initial acceptance of the diagnosis – both as a loved one, and as someone experiencing dementia themselves.
The first step after diagnosis will be to get treatment – anti-dementia drugs and other mental health interventions exist, and treatments are still being developed even now. Again, communication is a major part of finding what the right help is for the individual.
Think about the financials – speaking to a financial adviser and involving a loved one will ensure you can secure peace of mind that financial requirements are covered.
Speak to your solicitor about Enduring Power of Attorney. Should dementia severely impair memory, this is an important step to make sure things go smoothly in the future, and to negate any nagging worries about the ifs and the whens.
Still living life to the full
It is unfortunate that we still live in a world where a dementia diagnosis can be a cause for people to worry about the social ramifications. The sooner the diagnosis is excepted, the sooner someone with dementia can continue to enjoy the rest of their life.
There will still be many activities a person with dementia can do that are enjoyable – golf, gardening, crafts, walking – taking up new hobbies can still enrich brain connections, even after a diagnosis of dementia – so explore new things as well as old favourites.
Maintaining a healthy life will also help to protect the brain from further deterioration, so after an initial diagnosis an individual with dementia should still try and maintain a balanced healthy diet with exercise when possible.
Prepare with simple changes
Memory loss can be frustrating but there are simple habits a person with dementia can get into to prevent those frustrations – keeping a pen and paper near the phone, writing down all important dates on a calendar, writing a daily to-do list, or using a medicine dispenser to keep on top of medication. These are all simple things we can change to maintain the way we live.
Ask for help if you need it
Whether you have dementia, or you are the loved one of someone with dementia, it can be a hard condition to cope with, so if you ever feel like you are struggling, remember you can and you should ask for help. Whether it is friends, your GP, colleagues or even your neighbour, don’t be afraid of asking for a hand when you need one.
Find out more about the financial steps you can take for a dementia diagnosis, get in touch with IBC.