Terry Pratchett passed away at the age of 66, 8 years after being diagnosed with Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA), a form of dementia related to Alzheimer's Disease. If you're not familiar with Terry Pratchett he is a best selling novelist in the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre. His Disc World series is popular around the world. He wrote more than 70 books with sales of over 70 million copies. He became a champion for the cause of finding a cure and helping those afflicted deal with the disease. In one of his blogs Terry wrote:
“There isn’t one kind of dementia. There aren’t a dozen kinds. There are hundreds of thousands. Each person who lives with one of these diseases will be affected in uniquely destructive ways. I, for one, am the only person suffering from Terry Pratchett’s posterior cortical atrophy which, for some unknown reason, still leaves me able to write – with the help of my computer and friend – bestselling novels."
“There is no clearly plotted pathway to the course of these diseases. Dementia attacks those facets which make us who we are, and it’s a deeply personal attack that defies prediction. And that’s the point. Every person with dementia has a unique story to tell, and …words need to be put down before they run dry… or run out.”
In a news release the BBC wrote of Terry:
Knighted in 2009, he said: "It would appear to me that me getting up and saying 'I've got Alzheimer's', it did shake people."
"The thing about Alzheimer's is there are few families that haven't been touched by the disease.
"People come up to me and talk about it and burst into tears; there's far more awareness about it and that was really what I hoped was going to happen."
Sadly Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia will eventually touch all of us. Even if you or no one you know is diagnosed with the disease (which is highly unlikely) the cost of the disease effects us all. The monetary cost of dementia in the United States ranges from $159 billion to $215 billion annually, making the disease more costly to the nation than either heart disease or cancer, according to a RAND Corporation study.
At Idaho Estate Planning we can help you navigate the elective transfer of decision-making authority through a power of attorney or trust and can help you qualify for needs-based programs like Medicaid and Veterans Pension Benefits if necessary. We set up a legal framework through which the client and his or her family can transfer assets and decision-making responsibilities.
Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., with 5.4 million Americans suffering from the disease. So, health care proxies will be another important aspect of your legal plan.
You may want to read 2 previously posted blogs titled Maintaining Control of Your Healthcare Options and Recognizing the Signs of Dementia. When dealing with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia it is critical to start NOW. At Idaho Estate Planning, we can help you find the resources you need to put your long-term care plan together. We have the experience and expertise to help you maintain your options and protect yourself as well as your loved ones now and into the future. Remember, good planning is no accident!