It is extremely important that people do their estate planning before they become legally incapacitated from Alzheimer's disease.
Fundamental planning includes having powers of attorney, living wills, and other estate plans in place while they are still legally competent to make plans. Too many people, however, wait until it is too late.
Since Alzheimer's does not have an immediate incapacitating effect, at a minimum people should do their estate planning as soon as they start to have any of the early warning signs of the disease.
The Macomb Daily recently published a list of some warning signs in an article entitled "Surprising early signs of Alzheimer's disease."
The list includes:
Stealing - Ordinary law-abiding people often lose their ability to know what is right and wrong and will steal or commit other minor crimes.
Forgetting What Things Are For - Temporarily forgetting what common objects, such as keys or dishes, are used for can be an early warning sign.
Falling or Tripping - People who begin to fall or trip more than others have been shown to get Alzheimer's more than others.
Eating Non-Food Items - Although it is uncertain why, eating things like paper and chalk is an early warning sign of Alzheimer's.
Not Recognizing Sarcasm - People who suffer from Alzheimer's lose their ability to recognize when statements are sarcastic.
Unfocused Staring - People with Alzheimer's essentially lose the ability for their brains to focus thus unfocused staring might be a sign of the disease.
If a loved one is exhibiting any of these early warning signs, get them to their doctor and an estate planning attorney without delay.
Reference: Macomb Daily (Dec. 18, 2015) "Surprising early signs of Alzheimer's disease."