In its various forms – including Alzheimer’s disease, for example – the chances of you or a loved one suffering from dementia at some stage in your life is relatively high, as indicated by the fact that it affects:
- one in one hundred people in the 65 to 69 age group
- one in 25 of those aged 70 to 79
- one in six of those over 80 years of age.
The Alzheimer’s Society points out that although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia generally, there are nevertheless a number of drug-based and non-drug based therapies which may help to alleviate some of the symptoms of mild to moderate forms of the disease and to help you manage the condition.
In addition to a range of pharmaceutical aids, therefore, non-drug therapies might include counselling and the treatment or easing of depression through cognitive behavioural therapy. Although dementia in itself is no reason for worsening physical health, physical ailments might certainly make it more difficult for you to cope. This suggests that particular attention needs to be paid to:
- regular dental, hearing and sight check-ups
- a balanced diet
- physical activity – whether walking, tai chi, gardening or even simple chair exercises
- maintaining social interaction with friends and family
All of these measures might be deployed to help extended the period during which you or your loved one remain active, socially engaged and independent.
End of life plans
With no prospect of a cure, dementia is only likely to get steadily worse and not better. The independence which you have sought to hold onto may therefore begin to slip away.
This might make it more important than ever to plan for the future, the possibility of your needing long-term care, arrangements for your funeral when that time comes and for putting your financial affairs into order.
The Alzheimer’s Association gives this process the somewhat alarming and macabre-sounding “end of life planning”, but that is just what it amounts to and the more honestly and openly you are able to discuss it and make the necessary arrangements whilst you still have the mental capacity to do so, the better your chances of your last wishes being met.
Prepaid funeral and over 50’s life insurance plans
Potentially one of the most effective and economically efficient ways of doing that might be the purchase of a prepaid funeral plan. This allows you to decide on just the type of send-off you want and the funeral directors, or others, to officiate at the ceremony. But it also gives you a safe and secure way of paying now for (or even freezing) funeral costs at today’s prices, rather than the inevitably inflated costs that are likely to be charged in some years’ time.
It might not even be a question of paying for the whole of those funeral costs upfront now. It you prefer to spread a lower cost over your remaining years, you might want to consider an over 50s life insurance policy. This guarantees the payment of a lump sum payment when you die and this sum might be used to help cover the costs of your funeral or to leave as a financial legacy to your loved ones.