Other than hypochondriacs, no one goes looking for bad news about their health. It’s human nature. Feel fine? Then why rock the boat?
But many major illnesses don’t manifest any symptoms at all – at least in the early treatable stages. That’s why early detection of a looming health crisis is so important. An unexpected diagnosis can help you decide, while you are still capable, how you want to manage the rest of your life.
So it was with some interest that I read a recent article about the health benefits of early detection of dementia.
The article provided anecdotes of people in their mid-50s who were coping with diminished abilities to do math and remember basic tasks. Eventually these individuals were diagnosed with variations of early dementia or Alzheimer’s. The treatment provided ensured they could continue to live well with their limitations while tracking any further decline.
Despite the advantages of early detection, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control on Ohioans 45 years and older, show that only half of those reporting cognitive difficulties talked to doctors about the issues.
There’s more of course but the article a man named Chuck Brockman said something we often here from clients, “I’m focused on living in a way I wasn’t before my diagnosis.”
To us, that is the most valuable takeaway. When we do estate planning, our focus is on how our clients will manage their affairs in their declining years. We help them consider their life possibilities and determine a respectful and dignified path forward.
With an early diagnosis, two things happen. First we help our clients determine their needs going forward measured against their current means. Secondly we allow them to see their lives going forward as something more than a patient in decline – allowing them to actually have a life outside the shadow of their diagnosis.