Dementia Is Now Our Biggest Fear

What do stroke, cancer, and heart disease have in common? They’re all less frightening than dementia.

A new survey finds that more people consider dementia to be their biggest fear, surpassing any other disease — including stroke, heart disease, and cancer — even though those conditions have a much higher rate of death.

A full third of people over the age of 55 cited dementia as their gravest concern. (Compare that to the 10% who said stroke and the 4% who identified heart disease, the leading cause of death.)

One major “fear factor” might be nonmedical in nature. The very high cost of dementia care is a common cause of concern for people who’ve grown increasingly aware that the diagnosis often invites financial ruin.

Indeed, if there’s a bright side to the story, it’s that people are clearly more aware of dementia than they ever have been before. Awareness is an important milestone on the path to prevention. Currently, there is no cure for dementia, and treatment options are limited.

So what can you do to face your fear? Experts advise two things for boosting your health and preserving peace of mind:

  1. Live a healthy lifestyle. While we still don’t completely understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, research indicates that people who eat well, exercise regularly, and lead mentally stimulating lives are at lower risk. Avoiding heavy alcohol consumption is also believed to help.
  2. Start planning now. Long-term care is extremely expensive and often falls on the shoulders of children who aren’t financially prepared to care for their elderly parents. You can take small, reasonable measures now to fund your care for the future. Even if you never develop dementia, you’ll likely face increased healthcare costs as you age. Careful planning today can guard against financial ruin for you or your family in the future.

There’s no need for fear of the unknown. Face those fears proactively instead. The power is in your hands.

If you’d like to get started with a long-term care plan, a Phoenix elder care attorney at Kamper, Estrada & Simmons, L.L.P. can help. We’ll be happy to talk about your options. Contact us today.

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