Most people want to talk about these issues, advisors admit. But because so many people with Alzheimer's cannot communicate in the last few years of their life, it is vital and makes sense to create a good planning strategy to have those types of conversations up front.
Alzheimer's and dementia are, more broadly, simply not "diseases" in the classic sense. They require a special sort of planning for both yourself and your loved ones.
With most diseases, either the disease is cured or it is not. With Alzheimer's and dementia, however, there is an actual change in the "person" affected and the disease can become destructive, personally and financially.
The idea of planning ahead for the possibility of Alzheimer's and dementia is an important one. In fact, CNBC recently explored the importance of early planning in an article titled "Create financial and legal plans to manage Alzheimer's."
Because the changes wrought by these diseases occurs in degrees, by the time the problem is known it is already too late to do anything about it, legally if not financially. Mental competency is one of those core requirements to creating a legally sound plan. When it is a close call, any plan made (even with trusted counsel) can just fall apart. For example, what if a family controversy develops over who manages the estate?
Just as the best time to plant a tree is yesterday, the same holds true for making proper estate planning arrangements. You (or your elderly loved ones) will never have more mental capacity than you do today.
The very real threat of Alzheimer's and dementia provides an all-too-common and all-too-real reason to consider what may come while you still can.