People With Forms of Dementia Are Still Capable

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. At Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio, we think this is a perfect time for us all to support and learn more about our loved ones fighting Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. More than 55 million people have a form of dementia across the world, with 10 million new cases reported every year.

When we write off our loved ones with dementia, we’re writing off tens of millions of people who are still capable and should be given the opportunity to contribute to their own lives as well as the lives of those around them. It’s important to understand their changing needs as the disease advances, but even those with the most severe cases can still be an important part of the world around them.

Have you ever heard the term “lucid intervals?” These intervals are moments of clarity for people with degenerative brain diseases. In these moments of clarity, they may regain many of their memories and functions. It’s important to not only recognize these moments but also to give them credence.

Whether the person is a leader in the family or even an executive at an important company, any decisions and recommendations during these lucid moments should be given consideration. Some may claim this is exploitation, but that’s simply an unfair approach to the important insight people with dementia can still provide to society.

This study in the National Library of Medicine goes into the different levels of capacity people may exhibit and puts it perfectly by stating “Capacity to make one’s own decisions is fundamental to the autonomy of the individual.” We should have a plan for the moments where capacity improves or steadies. It’s important to know who should be accessible at these times, who should be available to review the level of capacity, and how the decisions made during this time will be implemented.

There are varying levels of capacity for those with degenerative brain diseases, and medical professionals and loved ones should play a role in recognizing those levels of capacity without bias. For instance, “sundowning” is the process of conditions worsening as the day goes on, literally named after time passing with the sun going down. If a loved one experiences sundowning, are the insights and decisions provided during the more lucid portions of the day not valid purely because of a later lack of clarity?

We need to empower our loved ones by providing them with the proper channels to express themselves and contribute. This Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month may focus on informing people of the disease while raising funds to fight it, but it’s also important to raise awareness for the abilities retained while fighting any form of dementia.

The legal team of Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio is proud to support our loved ones who are fighting any form of dementia. It’s important to provide and protect the rights owed to them through the varying severity of these diseases. If you feel you or a loved one is being ignored or exploited because of a degenerative brain disease contact our offices.

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Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio

Our firm deals with legal matters involving your loved ones, and our familial operation is prepared to give you caring and effective counsel during what might be a difficult or emotional time.

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