Some people in New York begin estate planning when they learn they have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Planning for the possibility, or even the probability, that you will one day lose your ability to make your own choices is something that estate planning attorneys can help you with.
However, it’s important to realize that the mind-altering effects of dementia are not something only experienced by elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. There are other forms of dementia that can strike at a much younger age.
Frontotemporal dementia is a form of dementia that causes significant personality changes. Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia affects the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes, hence the name. These areas of the brain play a large role in a person’s personality.
Frontotemporal dementia can strike someone as young as 40, and when it does its symptoms are often misunderstood as psychiatric problems. Someone suffering from the disease can show a significant loss of empathy, often appearing to become cold or distant to even the closest family members and loved ones. They can engage in compulsive and repetitive behavior, lose their inhibitions, stop taking care of their personal hygiene, and lack awareness that these changes are taking place.
Like Alzheimer’s disease, there is no effective treatment or drug that can cure or even slow its progression. Taking steps to be prepared if such a disease should strike you is one of the main reasons why people should create an estate plan as early as possible.