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Why the young and healthy should think about advance directives?

Young people are likely to shy away from making decisions about their future health care, thinking they can put it off until later. The truth is, one can never be too young or too healthy to engage in advance health care planning.

Such planning is no longer just about aging or end-of-life care. It addresses the hypothetical situation in which a medical emergency leaves a person unable to communicate their particular health wishes.

People often mistakenly assume that close family members will instinctively know their preferences regarding end-of-life care or medical treatments. However, without having specific instructions, loved ones are left to rely on guesswork. This can cause conflict among families and uncertainty as to whether the right decision was made.

The only way to ensure that one’s choices will be respected is to put them in writing in a legal document. An advance health care directive allows individuals to outline their preferences about various health care decisions ahead of time so that others know about them. It covers matters such as life support, organ donation, palliative care and medical treatment. A durable power of attorney for health care gives a person, such as a loved one, the authority to make health decisions on one’s behalf.

Advance directives are not just for the terminally ill. Having such a document in place is vital regardless of age or health status. Without one, a person’s wishes are likely to be ignored if he or she is unable to speak or make decisions for themselves.

While it may never feel like the right time to draft health care documents, it is important to get organized now rather than later. To best protect oneself, it is best to address the topic advance directives head-on.

Can a smell test help identify dementia risk?

Dementia is a devastating, life-altering illness that leads to memory loss and decline of mental abilities over time. What makes dementia even more challenging to deal with is its difficulty to diagnose. However, researchers are now hopeful that a simple smell test could soon have the potential to identify individuals at high risk of the disease.

University of Chicago scientists studied almost 3,000 adults between the ages of 57 and 85 with normal brain function. They were asked to complete a smell test that involved sniffing five different scents: fish, leather, orange, peppermint and rose. The participants were interviewed again five years later to find out if they had been diagnosed with dementia.

All the people who were unable to detect any odors had dementia, as well as 80 percent of those who had only identified one or two smells. Overall, participants who were unable to identify a minimum of four smells had twice the likelihood of having dementia in five years.

The results point to a possible link between a decline in sense of smell and a dementia diagnosis. Surgery professor and lead study author Jayant M. Pinto said, “These results indicate that the sense of smell is closely connected with brain function and health.” He explained that losing one’s ability to smell strongly indicates “significant damage” to the brain.

Pinto and his team said their findings may help lead to the development of a quick, inexpensive test that could identify individuals who are at high risk of dementia. However, more research needs to be done until the test can be used in a clinical setting for screening and diagnostic purposes.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, currently no single test exists that can accurately detect Alzheimer’s, which is a common form of dementia. MRI scans, currently a common test for Alzheimer’s, are not affordable for every patient as they cost thousands of dollars.

One of Three Tax Seminars are Full

We are excited about how many people have registered for our free Trump Tax Reform and Your Tax and Estate Planning Seminar.

Please note that our Thursday, February 22, 2018 seminar at the Hotel Biltmore is full.

We still have room at our Foster City seminar (February 22nd at 2:00PM) and Palo Alto Seminars (February 27th at 2:00PM and 6:00PM).

Click here to register free.