MAGIC VALLEY — According to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA), more than 27,000 people in Idaho are living with Alzheimer's disease, a disease that impacts memory, thinking, and language skills.
AFA is hosting a free virtual event to inform people on what they need to know to prepare themselves and their loved ones for the future.
“In 2021, about 27-28,000 people are suffering from the disease right now. One of the scary things about that is, over the next five years, that number is supposed to rise by over 20 percent," David Wilson, an elder law attorney in Boise, said.
With the 20% increase, Idaho could see around 33,000 people affected by Alzheimer's disease by 2025. This is why the foundation believes it is crucial, even for those not currently directly affected by the disease, to prepare early.
“It affects so many of us. Almost everyone is going to end up having a loved one, a friend, a coworker, or a family member who is affected by this disease. Understanding early on what it entails and how to prepare yourself and what you can do to make sure it doesn’t affect your life in a really bad way is wonderful," Wilson said.
Their 2021 National Educating America Tour will include Wilson, informing people on the importance of estate planning and how to protect your assets.
Wilson will also advise families on how to build a robust plan for their long-term care.
“I think, sometimes, one of the most important things is getting prepared early so that the person who has the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s gets to participate in the decision-making. Some people think when you have Alzheimer's that you’re gone, you’re not there anymore, that you don’t even know who you are, and have a bad memory. That’s not really true," Wilson said.
He says it's important to have your loved ones involved in the planning process and making decisions for the future.
“'Are there things I need to do to prepare for when I pass to make sure my spouse or my loved ones are going to be taken care of from a financial standpoint?' Those are the basic questions and steps I end up dealing with every day," Wilson said.
The virtual event will take place on August 17 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. MST and is open to the public. For more information, you can visit their website.