Chicago Alzhemiers Planning

Everyone reaches a point in their life where birthdays simply stop being enjoyable. You’re another year wiser, you have another year of valuable experience under your belt, but you’re also another year…older. Getting old is terrifying for many, especially for those of us who have had to witness a family member slowly forget their loved ones, and themselves. People can go from bright and upbeat to nearly catatonic, and in the late stages of the diseases, those afflicted may forget how to dress or even hold a spoon. The diagnosis of the disease is feared by all since there is no cure, and a misdiagnosis of the disease can cause a great scare as well as leaving the real source of the memory loss untreated.

According to the Chicago Tribune, a clinic in Ohio misdiagnosed over a dozen patients with Alzheimer’s Disease back in February. One man had multiple concussions from playing high school football and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the incredibly young age of 33. Another woman who had been told she had early onset dementia actually killed herself because of the diagnosis. It was eventually revealed that the Toledo Clinic Cognitive Center did not actually have a proper psychology or medical license to give out these diagnoses, and now more than 50 people are suing the clinic’s former director, Sherry-Ann Jenkins. According to the article, Jenkins’ husband was working for the clinic and was a licensed medical practitioner. He would sign off on medical tests for patients of his wife (who only had a doctorate in psychological studies, not an M.D.) even though he would never see the patients face to face. Reports of Jenkins’ methods claims that she would advise patients to seek holistic treatments, like coconut oil and playing memory games. Allegedly, she would also advise against taking medication or seeking a second opinion, which is a huge red flag. The clinic had over 150 doctors on staff, so it is unsure at this time how many of them might be under criminal investigation as well. The clinic shut down abruptly in 2016, so it is at least some comfort that they can no longer harm other patients.

Alzheimer’s disease is incredibly stressful for everyone involved, and a false diagnosis can result in many consequences. It is important to start planning early when you receive a diagnosis (from a legitimately accredited source, likely corroborated by another doctor) and to hire a lawyer who specializes not only in elder law but also Alzheimer’s planning specifically, like Peck Ritchley, LLC in Chicago. Once diagnosed with the disease, you may wish to update your will or designate family members to take over your power of attorney once your memory deteriorates past a certain point. It is awful when a misdiagnosis can cause you to preemptively make important decisions about your future, but in the case of a terrible disease like Alzheimer’s, you can never be too early, or too careful in seeking a reliable diagnosis.