Medical Incapacity Planning Terms You Should Know – Part 1

People in the Colorado Springs, Colorado area who create an incapacity plan should have a basic understanding of some important medical terms and definitions. When you create an incapacity plan you will look ahead to the future and make choices about the kind of care and treatment you want to receive if you ever become incapacitated. Understanding the common causes of incapacitation, as well as what happens to people who suffer from various types of medical conditions, can be a great help when you are considering the kind of care you wish to accept or refuse. So today, in our first part of a two-part series on medical incapacity planning terms you should know, we are going to take a look at some of the more common terms associated with physical and mental incapacitation.

Medical Incapacity Planning Terms

  • Dementia. Dementia is a kind of umbrella term that applies to numerous medical conditions and situations. Someone who is suffering from dementia has experienced a decline in their cognitive abilities. They are no longer able to think clearly, recall memories, or understand the circumstances in which they currently are. Dementia is not a single condition, but rather a spectrum of conditions that range in severity from very minor to very serious. People suffering from more serious forms of dementia are unable to perform even the most basic of daily abilities, while someone with minor dementia may not exhibit any major symptoms. Some people refer to dementia as “senility,” though this term is not widely used by medical professionals.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a kind of dementia, and a very common medical condition in seniors and the elderly. The sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, Alzheimer’s disease is degenerative, meaning it gets worse as a person gets older. There are no known cures or treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, and like other forms of dementia, people with it can display a wide range of symptoms.
  • Global Cognitive Impairment. A person with global cognitive impairment has suffered an injury or illness that has almost completely degraded their higher mental abilities. People with global cognitive impairment are unable to recognize other people, understand their surroundings, make judgments, or even express themselves. Someone with global cognitive impairment is almost completely mentally incapacitated.
  • Immobilization. To contrast cognitive impairments against physical impairments, there is immobilization. When a person is immobilized, that person has lost the ability to control one or more parts of his or her body. A person with severe arthritis, for example, might lose the ability to control his or her hands. While immobilization results in disability, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the person’s ability to make decisions is affected.

Call us if you have more questions!

Incapacitation can be an uncomfortable subject to talk about, but it’s important to communicate with your family your wishes.  If you have more questions about medical incapacity, please contact us!  We look forward to serving you.

Author Bio

Catherine Hammond is the CEO and founder of Hammond Law Group, a Colorado-based estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With a strong focus on protecting families from the legal consequences of disability and death, she creates comprehensive estate plans that minimize taxes, costs, and government interference.

A native of Denver, Catherine completed her undergraduate studies at Coe College in Iowa, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in 1993, concentrating on estate planning, tax, and mediation. Catherine is a member of various professional organizations, including WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Colorado Springs Estate Planning Council, and the Purposeful Planning Institute. Beyond her legal expertise, Catherine provides transformational coaching to support clients and their families through life transitions.

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