I learned about Alzheimer’s disease the hard way. My wife and I got married some 27 years ago where the whole family came together for the celebration. As we were preparing for the wedding, my father was explaining to his mom a bit about the logistics and who would be coming. Once he finished his explanation, his mom looked at him blankly and said, “OK, so then who are you?”
That was the moment that transitioned sons, daughters and grandchildren, into caregivers. Wow, how did it come to this? In 1992 people didn’t know too much about Alzheimer’s. Today we know that nearly 6M people suffer with Alzheimer’s and it is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States (according to the Alzheimer’s Association). But in 1992, we were attempting to navigate an area with little resources. Our family spent the next 5 years caring for my grandmother and trying to sort out her life.
The challenges back then were finding her physical documents in the house and determining which ones were important. It was actually a much easier task than finding documentation in today’s digital age. My grandmother had physical traces of most important house deeds, wills, healthcare information and more because nothing was done online.
Today, so many of our activities are done online with little physical evidence. Fewer and fewer people get paper bills or keep physical records. However, this digitization of a person’s life and information greatly raises the chance of identity theft. And which generation is the most vulnerable and susceptible to online scammers? Seniors. For someone struggling with memory issues, this is creates the perfect storm. Here are 7 steps you can take to protect yours or your loved one’s online information.
Over 15M Americans are providing unpaid care to Alzheimer’s patients, typically a close family member. The caregiver stress, frustration, uncertainty and at times depression can be overwhelming. The biggest advice we can offer is to start the information collection early! As family caregivers, we are tasked with organizing a digital life that we know little about, attempting to pull information from someone who’s memory is failing him or her. This is the reason Aspen Digital Life – and me, the founder, Tim Colleran – decided to develop a technology to automate this information collection. Our system helps caregivers discover a loved one’s digital life by scanning the computer – all confidentially as no information is shared or stored. We can help you get your loved one’s digital life compiled and organized. Get started!