January 10, 2022

Your Most Important New Year’s Resolution: Plan Ahead with the Alzheimer’s Association

Doug Friedman, Director of Communications, Alzheimer’s Association


New Year’s resolutions are nothing new.  Most of us grew up making New Year’s resolutions, from personal, work, or financial goals, or committing to the gym (ever try finding an open treadmill at a gym during the first two weeks of January).

For families and individuals facing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis in the early stages, no resolution could be more important than planning ahead, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease for which there is no known cure.  In the late stages, people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia are unable to make sound financial and personal care decisions.  The most responsible thing that relatives, or in the absence of family close friends can do, is to work with their loved one to plan for a future they would want.  A plan that allows them to retain their dignity, preserve assets, continue enjoying their hobbies and passions, while at the same time easing the burden on family caregivers who will be tasked with managing their care.

Here are some things that should be considered by people in the early stage of dementia and their loved ones:

1) Finances-Organize your documents and take an inventory of all your assets and debts. Identify family members that should be included in your financial plans, including who will help with routine financial responsibilities like paying bills. Talk to a financial planner or certified public accountant. 

2) Living Arrangements-Consider the wishes of the person with Alzheimer’s. Identify the costs of care. Consider the costs you may incur now and in the future. Look into home safety modifications and make arrangements related to prescriptions, personal care items, and in-home care options including Meals on Wheels and others.

3) Building a Care Team-Family, friends, neighbors, professionals, and your community are all part of your care team.  Start building your team by identifying a decision-maker you trust.  Consider what help may be needed now and in the future.

4) Consider a Clinical Trial-The Alzheimer’s Association’s TrialMatch connects individuals living with Alzheimer's, caregivers and healthy volunteers to clinical trials that may advance Alzheimer's research. TrialMatch allows users to search for studies without creating an account, choose whether to receive email notifications of new opportunities, and directly contact research teams.

Perhaps the most important resolution you can make, if you are noticing your cognitive abilities starting to fail or those of a close friend or family member, is to talk to your primary care provider about testing for Alzheimer’s.  Early diagnosis is key, allowing the most time for lifestyle enhancement techniques and financial decisions to preserve assets. 

Don’t wait until it’s too late to make sound life-altering decisions.  Plan ahead.  The time is now.

For any questions or concerns about Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, call the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900 or go to