Elderly womanHere’s a fascinating fact:

Every year, the Queen of England sends a personal message of congratulations to the people in her country who’ve just turned 100. In 1952, she sent 3,000 of the messages.

Last month, she sent almost 15,000.

We are living longer. Nearly every major threat to our health has suffered a serious setback in the last decade. We’ve made huge strides in the wars on cancer, heart disease, and stroke. But one of our scariest diseases stands as a glaring exception. Dementia has only grown more common and become worse.

For a long time, we knew very little about dementia and its various iterations, like Alzheimer’s disease. In 2015, that slowly started to change. One study emerged after another, each contributing its own little nugget of knowledge.

Now, experts wonder if all that new knowledge might lead to real revelations in 2016. That’s the question UK’s Independent is posing this month.

A cure seems unlikely. Most experts agree on that much. An outright cure is still a long way off, if there’s ever a cure at all. But we do still stand to make substantial headway when it comes to diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.

All of these things are expensive, mind you. Funding remains one of the biggest obstacles to progress on the dementia front. It’s a problem from the individual’s perspective too — relatively few families are prepared for the sometimes-hundreds of thousands of dollars that a dementia diagnosis can cost.

Nevertheless, all good news is welcome, and we’re excited to think that 2016 could see a lot of it.

In the meantime, the best thing we can do is to begin planning for our families’ financial security as we age. With adequate advance planning, we can ensure that when new treatments arise, we’ll have the means to take advantage of them.

Getting people to that level of preparedness is a big part of what we do in our Valdosta elder law practice. If you’d like to talk about specific, practical advice for your own family, we invite you to give us a call at (229)333-0860. We’re here to help.