Friday, June 24, 2011

Alzheimer's Claims Another Icon

Today the world lost another icon when actor Peter Falk passed away. He'd had Alzheimer's disease for several years, according to his daughter.

Some of us who are old enough, welcomed Falk into our living rooms as we watched him solve murder mysteries in his own unique way on the long-running television series "Columbo." He also played a role in the iconic 1980s film The Princess Bride.

Some news reports mentioned a 2008 legal battle that began when Falk's daughter went to court seeking conservatorship once her father's dementia had progressed to a certain point. He apparently had named his wife legal guardian after he was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

The Falks' situation underscores the need for all families to decide on a course of action well before a parent or spouse is in need of a higher level of care. This includes legal preparations such as assigning power of attorney and preparing advanced health directives in the event they are needed. This is good advice for any family but especially so for those whose parents have begun to display signs of dementia.

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