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Health experts urging families to get real about healthcare planning for dementia diagnosis

A staggering 47.5 million people currently live with a form of dementia.

In June, Rita Collins opened up a Milwaukee life care management business called IKOR in order to help locals navigate the complicated health care system from providing financial advice to medical advocacy.

Collins says one the biggest hurdles to quality care is that the patient is often in denial and waits to get help.

"The best thing they can do is get information and get education and learn the prognosis," Collins told the CBS 58 News at 4. "They have to accept that and learn the ways to handle the disease."

Collins group includes Tina Becherer  who is a Registered Nurse advocate.

"There's a stigma that comes with diagnosis," Becherer says. "People think it's normal to have memory issues. They chuck it off and don't want to find out what the problem is. It's very important to get a correct diagnosis and do what you can to help yourself."

While IKOR can help manage the many individuals who will have a role in a patient's care, Collins urges folks to start planning early with everyone in their circle, including family members, financial advisers and an attorney.

And that's good not only for the patient but their primary caretaker.

"It's important for the caregiver to know they're not doing this alone."

Becherer often advises families to release the person that once was and accept the dementia patient as a new person in their lives.

But she says the diagnosis is not as dire as once thought because of continued medical advances and varying stages of the disease.

"Every year, they're leap frogging forward," says Becherer. "It's important to know where you are with the different levels of dementia. Knowledge is power."

For more information on the services of IKOR click here

Other resources include:

Alzheimer's Foundation: 1-866-232-8484

Alzheimer's Association: 1-800-272-3900

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