According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Having a parent or sibling with Alzheimer’s disease does increase one’s risk somewhat above the general population’s risk of developing the disease. Some people with such family histories, and some without such histories, wish to have a genetic test that will answer the question: ‘Will I be next?’” But the real question is “Would I Want to Know?”
Here are 10 reasons I propose that you might be better-off knowing:
- You can draw up health care documents. These include a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care.
- You can develop financial directives such as a general power of attorney and a will.
- You can conduct long-term financial planning while you’re still able to.
- You can do now the things you’ve always planned to do when you retire.
- You can resign or retire from your job or take an early retirement, if you can afford it.
- You can try to reduce your hours, if you can’t leave work entirely.
- You can spend more time enjoying your family and friends.
- If you develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s at least you’ll know why and not expect so much of yourself.
- You can tell family and friends so they will understand and possibly avoid becoming frustrated or even angry about any difficult behaviors you may exhibit.
In addition, you can do some serious thinking about your life and decide if there’s anything else you want to do now.
Getting tested for a genetic susceptibility to Alzheimer’s, especially if the disease runs in your family, is a very personal decision. However, knowing the results, particularly if they do show an increased risk, may help you make the right decisions about your life now.