An Alzheimer’s diagnosis is a devastating blow, one that requires immediate action to ensure the financial resources built over a lifetime can sustain a person through this progressive and fatal disease.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. With more than 5 million Americans now living with the disease today, that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. That doesn’t even take into account the nearly 11 million people who care for a loved one with the disease. If current trends continue, Alzheimer’s will bankrupt families, communities and our healthcare system. It is for this reason that my wife (the elder law counselor in my firm) and I sit on a committee that helps to organize Williamsburg’s Walk to End Alzheimer. In fact, my wife pledges her time and efforts to find a cure for this disease by serving as that committee’s Chairman this year.
Although our family has thus far been spared, I know all too well from clients and their loved ones just how devastating, how completely life altering, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be. Should you and your family be facing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, there are probably a million thoughts racing through your mind, from keeping your loved one safe to caring for them as the disease progresses. The one thing you might not think about, however, is the need for estate planning. As a recent article by Reuter’s explains, if you or someone you love has a family history of dementia, is showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s or is concerned about later-life planning, it’s time to get to work. You’ll want to assemble a team that specializes in long-term care planning and elder care issues; in other words, a law firm such as mine, which dedicates it practice to estate planning and more specifically, elder law planning. We help families navigate the myriad issues relevant to their new reality. Whether or not that can be accomplished with simple powers of attorney for health and wealth or requires the use of trusts that help qualify them for needs-based programs like Medicaid and Veterans Pension Benefits, the elder law firm assists its clients in shaping their unique legal framework: the invaluable means they will required in order to guarantee that the services that will be needed as the disease progresses will be there.
I hope all of my cients as well as my local readers will think about participating in Williamsburg’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s by joining our team. In addition to offering yo the chance to be a part of the cure with your donation, joining our team offers you access to a wealth of solutions to the problems facing those with the disease and those that care for them. Know that there is a team in your area wherever you reside that is longing for your participation. Just follow the links from our home page.
Reference: Reuters (July 20, 2011) “Alzheimer’s: early planning critical to financial health”