My purpose in writing these columns is to help readers make informed estate planning decisions, including “end of life” decisions. To accomplish that purpose, I try to address legal issues using “every day” terms.
It is one thing to understand a legal issue; it is another to be prepared when the complications of life arise. In my professional experience, there is no better example than long term care planning. More and more seniors, and their families, are learning the importance of planning for long term care needs . . . and the incredible difficulties that can arise when no planning is done.
In recent weeks I addressed how lives can change in an instant due to a sudden traumatic injury such as a stroke or a fall. The event may take only a moment. The long term care consequences may last for years.
Unfortunately, the challenges may be no less difficult for the person diagnosed with a condition that will require future long term care . . . and, currently, there may be nothing to prevent it. Such is the cruel struggle of the person diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia.
I have met with clients (and their families) diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. In some cases, the level of incapacity is already profound. The individual has no idea of his/her circumstances, and I work with a brave but heart-broken spouse or family. In other cases, a similarly brave person is fully aware of his/her devastating prognosis. Regardless, long term care planning obviously should include more than a discussion of legal issues.
Since the beginning of this year, a diverse group of committed professionals has been working with the Alzheimer’s Association® to bring to Southeastern Idaho critical resources for those (and their families) diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. If you would like to be part of this noble effort, we need you! Complications of life such as Alzheimer’s are about much more than legal issues, and those facing these challenges need to know there most certainly is reason to hope.
© 2015 Steven J Wright