Recently, hundreds participated locally in an incredible event. On Saturday, September 10th, Southeastern Idaho held its first “Walk to End Alzheimer’s®” by the Alzheimer’s Association®. The number of participants and the amount of contributions both far surpassed what I thought would be realistic.
Participants included several living with Alzheimer’s, their caregivers, family members and others who simply wanted to be involved in a tremendous cause. It was inspiring.
Nevertheless, the joy of that day has not diminished my recollection of the many times I have met with clients struggling to deal with Alzheimer’s or some other type of dementia. They have either been diagnosed with early onset dementia, or are caring for a family member living with dementia.
Equally sobering is the reaction of many clients when we discuss the challenges for both the patient and the family caregivers. Even if tears are not shed, glistening eyes betray the tremendous burden this disease imposes on so many.
There are some very simple steps which can help you and your spouse prepare for such circumstances. If your family is already dealing with challenges like Alzheimer’s, there are resources available. Start by going to www.alz.org.
There are also some simple ways to ensure your estate plan accounts for these circumstances. Estate planning is more than deciding what happens to your assets when you die. It should address a plan of action if you or your spouse must deal with the “complications of life” such as a serious health condition. Alzheimer’s is certainly one such example but there are many others. Injuries from falls, including traumatic brain injuries – or strokes - are other challenges which many families must face.
Hoping you are lucky enough to avoid such challenges, or assuming your family will be able to carry the burden, simply passes on to others the burden you could help address. Be sure that planning for serious health conditions is part of your estate plan.
© 2016 Steven J Wright