The following is an article from the May 2019 issue of "Get Your Ducks in a Row" Carolina Family Estate Planning's free newsletter. You can read the rest of the issue, as well as back issues of our newsletter online at www.carolinafep.com/library/newsletters/ or subscribe for free at www.carolinafep.com/newsletter.cfm
From time to time, you run into projects that take on a life of their own. You get signs along the way that what you’re doing is not only wanted, but needed in the world. A project becomes a calling. In our March newsletter, I wrote about the National Alliance of Attorneys for Alzheimer’s Planning (N3AP). Although the conference we’d attended was N3AP’s first ever event, it marked a midpoint in our dementia journey.
I met my first client with a dementia diagnosis a few months after I opened the firm in 2009, and since then we have walked alongside many clients with dementia and their families. Last year, my step-grandmother—I always called her Gram—succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease. Dan’s grandmother passed away with non-specific dementia in January.
In happier news, my grandfather, who suffers from vascular dementia, just celebrated his 95th birthday this month.
With N3AP and Dementia Capable Cary gaining traction, I feel it’s time to take another big step. We are being called to use our firm to do more. That’s why today I am announcing the formation of The Alzheimer’s Planning Center at Carolina Family Estate Planning.
The Alzheimer’s Planning Center is a special division within the firm devoted to helping those affected by cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. While our firm has always strived to help these individuals and their families, The Alzheimer’s Planning Center is the culmination of more than a year’s focused effort. We’ve been dreaming and planning behind the scenes with our founding members of N3AP, thinking more holistically about how we could better serve these individuals and families.
Our mission is to help individuals and their families maximize quality time with their loved ones and live the best lives possible. We will provide them with comfort, security, and confidence by:
- Maintaining a library of reliable information that addresses families’ pressing legal, financial, care, and other needs;
- Connecting families with a vetted Concierge Network of professionals and resources in our community—the people we would choose to work with our own family in a time of crisis, as well as hosting community events with local resources; and
- Implementing Memory Safeguard Planning for clients who have recently been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, clients who feel they are at an elevated risk of future cognitive impairment, or those who are in the advanced stages of cognitive impairment, and their families.
Memory Safeguard Planning and the resources of the Alzheimer’s Planning Center are about giving clients as much control as we sensibly can and preserving their dignity for the rest of their lives. By facilitating a Family Meeting during and after planning, we can help family members know what to expect and how best to respect our clients’ wishes.
Our goal is to reduce family stress and infighting, to reduce the likelihood of painful guardianship proceedings, and to eliminate uncertainty about a client’s healthcare, finances, long-term care, and end-of-life wishes.
Our hope with the Alzheimer’s Planning Center is to alleviate the confusion, doubt, and anxiety of cognitive impairment. By doing so, we hope to give everyone a better quality of life.
If you or a loved one is caring for someone with dementia, get a copy of our new report, A Guide to Alzheimer's Care, which includes more about my personal family experiences with Alzheimer’s and dementia and journey to Alzheimer’s and dementia planning.