Dementia Focused Practice
As a dementia focused practice, our members are dedicated to helping a person with dementia and their loved ones navigate through all stages of the disease process by ensuring that the client and family have access to the appropriate legal services, medical services, social services, and family support. A dementia focused practice needs to be able to guide the family through the legal process to ensure appropriate documents are in place prior to losing the ability to make decisions, working with a medical provider that specializes with dementia, and supporting the family by being available when they need you.
According to the World Health Organization, it is believed that more than 9 million Americans live with some form of dementia today. Even more shocking, when all forms of Dementia are combined, they are globally thought to be the 3rd leading cause of death, just behind heart disease and stroke in high-income countries.
Maybe these numbers are not surprising to you. In fact, you may be asking why dementia planning should really be treated any different than planning for anyone’s final chapter. The answer to that, however, may just be the surprise…
Elder law and estate planning are not just about what happens when someone dies. The most important question is: “What happens if they do not die and need long-term care?” That care and those decisions can look incredibly different depending on their diagnosis. The sheer number and extent of challenges facing the person with dementia; their families and caregivers; and their professional advisors, such as their attorney, are sobering.
Those who have seen a loved one go through the end stages of life understand how many decisions need to be made. When you add dementia into the mix with these decisions, the weight can be overwhelming. That is where the Dementia-Focused Practice comes in.
Of course, Dementia-Focused Practices discuss cognitive impairment specific health directives, but they also guide clients, their families and their caregivers through incredibly tough, incomprehensible times. They provide information and resources on medical care, as well as aspects of daily life, including where the person with dementia should live, spend their days and how their money is allocated.
Being able to shed some light on what could happen if someone were to be diagnosed one day is a major eye opener for most clients who have never experienced Alzheimer’s or dementia previously. Then, having a plan, making the unknowns known helps remove that weight and paralyzing fear. The Dementia-Focused Practice helps clients find or already have the answers ready to the questions they don’t even know to ask.
Dementia-Focused Practices also strive to be as dementia-friendly as possible. Meaning, the comfort and well-being of the person with dementia while in the office is incredibly important. This is true no matter where the person is in their cognitive decline. Being dementia-friendly means all staff is specially trained to ensure they are treating people with dementia, as well as their loved ones and caregivers, with the respect and acknowledgment they deserve.
It’s not just that Dementia-Focused Practices want to help clients be prepared for a possible diagnosis. They truly see the need for them to have some form of relief knowing that they are prepared, if that day comes.