Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and legal rights have been in the news recently, as high profile figures like 80-year-old Donald Sterling, former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, and 70-year-old Pat Bowlen, former owner of the Denver Broncos, have relinquished control of their respective teams while battling Alzheimer’s.
Establishing solid financial and legal plans with your loved ones is essential after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Learn more about how to plan during this time.
Sterling and Bowlen’s end-of-career-trajectories couldn’t be more different, though they have one thing in common: Alzheimer’s.
Sterling, banned from the NBA and subsequently removed from the Clipper’s board of trustees, became engaged in a highly contentious court battle, during his attempts to stop his estranged wife and former co-owner, Shelly Sterling, from selling the team.
Bowlen, by contrast, began quietly handing over management of the Broncos then-team-president Jim Ellis in 2011, when his disease first became a struggle. He formally promoted Ellis to CEO and then stepped away from team management.
While Sterling and Bowlen certainly have differences, their stories clearly illustrate the difference between operating in crisis mode and following a carefully considered course of action.
“No one likes to talk about end-of-life care,” says Kim Boyer, founder of Boyer Law Group, who has been practicing elder law for 19 years. “The majority of clients who come to us are dealing with a current crisis for which there’s been no preparation.” No matter what stage you’re in, however, there are several steps you can take to keep you and your family on the right path.
We all hope that we’ll be fortunate enough to avoid mental and physical incapacitation in our old age, but the reality, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, is that “1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.”
To create a thorough elder care plan, Boyer recommends the following course of action:
To fully protect your interests, you should pre-designate a representative to act in each of the following roles:
It may be a difficult subject to tackle, but talking with family about what you’d like to have happen should you become incapacitated toward the end of your life can prevent a lot of future stress.
“Being able to say, ‘this is what Mom wanted,’ can relieve a lot of tension for care providers,” Boyer points out. A few things to consider:
It’s important to figure out how you’ll pay for the care you may need, and to leave a clear working plan for the party or parties who may eventually take over your affairs. Depending on your age and current situation, you may need to:
Have you created a financial or legal plan for a loved one after dementia? What was your experience like? Share your story with us in the comments below.
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