Julieanne E. Steinbacher, CELA*, was interviewed for a recent issue of The Elder Law Report, a trade association publication for elder law practitioners from across the country. During the interview, Julie discussed the aspects of a dementia-focused practice and why it’s important for elder law attorneys to recognize and meet the legal planning needs of dementia patients.
A dementia-focused practice will guide the client with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia through the disease’s stages, leaving no stone unturned. A comprehensive, team approach will plan for long-term care expenses, educate on behavioral interventions and how to combat caregiver stress, protect against financial exploitation, and utilize social workers who can connect the client with community resources. Examples of resources include books and educational brochures available through the Alzheimer’s Association’s website (www.alz.org) and the latest, innovative products that make life with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia more manageable (i.e. doorbell alerts, monitor bracelets, memory phones, etc.).
“Historically, our office has seen clients who are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s,” said Steinbacher. “Today, early detection of Alzheimer’s is possible due to technological and medical advances. As a result, we are seeing an increase in our clients who themselves have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.” Julie continued, “Our job as elder law attorneys is to fully understand our clients’ diagnosis and the community resources that are available to assist them in their journey.”
Julie is the founder of the National Alliance of Attorneys for Alzheimer’s Planning (N3AP), a national association for member attorneys who focus on Alzheimer’s Planning. This non-profit group is dedicated to giving attorneys the tools and confidence they need to lead the Alzheimer’s conversation within their communities and empower those affected by Alzheimer’s with the resources they need.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and the most common form of dementia. It is estimated that six million people are currently living with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. By the year 2050, that number is projected to be 14 million. Approximately one in 10 adults over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.
To learn more about Alzheimer’s legal planning, please call 1-800-351-8334 for a free consultation.
*Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation.