Plan for Alzheimer’s sooner rather than later | SteamboatToday.com

Plan for Alzheimer’s sooner rather than later







— Most people spend their lives planning.

They plan their weddings, they plan their families, they make plans to get their children through college and for the day they will retire. But far too many people either avoid, or simply put off, planning for the final days of their lives.

It's always a difficult conversation to plan, but even harder if that person, or somebody they love is diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

On Wednesday, Casey's Pond and Routt County Council on Aging will host a free program offered by the Alzheimer's Association that will address legal and financial planning for families with loved ones battling Alzheimer's and dementia.

"I've been offering community education on end-of-life topics now for close to five years," said attorney Catherine Swan, of Swan Law. "Every time we offer something there is just a lot of interest and a lot of demand for more education.

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“Specifically to Alzheimer's, we see quite frequently through Casey's Pond, and our contacts in the medical community that there is a lot of concerns and a lot of families that are affected whether it's a case of having their elders live right here or maybe its kids who live here and their parents live away," added Swan, who will lead the seminar with Daniel Foley from Sleeping Giant Financial Services.

Katie Fahrenbruch, the regional director for the Alzheimer's Association, will also be on hand to answer any questions. The event will take place from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave.

“The issue is how to create a sustainable income stream for care,” Foley said. “Mom and dad saved a long time to take care of each other, and they saved to put the kids through college, and now, it's time to take care of mom and dad."

Foley said he will address many of the underlying financial issues that families dealing with an Alzheimer's diagnosis are forced to face. He said that in many cases financial decisions cannot, and should not, be postponed.

"This is going to be a big topic in the coming years," Foley said. “This seminar will address the to-dos from a legal standpoint and the to-dos from the financial standpoint."

He will address topics such as how to pay for the longterm care that Alzheimer's patients will need and how to make financial choices that are right for the patient, the family members who will be left behind and those that will provide care.

"The whole aging process is not a straight-line process," Swan said. "My father has dementia, but he doesn't have dementia 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The sooner you do get some of these advisors involved the more control you can actually have because you are expressing your priorities and your values before you get to the point of not really being able to have those coherent conversations."

That's one of the reasons Lindsey Simbeye, sales and marketing director for Casey's Pond, contacted the Alzheimer's Association and asked them to put this program on.

"I've seen a similar program in Denver, and I thought it was really great and useful information," she said. "There is a large need for these resources in our community."

Foley sees the need for this type of conversation is Steamboat growing as retirees move to town, and many of them decide to move their parents here as well.

"This a generational issue that we are dealing with." Foley said. "This isn't just our family or your family. This is something that we are all going to have to deal with at one point, or another."

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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