Spoiler alert! This is not a blog about Aerosmith, Run-DMC, or Igor in Young Frankenstein…
If you haven’t yet heard, we announced at the recent Spring Summit, that the Academy has formed a new partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association® and will be joining their new Legal Industry Leadership Counsel (LILC) to help engage law firms in progressing their mission to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support.
Having worked in the Estate Planning industry for the past few years, you know as well as I, that you are uniquely qualified to help families create well-crafted planning strategies and make their final wishes known. You may or may not have realized, that you’re also in a position to recognize early signs of dementia and arm your clients with information. As part of our new relationship, the Alzheimer’s Association® has committed to providing our Member firms with resources and tools to help educate their clients and community.
Educating clients after all is one of the reasons many of you continue to provide public education in your community about family planning options. On average, a person with Alzheimer’s lives four to eight years after diagnosis, but can live as long as 20 years, depending on other factors. For most Americans, spending 5 years in a nursing home would easily decimate their nest egg. If the planning starts early, before signs of dementia set in, oftentimes you’re able to help families sustain and pass on much of their wealth so it’s not lost to long-term care expenses.
Last but not least, there’s one more way you can help now too! Commit to walking with us this Fall.
We’re breaking new ground this October. Yes, almost 30 years in and this is a first for the Academy. We’re banding our Member firms, and possibly law firms who aren’t our Members, together to take part in a nationwide fundraising effort for the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s®.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide and is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our collective goal is to raise $250,000 and if each firm does just a little bit, it won’t take much to get there.
If you haven’t personally known someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, the odds are not in your favor. According to the Alzheimer’s Association®, more than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
For me, personally, it’s 1 in 4. I watched my closest grandparent slowly deteriorate over a period of 10 years in a run-down nursing home with no ability to recognize my family or me.
Internally, while this was happening, I was selfishly writhing with angst over the possibility that this debilitating disease could also be in my future. This is not something I would wish on any family. A while after my grandmother’s passing, I accepted that possibility along with a slew of other potential incapacitating conditions that run in my family and moved on. Then in this last year, everything came bubbling up again. A dear family friend began exhibiting signs of increasing forgetfulness. A doctor’s visit or two later and she received her unfortunate Alzheimer’s diagnosis. How could this happen? She’s a healthy and vibrant woman in her sixties. You just never know what’s in your future.
Why share all this? Because it’s rampant and insidious. It can slowly creep unannounced into your life, or in the lives of any number of your clients. You never know who it will impact, which is why we need to raise awareness earlier.
We’re hosting a Membership call on June 20th at 12:00 pm Pacific to review more about our new relationship and how you can take part in this nationwide fundraising effort. Add this to your next team meeting so you can start deciding on:
- What will your firm goal be?
- How much should each person try to raise?
- Who will take part in the walk?
- Who wants to champion this in your firm?
- How do you want to get your clients involved?
- What marketing methods do you want to use?
- Who will set up your team? alz.org/aaepa
Reach out to me if you have questions, and if you’re not currently a Member but would like information about how you can participate as well, please contact email@example.com to learn more.
….and yes, the pictures are of my nana and me, from many moons ago.
Director of Member Services
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128
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