Alzheimer's

The topic for this month’s newsletter is an outgrowth of how much we have been affected recently by Alzheimer’s.  A neighbor of Rebecca's with Alzheimer's went out for a walk in mid-June and never came back home.  To everyone's great relief, he was found in a hospital on the 17th of July, but for a month he had been a source of major consternation for his family and friends.  Alzheimer’s, unfortunately, is claiming more and more people and is impacting their loved ones.

Alzheimer's:  A Client's Story

Since starting our business, we have had four clients with Alzheimer’s and for us taking care of Alzheimer’s is not about taking care of the disease.  Every client we see is at a different stage of the disease (see resources below for descriptions of the different stages). At each stage we need to determine, together with clients, their families and their other professionals, how we can help them navigate organizationally through the coming stages of their lives.  What can they do when?  What do they need when?  Who do they need to help them?

George is a good example:  Gideon got a call from a friend in Italy asking if we could assist George.  Rebecca and Gideon met with George for the initial consultation and then Rebecca began to see him on a bi-weekly basis.  George was still employed at a major NYC hospital in the back office, but he was not happy because he felt that his boss was displeased with his work.  He recognized that he was not doing as well at his job since his return from an extended vacation.  He sought help because he is, to some extent, aware of his deteriorating situation.  Fortunately, the deterioration has been slow enough for him to live a good life, but changes were necessary for him to continue to do so.

Our initial questions were basic:  “Was he in enough control of his affairs to manage more or less alone?”  “Was he properly prepared legally and financially for what was to come?”  “Did he have enough income to retire or should he keep on working in order to achieve a higher level of retirement benefits?”  As Rebecca and George talked, it became clear that George wanted very much to be out of his job, so they reviewed the documents he had from the hospital’s Human Resources department. Together they met with a woman in the HR department who was very helpful and who, at Rebecca’s request, directed them to the person in charge of medical benefits.  George is now on medical leave for four months, using up his banked sick days.  When the medical leave is over, Rebecca will work with him on the paperwork and he will retire at a pension level higher than he would have received had he retired without using the medical leave he had coming to him.

In the five months that they have been working together, George and Rebecca have:

  • Gotten his Social Security benefits started.
  • Activated an annuity from a previous employer.
  • Discussed with his financial advisor how best to set up his modest portfolio to support him on a monthly basis going forward.
  • Paid off his credit card debts.
  • Cancelled some recurring charges to his credit cards.
  • Simplified his life by eliminating the use of all credit cards but one.
  • Reviewed his spending and income and are confident that he will be able to continue to live comfortably.  Some years ago, he had wisely bought a Long Term Care insurance policy, which should help if he needs a home health aide in the future.

George’s friend had found an attorney for him, and Rebecca and George worked with the attorney to get a will, Power of Attorney, and Health Care Proxy in place while George can still make informed decisions.  Rebecca escorted George to the attorney visits because one problem George currently faces is finding his way to unfamiliar places.

Meanwhile, George’s therapist is working with him to find a regular part-time paid or volunteer job that will add regularity to his life in replacement of his past employment.  Rebecca continues to go periodically to make sure George’s daily finances are in order.  The challenge is to respect George’s independence and allow him to have as much control as possible even though he is at times quite confused about the daily financial details of his life.

Rebecca and Gideon are thinking ahead to what preparations will need to be made with, and for, George as he enters the next stage of his life and how we can help him implement additional plans.

George is about to fly off to Italy to visit his friend for three weeks at the suggestion of his financial advisor who encouraged him to enjoy a vacation sooner rather than later.  Rebecca and Gideon are working with George and his friend to make sure he gets to his flight safely using a car service and someone to accompany him as far as airport security allows.

Our tagline, “Life Keeping, Not Just Bookkeeping®,” continues to reflect accurately our involvement with our clients.

July 2008 - FEATURE
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