As the population ages, some best practices are emerging for how financial advisors can help clients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, says Steve Starnes, senior financial advisor with Grand Wealth Management in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Advisors are increasingly being confronted with clients with cognitive impairment and more advisors are trying to educate themselves on the issue, he says.

Starnes recently joined Grand Wealth Management, an investment management firm with $200 million in assets under management, after being with Savant Capital Management in Washington, D.C. He specializes in helping clients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

“I see the role of financial advisors as guiding behavior of clients. If we can deal with the possibility of dementia ahead of time, it will reduce the stress for everyone,” he says.

One of the best practices to emerge in recent years is for advisors to obtain an advocate designation form or emergency notification form before there is any problem

“Then if a client comes to me and wants to invest $50,000 in something that seems like a scam, I can contact a family member or family lawyer to warn them,” he says. In addition, “a client’s privacy policy should be written with some flexibility, so the advisor can reach out to someone if there is a concern.”

Advisors should have conversations with employees to tell them what kind of signs to watch for in clients that might indicate cognitive impairment.

“If you think about these things ahead of time, everyone can be more prepared,” he says.