My dad, only 65, has Alzheimer’s disease. I am embarrassed to think about how unprepared I was when my clients and their families faced this problem before I experienced it firsthand. No continuing education course or industry regulation was comprehensive enough to make me ready for it.

The most important thing I had never learned is how crucial it is to give clients in this situation hope. Insecurity and confusion about money can end marriages, divide families and ruin estate plans. So it’s safe to say that families facing dementia need care in this area just as much as anyone else—if not more so.

Advisors can play a powerful role in these situations, and can dramatically improve the lives of those facing dementia. Of course, they must do the usual things one does when dealing with family members with memory loss, turning to tools such as powers of attorney, assigning trusted contacts, inviting beneficiaries to review meetings and planning for health costs. But the following three lessons were the most eye-opening for me.

1. Your client’s life is not over yet when they have Alzheimer’s.
This may sound obvious, but it’s a point that can quickly get lost. My parents had these ideas of things they still wanted to do in retirement, but when my mom had to take the debit card and car keys away from my dad, a lot of time was spent focusing on what would not be happening after the Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

No doubt, it’s tricky to approach conversations about the future. How do you bring up life insurance conversion options without being insensitive? How do you work on a budget and mention long-term-care expenses?

It’s important for advisors to incorporate some positivity into this process by reallocating clients’ resources to technology and lifestyle choices that enrich their lives. Maybe vacations aren’t in the picture anymore, but there are other things clients can do, like take in-home music or art lessons or get subscription meal services. Maybe the couple can hire someone once a week to let the caretaker get some time off. You can ask, “What are three to five things that might make your lives a bit easier or more enjoyable during the week?”

Needless to say, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in a family doesn’t remove other longstanding marital and family issues. In fact, the fighting can get worse among family members for whom there is desperation for closure and forgiveness.

One way you can help is by thinking about a budget for counseling. Support groups and professional help in tense family situations can drastically improve your clients’ quality of life.

2. Let your clients speak.
During certain phases of Alzheimer’s, my dad didn’t think he was allowed to talk anymore. His filter has gone away since then, but for a while he was petrified of saying something wrong, repeating himself or being pitied. But that wasn’t all on him. Some of that came from others rushing him, correcting him when it wasn’t necessary or letting their frustration show on their faces.

A client with dementia who is sitting in your office maybe hasn’t spoken much all week. And if a companion is there, they may be overly protective, speaking for the client. This is why many financial articles will tell you to look out for clients suddenly being quiet in meetings.

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