My dad, only 65, has Alzheimer’s disease.

I am embarrassed to think about how unprepared I was when clients and their families faced dementia before my dad was sick. No continuing education course or industry regulation was comprehensive enough to help.

And, perhaps more importantly, I had never learned how crucial it is to give hope. Insecurity and confusion around 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 anyone else—if not more.

Advisors play a powerful role—they have the ability to dramatically improve the lives of those facing dementia. Of course, there are the usual tools, such as powers of attorney, 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.

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 will not be after an Alzheimer’s disease 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?

Incorporate some positivity by reallocating resources to technology and lifestyle choices that enrich your clients’ lives. Maybe vacations aren’t in the picture, but other things like a good cell phone, in-home music or art lessons, meal subscription services that couples can do together, or hiring someone once a week to let the caretaker get some time off, are important. You can ask, “What are three to five things that might make your lives a bit easier or more enjoyable during the week?”

It is worth mentioning that any existing long-standing marital and family issues do anything but go away once someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, fighting can get worse in the desperation for closure and forgiveness. One way you can show that there are still years ahead is thinking about budgeting for counseling. Support groups and professional help can drastically improve your clients’ quality of life.

2. Let your clients speak.

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