***By direct request of the American Bar Association, renowned Elder Law attorney and Senior Advocate Rick Law, has penned a new book with co-author attorney Kerry Peck. “Alzheimer’s and the Law: Counseling Clients with Dementia and Their Families” is designed as a textbook for all practicing attorneys in any discipline!
From the Foreward:
Alzheimer’s and the Law: Counseling Clients with Dementia and Their Families.
In my new novel, Identical, Tim Brodie, an elderly private investigator, who hopes to unravel the mysteries of a murder that took place nearly three decades before, visits a nursing home so he can interview Lidia Gianis, 87, a woman Tim has known for years, but who is now deeply in the grip of dementia:
This dialogue, unfortunately, is based more on experience than imagination. My mother, who passed in 2011 at the age of 91, spent her last 6 years, increasingly confused by dementia. The perseveration and repetitions that characterize Lidia’s conversation became familiar to me, as did the fact that my mom could have unpredictable flashes of amazing lucidity. Caring for her was always a challenge, even though I had the complete support of my sister, Vicki, who shared the responsibility with me, and the heroic assistance of two wonderful cousins, Joy and Sy Dordick, who spent time with my mom, and often stood in for me when I was travelling. Nonetheless, when my mom lay dying, I felt compelled to ask her whether she wanted to go on with her life. That was simply not a decision any of us felt we could make for her.
“Are you ready to quit?” I asked my mother.
She shook her head no. I doubt that she understood the ful implications of the question, but she got the basic point and Alzheimers or not, my sister and I abided by her decision that she was not ready to die. The medical interventions continued, although she was gone days later, notwithstanding.
The complexity of that moment and of entrusting such a profound question to someone whose capacities were so compromised makes for intense family drama. But the legal implications of such situations are in many ways even more difficult to unravel.
That is why this is such a fascinating and important book. It is not the usual ponderous legal treatise. It’s a practical quick start guide so that you, as a professional, can be a beacon to a client, a friend, a loved one, or even a colleague who has been affected by the darkness of dementia.
When it comes to understanding Alzheimer’s disease, lawyers are lay-people. Every one of us knows someone who has been affected, but the disease is so pervasive and frightening that many of us try to block it from our minds. When someone asks us what they should do now that a loved one has been diagnosed, we don’t even know how to begin to find the right answers. This book will be your starting point and a trustworthy guide. It is written by practicing lawyers who are on the front lines fighting to serve clients with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. In this book they share with you their practice-pointers, secret wisdom, and the uncommon knowledge that comes from years of multiple client experiences.
You are about to meet some great storytellers and many deeply admirable people. The authors know that no matter how well attorneys fulfill their legal role, when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia sufferers and their families need help from a team of capable and concerned professionals. Within these pages you will hear from nurses, legal guardians, advocates for elder-abuse victims, hospice personnel, Alzheimer’s Association leaders, technology visionaries, geriatric psychiatrists, police officers specializing in scam prevention, family caregivers, forensic experts, and even prosecutors. Each one has an important story to tell that will provide you and your client with the gift of deeper understanding.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the scourges of our time, and one whose toll on the country will only deepen with the aging of the Baby Boomers and the inevitability of increased life spans. Curing Alzheimer’s would probably do more than any single step to reduce health care expenses and–far more important–improve the quality of life of the elderly here and around the world. But until there is a cure, you’ll be grateful to have this book at your side. -Scott Turow