Dementia mainly affects older people, but it is not an inevitable part of aging. Still, it is fairly common in senior adults, resulting in it being one of the major causes of disability and dependency among their age group. It starts with simple forgetfulness, which will progress until your entire awareness becomes hazy.
As such, developing dementia is one of a business leader’s biggest fears. The disease can make you lose everything you’ve worked hard for because your memory is failing you. In addition, having dementia can make you vulnerable to scams by your own colleagues or even family members. Someone who will stop at nothing to get their hands on your assets may take advantage of your condition, making you sign papers that are actually property transfer documents disguised as something else.
Fortunately, you won’t be entirely helpless if you acquire dementia while still working as your company’s chairperson. A trustworthy elder law lawyer will allow you to protect your properties and assets, as well as your estate when the time of your passing comes. They can also help your family members arrange your healthcare requirements should you become fully dependent on them.
If you think you’re at risk of developing dementia in your old age, here’s how to protect your business from the potential losses it could create:
1. Increase Dementia Awareness in Your Workplace
The term “dementia” isn’t unheard of to most people, but not many actually understand it. Some use “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s disease” interchangeably, but Alzheimer’s is just the most common form of dementia.
There are twelve other forms of dementia. What all of them have in common are their memory-deteriorating capabilities. Apart from that, dementia, in all forms, can also alter thinking, behaviors, and the ability to perform daily activities.
Developing the early stages of dementia can still allow you to work normally. However, the disease tends to be stigmatized in the workplace. Sufferers are unwilling to talk about their condition for fear of being discriminated against or asked to discontinue working.
Hence, if you face the risk of acquiring the disease, increase your organization’s awareness about dementia. It will be helpful if you have fellow elderly colleagues or younger employees who might be at risk as well. Tell them how to seek help or treatment if they’re exhibiting symptoms. Early assessment and diagnosis can prevent problems that’ll affect one’s ability to work.
2. Secure a Durable Power of Attorney
There is no cure for dementia. If you develop Alzheimer’s disease, you’ll deal with a degenerative illness, the progress of which cannot be slowed down. The drug or non-drug treatments can only alleviate your symptoms.
Hence, you need to secure a durable power of attorney while you’re still sharp. It will allow your lawyer to make financial decisions on your behalf when you become incapacitated. They can work with your family members and business colleagues to prepare your financial documents whenever needed.
3. Make Business Succession Plans
If you have heirs who will soon take ownership of your business, start transitioning them into the role. Doing so only when you start to become forgetful can cause problems. Even if you’re not at risk of dementia, still make business succession plans just in case a different disease affects you.
Ensure that your successors are trustworthy and qualified to lead your organization. People with dementia can be taken advantage of by their loved ones. If your instinct tells you that one of your heirs may cause problems, ask your lawyer what you can do. They’ll take measures to keep a problematic heir from accessing your business’s finances.
4. Protect Your Assets From Financial Exploitation
Aside from problematic heirs, dishonest employees or business partners can also take advantage of your condition. With your wits still intact, protect your assets from exploitation through your lawyer. They can identify and alert the people you trust about financial exploitation they might’ve missed. In addition, your lawyer can report fraudulent or any criminal activity involving your assets, allowing you and your trusted loved ones to prevent worse-case scenarios.
Preparing your business from your potential dementia may sound as if you’re being paranoid, but sometimes, early defensive measures are necessary. Considering that dementia is progressive and impossible to delay, it’s all you could do to protect your wealth and stay well away from dishonest predators. The disease may cause you to be helpless at times, but with a competent lawyer and trustworthy loved ones by your side, anyone who plans a ploy against you will not get their chance. So as early as now, even if you’re still perfectly healthy, start protecting your business.