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Guest Speaker: Professor Lisa Brodoff, Seattle University School of Law

Host: John A. Warnick, Esq., Founder, Purposeful Planning Institute

Description:  How can we help our clients plan for all of the critical decisions that lay ahead after a diagnosis of dementia? In this presentation, we will look at a relatively new way of planning for a future with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia using Mental Health Advance Directives (MHADs). Typically, MHADs have been used by clients with mental disabilities like bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, and severe depression. Clients with these illnesses tend to have periods of relative stability followed by de-compensation. During less active periods of the illness, we can assist clients in drafting MHADs that predict what kind of care they are likely to need at a future time and to decide on options. However, people with dementia tend to get increasingly worse rather than cycling up and down. We will explore how this difference affects planning and future decision making about dementia care. She will outline the most difficult decision points and available planning options that people with Alzheimer’s Disease are likely to face during the long course of this illness: when to consent to out-of-home placement; how to finance the high cost of long-term care; how to handle possible future intimate relationships for self and partner; when to stop driving; and how to deal with assaultive behaviors, wandering, and possible involuntary hospitalization.   We will discuss when planning should be done, what care needs are predictable early on, and what are the legal and ethical pitfalls to MHAD planning for the long course of living with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.

Introduction to Our Guest Speaker

Lisa Brodoff is an Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Clinical Law Program at Seattle University School of Law.  She teaches courses and clinics in Elder Law, Administrative Law, and Estate and Disability planning.  Professor Brodoff has engaged in both scholarly work and impact litigation/legislative advocacy while teaching at Seattle University. Her areas of expertise are in the rights of sexual minorities, people with disabilities, the elderly, and public assistance beneficiaries; and in clinical law teaching theory. She is a frequent speaker at conferences and continuing legal education programs on topics including the right to counsel in civil matters, end-of-life and disability planning, and the administrative hearing process. Professor Brodoff was instrumental in the passage of legislation in Washington State creating the Mental Health Advance Directive, a planning document for people with mental illness. Washington’s statute is now considered model legislation for states seeking to expand the rights and planning options for people with mental illness.  She also created a new and innovative planning document for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia – the Alzheimer’s/Dementia Mental Health Advance Directive. During her off hours, she sings, plays bass, and writes music for the alternative feminist band, The Righteous Mothers, and sings back up for the lawyer soul/funk band, Func Pro Tunc.

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