Alzheimer’s diagnosis for Publix board member a wake up call for all of us

Corporate America has a new face for Alzheimer’s disease. Recently, Carol Jenkins Barnett, 59, stepped down from her position on the board of Publix after a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Barnett is the daughter of Publix founder George Jenkins.

Early onset Alzheimer’s includes anyone under 65

Early onset Alzheimer’s includes anyone under 65 with the disease, which currently stands at approximately 5% of 4 million American Alzheimer’s sufferers. Although it has been known to strike some in their 30s and 40s, it is more prevalent among those in their 50s.

At 59, Barnett seems too young and vibrant to have Alzheimer’s but it’s nonetheless true and not as uncommon as you might think and hope.

An Alzheimer’s diagnosis is just the beginning of your journey

The takeaway from this for my clients, and anyone reading this, is to react quickly if you or a loved one is diagnosed with the disease.

If it happens, immediately get your estate plan done (wills, trusts, powers of attorney, options with Medicaid divorce) to ensure that loved ones will have the tools to help you through this and to protect your assets for your spouse and, on occasion, young children.

At such a time, speed is of the essence. The key is to ensure that it is all put into place while you are still of sound mind in the opinion of a doctor. If one waits too late, you may lose that brief window between the diagnosis of the disease and the onset, leaving an estate in flux.

To discuss preparing for such a scenario, please be in touch with us at Generation Law. We have the breadth of experience and expertise to answer any question you might have on this and other issues regarding elder law.