“What’s your why?”
That’s a question often asked of people who get involved with fundraising for Alzheimer’s research and awareness. Deborah “Debbie” L. Britt, an elder law attorney on St. Simons Island, has heard the question many times before, as she has become committed to raising money to help fund research programs and support services for those suffering from the disease.
Her “why” is not connected to a family member or friend who has suffered from Alzheimer’s, but rather, it’s come via her clients. “In my elder law practice, we see clients and their loved ones struggling with the impact Alzheimer’s disease has on their quality of life. Alzheimer’s doesn’t just affect the person with the disease – it affects the whole family,” Debbie said.
Debbie and her legal assistant, Delaney Britt, enjoy working with Georgia Alzheimer’s Foundation, its Executive Director, Andrea Mickelson, and the Golden Isles Alzheimer’s Walk leadership team. Planning is well under way for this year’s event, which will be held on Sept. 25 at Neptune Park on St. Simons Island. Individual and team registration is now open, by visiting www.gaalz.org and following the prompts. The walk route is an easy 1 or 2 miles through the St. Simons Pier Village and surrounding neighborhoods. Law Office of Deborah L. Britt is a proud 2021 Platinum Sponsor and Team Debbie Britt Law is already accepting team member registrations and donations.
The Georgia Alzheimer’s Foundation is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization, whose mission is to support innovative research and community services for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias throughout the state.
In Glynn County, the Georgia Alzheimer’s Foundation supports Memory Matters Glynn, in Brunswick. Memory Matters provides support services including education; social activities for people with memory impairment; individual consultations; memory screening; and local support groups. Funds also support Georgia-based research being done at the Goizueta Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta.
“We know research is our number one defense in fighting this disease,” Andrea said, “but we also know individuals and families affected need education and support. Part of that education involves planning for the future, rather than waiting until circumstances become increasingly challenging. This is where professionals like Debbie are invaluable in helping families take important steps to protect and preserve their loved one’s legacy, while also ensuring they receive proper care.”
Debbie says she is passionate about individuals being able to have their “voices” heard in the event of memory loss. She comments: “With early estate planning (e.g. wills, trusts, health care directives, and powers of attorney) clients can preserve their wishes through legal documents. They can also be sure to appoint the right people to do the right things at the right times for the right reasons.” Failing to address incapacity planning early can lead to unnecessary care delays, family conflicts, and court involvement.
For families affected by Alzheimer’s and other mental incapacity concerns, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced elder law attorney. Elder law attorneys are vital because they can help clients plan for long-term care needs which often accompany an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. For long-term nursing home payment concerns, Medicaid eligibility factors can be reviewed and recommendations can be made for meeting income and resource limits. As an elder law attorney, Debbie also works cooperatively with other professionals, including accountants and financial planners, to navigate the complex processes involved in planning end-of-life care. Debbie states: “The primary goal for our elder law clients is to legally protect as many resources as possible to ensure the best quality of life for individuals and their families.”
Deborah “Debbie” L. Britt, Esq., of Law Office of Deborah Lynn Britt, LLC, is an elder law attorney located at 302 Plantation Chase, St. Simons Island. Her practice, which also includes estate planning and probate law, serves the Golden Isles and surrounding areas. For further information, or to schedule a consultation, call 912-268-2655, or visit www.debbiebrittlaw.com.