Liz Shabaker, CFP, the CEO at Versant Capital Management in Phoenix, AZ, has earned the CDC (Dementia Care Certified) designation from Dementia Care Education, a recognized provider of dementia education, training, and clinical trials recruitment. The organization provides programs specifically designed to meet the educational needs of professionals who work with people who have Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.

Dementia is a general term for memory loss, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. As people age, their odds of cognitive decline increase. Dementia presents a particularly challenging set of emotional, medical, and financial issues. Financial planning often gets pushed aside because of the stress and fear around the topic.

Dementia Care Education has prepared Liz to be proactive in recognizing the early signs of dementia in clients, often before their own families. She can assist her clients by providing specially-tailored financial advice both before a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other dementias and after. Because people with dementia have more hospital and nursing home stays and home care visits, it places a financial burden on those diagnosed with it and their families. Liz provides ongoing guidance with planning and managing the cost of care.

“As families prepare for the future, they often do not include the prospects of abnormal aging and a dementia diagnosis,” says Brian Browne, President of Dementia Care Education. “Having financial leaders like Liz and firms like Versant Capital Management become Dementia Care Certified® help facilitate excellence in multi-generational discussions about dementia and the aging process while financially planning for the future.”

As a wealth management professional, Liz’s guidance can lessen the anxiety associated with financial issues and planning for the future related to dementia. This includes talking with clients early about the potential for dementia – a step that makes it easier to honor an incapacitated person’s wishes related to medical treatment, financial planning, and other sensitive issues.

Liz’s dementia care training can help her improve the quality of life and outcomes for her clients with dementia and their families. She has a deep understanding of dementia, the available treatments, dementia-related communication and its associated behaviors, and the current medical research that can help families to better navigate their situation. She explains, “For clients who know their memory is failing, planning can be reassuring. It helps them feel much more secure about and in control of what may be ahead of them.”

While some financial planners don’t understand the complications of elderly clients, Liz finds working with seniors satisfying. “As the baby boomer generation ages, the number of people with Alzheimer’s and related disorders will increase. Getting a financial team ready is as important as a medical one,” she said.

Liz Shabaker joined Versant Capital Management in 2009 and is the chief executive officer, overseeing all aspects of wealth management for the firm, with a special interest in family governance, next-generation planning, and helping women experiencing life transitions such as divorce, death of a spouse, or inheritance.