Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Worried About Age Discrimination? Are You Kidding? It’s Thriving!


Sally Clark is 62 and unemployable. She’s savvy, high-energy and at the top of her game, an expert in branding. She would love to be working but can’t find a job. “I worked in corporate America for more than 40 years with big-name companies. But I cannot get a job–the same job I rocked 15 years ago. I can’t even get an interview. Nobody takes me seriously at my age–even at the job where I excelled.”

It’s a scary job market for those 50+ and it’s not getting any better

About 35% of the U.S. population is now 50 or older. And age discrimination remains a significant and costly problem for workers, their families and the economy. COVID’s tanking economy means furloughs and downsizing will have an even greater impact on an aging workforce.

Ivanka Trump just offered a suggestion to the millions of people who have been laid off or furloughed over the last few months due to COVID to just “try something new”. Well, Ivanka, finding something new for an older worker is going to be a whole lot harder in a climate where the unemployment rate is somewhere around 14% and growing. As businesses ramp back up, they’ll be looking for ways to streamline their operations and cut costs. That translates to an increase in contractors and younger employees who command lower salaries.

According to an AARP survey:

  • Nearly 1 in 4 workers aged 45 and older has been subjected to negative comments about age.
  • About 3 in 5 older workers have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace.
  • 76% of these older workers see age discrimination as a hurdle to finding a new job; half of these older workers are prematurely pushed out of longtime jobs; 90% never earn as much again.

Victoria Lipnic, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) acting chair compared age discrimination to harassment: “Everyone knows it happens every day to workers in all kinds of jobs, but few speak up. It’s an open secret.”

Age discrimination has a long-term economic impact

Nearly 30% of households headed by someone 55 or older don’t have retirement savings or a pension–they’ll have to continue working or rely on Social Security to survive. Yet workers at age 50 are highly skilled, at the top of their games and earning power. These should be important income generation years. But if someone is laid off and can’t find comparable well-paying positions, what remains open are unskilled, minimum-wage jobs.

As employers replace high-priced older workers with fresh, younger workers who are willing to work at significantly lower salaries they’re leaving a lot of intellectual capital on the table.

The socioeconomic consequences

Older people who don’t feel useful are three times more likely to develop a disability, four times more likely to die prematurely than their counterparts who are engaged in meaningful activity. If 30+ years of experience are suddenly discounted as irrelevant, the effect on your health and longevity take a toll.

Ageism: An accepted bias

The AARP Bulletin examined ageism in the workplace to determine why it is so prevalent and what can be done about it.

“Age discrimination is so pervasive that people don’t even recognize it’s illegal,” asserts Kristin Alden, an attorney specializing in employee rights at the Alden Law Group in Washington, D.C.  In the workplace, we found illegal age discrimination in:

  • Recruitment and hiring, when younger applicants are shown favor simply because of their age.
  • On-the-job bias, when older workers receive fewer training opportunities, promotions and rewards, or are harassed.

Ageism is the result of a culture obsessed with anti-aging everything

One big reason ageism remains an issue is our youth-obsessed culture that spent an estimated $53 billion on antiaging goods and services in 2019 alone. No wonder our resistance to growing old is shared by the companies that employ us.

Rising technologies that didn’t even exist until many older people were already well into their careers has led to hiring biases in which many organizations assume that younger workers will be more tech savvy. This is often not the case.

Not a lot to be gained from winning an age discrimination suit

Even if you win an age discrimination suit against an employer — and even if you prove the discrimination was intentional — the most you can be awarded is twice your lost back pay plus attorney fees if you prevail. Nothing for pain and suffering.

Over the years, it has become increasingly hard to prove that there was willful intent to discriminate based on age. An example might be a company deciding to lay off all its vice presidents. Nothing wrong with that, except that VPs are generally older workers.

A class action suit against PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm

The plaintiff, Steve Rabin, then 50, was rebuffed in his effort to obtain an associate position at PwC. He had an MBA and more than ten years of experience in accounting services. The complaint asserts that a PwC manager asked Rabin whether he’d be able to “fit in” with younger employees and made other somewhat derogatory age-related comments. More than 3,000 other plaintiffs have joined Rabin in a class action suit against PwC. The company, of course, denies wrongdoing.

Job ads address the age issue with descriptors that discourage older workers

HR departments know this is a problem. The average HR person would say, “Oh, yeah, that’s definitely a problem; it needs to be addressed.” They may try to avoid it entirely by creating job ads that use descriptions like “fast-paced environment, young and energetic, technology ninja’ or ‘We work hard and party harder.” These descriptions are code to older workers, telling them that they likely will not fit in.

Tech companies among the biggest age discriminators

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg famously declared in 2007 that “young people are just smarter,” Silicon Valley is the poster child for the hip, hot youth culture. According to a 2016 report by Statista, the average median employee age at 17 top tech companies was 32, compared with 42 for the total U.S. workforce. A 2018 ProPublica investigation alleges that IBM deliberately engineered the dismissal of an estimated 20,000 employees over age 40 in a five-year period.

The EEOC is supposed to be our police force in all this

The EEOC’s job is to enforce federal laws that protect employees or job applicants from all types of workplace discrimination. Its mandate is also one of leadership: It’s charged with initiating investigations when warranted and being the overall champion of worker rights. But when it comes to age discrimination, the EEOC is struggling to keep up and to bear down. An analysis by The Washington Post found that of 205,355 total age discrimination complaints filed with the agency from 2010 to 2017, a stunning 1% resulted in a discrimination finding. While some of these cases may not have been actionable or too difficult to prove, this remains a shockingly low number of cases.

Many of our Living Trust clients are retired or thinking about retiring

Many of these clients are baby boomers, many are still working, and age discrimination is a topic that frequently surfaces. Our Trust package includes a Will, Power of Attorney, an Advance Healthcare Directive and Incapacity Planning. For most of our services, we charge one flat fee. Schedule a virtual or office appointment today. We guide you through it and we prepare the legal documents.

We service the entire East Bay and North Bay areas

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.

This article is based on a story in AARP.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Adding Your Kids to Your Bank Accounts? A Very Bad Idea


Should you add your kids to your bank account? This is a discussion topic that frequently comes up during our Living Trustdiscussions. In many cases, parents have already added their kids to their bank accounts.

It’s hard to overstate the convenience of a shared banking account

Those acting as caregivers for their mother and/or father already have a full plate. In many cases, they’ve got demanding jobs and they’re raising their own families. The convenience of being able to manage all of their parents’ banking activity with their own set of debit and credit cards and checks is understandable. Having complete access to these accounts makes it easy to deposit checks, pay bills and purchase incidentals for the health and wellbeing of their parents.

The problem? How much do parents really know about their adult children?

Parents may see their adult children regularly, but how much do they really know about how they live their lives? Their values, their relationships, their work, their friends, how they spend their money and what they do in their down time? In my own case, my folks lived in Florida for 40 years, while I lived in the Bay Area. We saw each other once or maybe twice/year. Distance tends to make us strangers. As the years went by, we grew more remote in a number of ways.

How trustworthy is your son or daughter?

When your child is added to a bank account, that person becomes a joint owner of the account. That means access to all of your funds. Don’t think the bank is going to monitor how your son or daughter is using that account because that isn’t their job.

Does your child have creditor problems?

If your child has any creditor issues, your bank account well could be levied by a creditor and is in jeopardy. The creditor is not going to distinguish between what belongs to you and what belongs to your child. For an adult child with a mountain of credit card debt that will never get paid off, access to a mother and/or father’s well-funded bank account could be very tempting. One more thing: n

Is your child getting divorced?

During every divorce proceeding, it’s necessary to account for all assets. It’s not unlikely that this shared account could end up as an asset in the child’s Divorce proceeding. In this situation, the child would need to prove that the funds were, in fact, not theirs but belonged to the parent.

Setting the stage for sibling conflict

Upon the death of the parents, the surviving bank account holder is the legal owner of the account’s funds. Your child is now entitled to receive all of the funds from this account. Depending on the amount of money in the estate and other assets, this could create sibling chaos. The other siblings may or may not have known about the shared accounts prior to the parents’ death. There’s something about a death in the family that can bring out the worst in the family. The more instruction you provide, the less potential conflict for the family.

A better solution: Create a Living Trust

A much better, more comprehensive solution is to create a Living Trust, then retitle the bank account in the name of the Trust. By adding the account to the Trust, the Successor Trustee will be able to use the funds to care for the parents if they become incapacitated. The Trust will also include instructions on how the remaining funds will be distributed among the remaining family members. This solution will decrease or eliminate the potential sibling conflict.
Our Trust package includes a Power of Attorney and an Advance Healthcare Directive. We guide you through the process and prepare the legal documents. For most of our services, we charge one flat fee. We’re helpful, compassionate and affordable. Schedule an appointment today at one of our three Bay Area offices in Dublin, Walnut Creek or Oakland

We service the entire East Bay area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy, Fremont.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

COVID, Ventilators and Your Healthcare Directive


In April, 91-year old Minna Buck revised her Advance Healthcare Directive. She doesn’t want to be intubated if she becomes infected with COVID. Ms. Buck has done her research and knows she doesn’t want any part of intubation. She knows that even if she survived, the recovery would leave her weak and disoriented, a burden on others, with a negligible quality of life.

No Intubation for Ms. Buck

Buck is clearly in the high-risk group. “No intubation,” she wrote in large letters on the form, making sure to include the date and her initials. “I don’t want to put everybody through the anguish,” said Buck.

Ventilators represent a loss of personal control

For older adults contemplating what might happen to them during this pandemic, ventilators represent a terrifying lack of personal control. Ventilators pump oxygen into a patient’s body while he or she lies in bed, typically sedated, with a breathing tube snaked down the windpipe. This can be the greatest fear: helplessly being hooked to a machine with the end of life looming. Yet for others, there is the hope that the machine might pull them back from the brink, giving them another shot at life.

Who will care for these patients? Where?

“It’s a very long, uphill battle to recovery,” and many older patients may never regain full functioning, said Dr. Negin Hajizadeh, an associate professor of critical care medicine at the School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell on New York’s Long Island. “Who’s going to take care of these patients after a prolonged ventilator course ― and where?”

Quality of life issues motivated one single woman to change her healthcare directive

In St. Paul, Minnesota, Joyce Edwards is 61, unmarried and lives alone. In late April, Edwards revised her Advance Healthcare Directive to specify that “for COVID-19, I do not want to be placed on a ventilator. I have to think about what the quality of my life is going to be. Could I live independently and take care of myself — the things I value the most? There’s no spouse or adult children to take care of me. Who would step into the breach and look after me while I’m in recovery?”

End of life care discussions: Think about what’s important to you

COVID has created some immediacy around end of life decision-making. Experts advise older adults to discuss what’s most important to them–independence, time with family, mobility, living as long as possible. Think about what represents a good quality of life—this will provide context for the ventilator decision. For Minna Buck, quality of life and independence outweighed living as along as possible. At 91, she has lived a long, full life.
During this health crisis, many are feeling an urgency to create a Living Trust 
As the COVID crisis drags on, more clients are scheduling appointments to create or update their Living Trusts. Our Trust package includes a Pour Over Will, and for those families with children under 18, it means that they can name a Guardian. Creating a Trust helps provide some peace of mind during these uncertain times. Best of all, we guide you through it and we prepare the legal documents.
Our Trust package includes a Will, Power of Attorney, an Advance Healthcare Directive and Incapacity Planning. At California Document Preparers, for most of our services, we charge one flat fee. We’re helpful, compassionate and affordable.

Schedule an appointment today

Our offices are open and we’ve instituted stringent sanitation procedures. We can also provide our services virtually via Zoom or phone. Schedule an appointment today at one of our three Bay Area officesin Dublin, Walnut Creek or OaklandPlease wear your mask and stay safe.

We service the entire East Bay and North Bay areas

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.

Monday, July 6, 2020

As Pandemic Evolves, New Symptoms Emerge


Does anyone else wake up in the morning, take a few deep breaths and cough to test for COVID? We’re now learning that fever, cough and shortness of breath are not the only warning signs of a coronavirus infection.
As doctors and virologists learn more this insidious disease, they’re also discovering new symptoms that can accompany the more obvious respiratory problems. These new symptoms reinforce what experts around the world are telling us: The coronavirus is still in charge, capable of causing a sustained and often prolonged attack. Even more frightening for those in a high-risk demographic, are the long-term effects of the virus. People who get the disease do not develop an immunity. COVID breaks down our immune systems, and we can catch it again. The virus can leave its patients weak and disoriented.

In the early days of the pandemic, the focus was on treating those who were the sickest

But we’ve become more knowledgeable. “It takes a while for the full range of symptoms to be known when you’re dealing with a new virus,” explains Lisa Winston, M.D., an epidemiologist and professor of clinical medicine at UCSF.

COVID patients are exhibiting a broader range of symptoms

  • Some patients are reporting red or purple lesions on hands and feet.
  • Doctors are treating people with diarrhea and loss of appetite, sense of taste and smell.
  • Dermatologist Esther Freeman, M.D., has identified red- and purple-colored toes that swell, burn and itch. This unusual symptom has been dubbed “COVID toes.”
  • Rashes similar to those from hives and chicken pox have also been reported on some coronavirus patients.
  • According to the Journal of American Neurology, confusion, delirium, and other neurological symptoms have also been observed in those with COVID.
  • There are early reports suggesting that COVID may raise the risk of abnormal blood clotting. Clots reaching the lungs, heart or brain can cause more serious complications, including pulmonary embolism, heart attack or stroke. If the virus enters cells in the heart, it also can cause a heart infection known as myocarditis. This infection may cause chest pain, abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure.
  • Happy hypoxia. This is a dangerous condition where patients have dangerously low levels of oxygen in their blood, which could cause reduced consciousness. Patients with this condition have been unusually alert and comfortable—completely unaware that they’re manifesting a serious condition.

Response to COVID will be influenced by the strength of our own immune systems

Once COVID reaches the lungs and the bloodstream, it travels around pretty freely. More research will determine how it interacts with cells. Symptoms may be caused by inflammation that results from the body’s immune response to infection—and will vary widely depending on the strength of the individual immune system. While fewer people are dying from COVID, more people are becoming infected. We can minimize the risk by social distancing and wearing masks.

During this health crisis, many are feeling an urgency to create a Living Trust

We are scheduling appointments with clients to create or update the Trusts they created 15-20 years ago—there may be new grandchildren, property and/or investments. Think of those things that would change the inheritance for your beneficiaries.
Our Trust package includes a Will, Power of Attorney, an Advance Healthcare Directive and Incapacity Planning. We guide you through the process and prepare the legal documents. At California Document Preparers, for most of our services, we charge one flat fee.

Schedule a secure office visit or work virtually via Zoom

Our offices are open and we’ve instituted stringent sanitation procedures. We can also provide our services virtually using Zoom or phones. Schedule an appointment today at one of our three Bay Area offices in Dublin, Walnut Creek or OaklandWe’re helpful, compassionate and affordable. COVID is going to be with us for a while, so wear a mask and stay safe!

We service the entire East Bay and North Bay areas

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.
This story is based on an article from the AARP, Unusual Symptoms of COVID-19 You Need to Know About, by Rachel Nania

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Probate: A Tragic Consequence of the Pandemic

COVID is proving to be a very cunning adversary. Experts continue to learn about and respect COVID’s nuances because it’s still the one in control. While the disease is most dangerous for the elderly and those with preexisting conditions, it transcends demographics. It’s affecting those who are healthy, athletic, young and strong.

Probate has emerged as an unfortunate consequence of COVID

Tragically, thousands of people, including our health care workers, are dying from this disease every single day. Many never created a Will or Living Trust. Their families, still reeling from the shock of a tragic death, are now having to deal with Probate. They’re tackling the challenges of administering an estate during a pandemic when everything is infinitely more difficult.

California Document Preparers guides our clients through the entire Probate process

While Probate can seem overwhelming, it is actually a very methodical process. Best of all, we guide you through the entire process, and we prepare the legal documents.
As part of Probate, the Court appoints a personal representative, or Administrator, to settle the estate, so we work directly with that Administrator throughout the Probate process. The administrator is responsible for:
  • Collecting all of the decedent’s property
  • Paying all of the estate’s debts, claims and taxes
  • Collecting all rights to income, dividends, etc.
  • Settling all disputes
  • Distributing or transferring the remaining property to the heirs

Access to the decedent’s accounts to determine the financial landscape 

The Administrator may meet with the financial advisor, insurance agent, accountant, etc. to acquire estate information. Gaining access to all of the decedent’s records–bank statements, savings accounts and income tax returns–will help determine the financial landscape. The Administrator is in charge of valuing and and selling assets, as necessary, to settle the estate’s debts or expenses.
During Probate, the deceased’s estate becomes a separate tax entity, so the Administrator must obtain a federal identification number and open a bank account in the name of the estate, from which to pay creditors. It is also necessary to file the estate’s tax return and a final individual tax return.

Distribution of remaining assets

Once all taxes and debts have been satisfied, the Court will then distribute any remaining assets according to state law. In California, the first priority is given to the deceased’s spouse, followed by the deceased’s children.

Working with California Document Preparers

The safety and wellbeing of our own team and our clients are important to us. For many of our clients, we are working completely virtually using ZOOM and phones. We’ve instituted stringent sanitation procedures in our offices, so our clients can feel comfortable about meeting with us. Everyone is wearing masks and gloves; hand sanitizers are distributed throughout the space. We limit the number of people in the office so that we can maintain proper social distancing.
For most of our services, we charge one flat fee. We’re helpful, compassionate and affordable. Schedule an appointment today at one of our three Bay Area offices in Dublin, Walnut Creek or Oakland.

We service the entire East Bay and North Bay areas

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Three Months and Counting: What We’ve Learned During the COVID Lockdown


It’s been three months since we began sheltering in place. We assumed we’d be back to our happy little routines within a few weeks. How na├»ve we were. We now know that our happy little routines will be disrupted for a long time to come.

Along the way we’ve learned that:


There’s a deep well of generosity and a strong sense of community among us

  • LVMH shut down perfume production and began producing hand sanitizer. Cable companies offered free wifi for homebound students.
  • In my own community, volunteers organized grocery runs for those who couldn’t drive or get to the stores.
  • Wellness checks included neighbors dropping off care packages and casseroles. For the elderly, this virus quickly could become dangerous and isolating.
  • In Ohio, the Cleveland Clinic was struggling to find protective face masks for its 55,000 employees. A call to Abe Troyer, a local Amish community leader, resulted in 60 home seamstresses teaming to sew 12 thousand masks in two days. “If there is a need, people just show up,” said Mr. Troyer.

We really are all in this together

This disease freely roams the globe. It won’t be over until everyone is vaccinated. Our government talks about a vaccine by year’s end, but this virus mutates. Will the virus we develop today work on the virus that evolves tomorrow? No one knows, though the government has committed $1.2B to drug company AstraZeneca to develop a vaccine.

Expertise and government matter

There’s a reason why we have government and policies. It’s important to hire smart, experienced people, to build teams who know how to execute in a crisis. We really can’t underestimate the importance of strong leadership, experience and expertise. We’ve learned an important lesson: Crisis is inevitable, it’s how you deal with it that matters.

We can learn from others

What if we took a page from New Zealand, a tiny country whose population is less than that of the Bay Area? New Zealand is cautiously COVID-free, thanks to smart leadership. They’re all over renewable energy–79% of their electricity comes from renewable, and their goal is to be 90% renewable by 2025. Think about that. An entire country working toward an environmentally conscious goal. What if we did that? What if America’s collective creativity were directed toward renewable energy? We could own this and lead the world.

Some amazing things are emerging from this crisis

We’ve learned about our own resilience, resourcefulness and ingenuity. We’ve:
  • Gotten to know our families again and hopelessly spoiled our pets.
  • Reduced pollution. We can do this. Venice’s canals are clearer than they’ve been in 20 years.
  • Learned new languages. My neighbor can’t stop baking. It’s endless–gardening, knitting, sewing, painting and canning. These close-to-the-earth kinds of activities are somehow life-affirming.
  • Rediscovered our creativity and inventiveness. Skype book clubs, Periscope jam sessions, live-streamed yoga classes and worship services. We’ve Zoomed everything imaginable—from art classes, happy hours and dinner parties to weddings and memorial services.
  • Gone back to using the internet as it was meant to be used. A way to connect, share information and come up with creative solutions to pressing problems. There’s a kind of pioneer spirt about this—the kind of thing that surfaces when the power goes off for an extended period.

We’ve found inventive new ways to transact business, but something is missing

Many of these activities represent positive change that will transcend COVID. But we all want our lives back. We want to be around people again. To be in a crowded restaurant or bar, to go to movies, concerts and events. To have the freedom to hop on an airplane and travel. To meet new people, to be free to reach out and shake hands. To connect. We want to hug our friends again! Despite our agility and reliance on our online channels, we’ve learned that the need for human connection remains a powerful, driving force.

And that’s one of the good things to emerge from our lockdown. We’ll get through this. Stay safe.

The uncertainty of this disease leaves many people scheduling appointments to create or update their Living Trusts 

Our Trust includes a Power of Attorney, an Advanced Healthcare Directive and a Pour Over Will. For those with children under 18, it provides the opportunity to name a Guardian. For most of our services, we charge one flat fee. We’re helpful, compassionate and affordable. Schedule an appointment today at one of our three Bay Area offices in Dublin, Walnut Creek or Oakland.

Working with California Document Preparers

The safety and wellbeing of our own team and our clients are important to us. For many of our clients, we are working completely virtually using ZOOM and phones. We’ve instituted stringent sanitation procedures in our offices, so our clients can feel comfortable about meeting with us. Everyone is wearing masks and gloves; hand sanitizers are distributed throughout the space. We limit the number of people in the office so that we can maintain proper social distancing.

We service the entire East Bay and North Bay areas

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Why is Grandma Twice as Likely to have Dementia as Grandpa?


Eight out of every ten of us will have some form of dementia before we die. Here’s another stat that most of us likely don’t know. Two-thirds of the 5.8 million people in the U.S. who have Alzheimer’s disease are women.
By 2050, that number will zoom to nearly 14 million—and 9 million of those will be women. This according to a new report from AARP. “People just don’t think about the fact that women are disproportionately affected by dementia,” says Kristine Yaffe, M.D., professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology at UCSF.

Dementia: Not a disease so much as a group of symptoms

Dementia’s symptoms show a decline in memory and social abilities so that they interfere with the ability to function on a daily basis. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. But there are other forms of dementia. Women shoulder a wildly disproportionate burden in every single one of these diseases, robbing them of independence, memories, and in many cases, their self-identity.
  • Women’s lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease is twice that of men’s.
  • They are more likely to be caregivers for loved ones with dementia, which takes a toll on their own financial, physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Women make up more than 60% of dementia caregivers.

Why are women at greater risk for dementia? 

Experts assumed it was a consequence of women living longer than men—and of course it’s a factor, but not a reason. “The social and environmental influences on health play a huge role in brain health for women,” notes Sarah Lenz Lock, senior vice president for policy and brain health at AARP. “Women face more challenges due to lower educational levels. They have fewer economic resources, they provide more caregiving for their families and they experience more stress. All of these factors affect the risk of cognitive decline.”

Reproductive history plays a role

The age at which women get their first menstrual periods, how many successful pregnancies they have, childbearing and the decline in estrogen at menopause—all may be contributors, along with genetic factors, depression and anxiety.

Racial and ethnic disparities

Racial and ethnic disparities place women at a greater risk. Older African Americans are twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s as older whites; and older Hispanics have a 1.5 times higher risk than non-Hispanic whites. While there is little research to understand this disparity, lack of access to health care stands out as a contributing cause. Conditions such as heart disease, stress, hypertension, diabetes and obesity that disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minorities increase the risk of dementia.

What can women do to reduce their risk for dementia?

A mounting body of research suggests that a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of dementia by more than 33%.

Here are the key components of a brain-protective lifestyle:

  • Exercise regularly. Cardio or aerobic exercise increases blood flow, reduces inflammation and stimulates the release of growth factors, stimulating brain health.
  • Stimulate your brain. Puzzles, word games and challenging reading material help keep your brain in shape.
  • Stay socially connected. Besides helping prevent isolation and loneliness, staying connected to people you care about provides a sense of purpose and support.
  • Relieve stress. It’s women who juggle careers and family obligations. That’s a problem for brain health because ongoing stress and anxiety cause depression and increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. Work on decompressing through exercise, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, therapy, time with friends or whatever helps you relieve the pressure.
  • Get plenty of good sleep. It’s remarkable what a good night’s sleep can do. The toxins, get cleared out.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Fads come and go. A heart-healthy/Mediterranean-style diet still makes sense.
  • Protect your head from injury. Traumatic brain injuries are an important risk factor for dementia, so be sure to wear helmets for biking or skiing.
Control chronic health conditions. “There’s a connection between heart health and brain health,” Yaffe says, “and hypertension, diabetes and obesity have big effects on the brain because of the vascular effects and other effects.” Take steps to prevent these health problems or keep them under tight control. “Taking care of themselves with short-term investments in their health and wellbeing will pay long-term benefits for women,” Lock says.

Many of CDP’s clients are retired or they’re thinking about retiring

Healthcare issues, particularly Alzheimer’s, are frequent topics—especially for those who may be caring for aging family members. If someone you love has been diagnosed with some form of dementia, it’s important to create a Trust while that person still has testamentary capacity.

During this health crisis, many are feeling an urgency to create a Living Trust 

Our Trust package includes a Will, Power of Attorney, an Advance Healthcare Directive and Incapacity Planning. We guide you through the process and prepare the legal documents. At California Document Preparers, for most of our services, we charge one flat fee. We’re helpful, compassionate and affordable. Schedule an appointment today at one of our three Bay Area offices in Dublin, Walnut Creek or Oakland
Note that our offices are open and we’ve instituted stringent sanitation procedures. We can also provide our services virtually.

We service the entire East Bay and North Bay areas

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.
This story is based on a story from the AARPDementia’s Gender Disparity: Report Uncovers Unique Challenges Facing Women, by Stacey Colino.