For decades, Whoopi Goldberg joined Robin Williams and Billy Crystal in support of America’s homeless as part of HBO’s Comic Relief series. Together, they raised millions and established themselves as a comic trio, even as each of them commanded a standalone A-list career.(photo credit: Wikipedia)

So when Williams died as a result of suicide last year, it was no surprise that Crystal and Goldberg broke down during a joint tribute to the late actor on Goldberg’s talk show, “The View.”

As it turns out, though, not even Goldberg knew of the real struggle Williams faced in his final months.

The actor’s wife appeared on “The View” this week to set the record straight — Robin did not die as a result of substance abuse or depression, despite seemingly conclusive reports last fall. Rather, it was his hopeless battle with Lewy body dementia that led him to take his life.

It’s a secret that the couple kept to themselves. Williams, who had recently been given just three years to live, wasn’t ready to go public with his condition, his wife told the ladies of “The View.” You can see the emotional interview here.

Lewy body dementia is a severe form of the disease, once thought to be relatively rare. Now, though, experts believe that more than a million Americans are already living with Lewy body dementia.

Unfortunately, it’s often mistaken for simple “old age,” Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s in its early stages. (Robin Williams’ doctors had originally treated him for Parkinson’s disease before later coming to the Lewy body conclusion.)

Our hearts go out to the entire Williams family. As elder law attorneys, we’ve seen for ourselves just how trying a dementia diagnosis can be — especially Lewy body dementia.

What can you do to protect yourself? Live healthily, experts say. Exercise, eat well, and maintain an active social life. Of course, there is no way to predict or conclusively prevent dementia, so for many Americans, avoiding the terrible diagnosis remains something of a gamble.

The future is always uncertain, and the best thing we can do is plan for whatever may come. That’s something our office does every day. We help Ohioans put together a sound financial plan that will ensure they remain fiscally comfortable, even in the face of a medical report that might require long-term care. Call us today to learn more.

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