Alzheimer Dementia Lasts Many Years and is Expensive

Alzheimer symptomsAlzheimer’s Disease and other Dementia throw a big curve into the financial planning of seniors and retirees. Upon any serious diagnosis, especially one which will ultimately seriously affect the person’s ability to make thoughtful decisions, you and family members are advised to come together and put together a financial plan.  There are many things to consider at different points as the disease progressives. It is strongly recommended to work with a trusted Financial Planner who understands the ramifications of such impairments. Your Elder Law Attorney may be a good resource to find a Financial Advisor.

Tips from MIT AgeLab and TransAmerica

They present five concerns to concentrate on for financial and caregiver issues. (Reminder- Medicare does not  cover long term custodial care and Medicaid has to be approved.)  The earlier in the disease process that these conversations can occur, the better. That way the person diagnosed can participate to varying degrees. The spousal caregiver is usually the most involved with these plans.

Focus points are:



Intentions – your plans and wishes

Reviewing a Long Term Care Policy

Banking issues – the mechanics of payments

Care Management- the aspects of where and what types of care will be needed Home-  Care, Dya CarMe, emory Residences

The latter two address how money will be managed and used for routine expenses having to do with care.

Legal Documents are Also Important

Planning is certainly key in terms of managing long term diseases. There are a few legal documents which should be in place early on, when the person is able to voice their preferences. An Elder Law Attorney can create individualized documents and help with asset protection. Every adult, from age 18 upwards ought to have:

A Durable Power of Attorney designated. Usually you should have two people named in case one is traveling or unavailable.

A Health Surrogate – a trusted person who can fulfill your medical wishes

A Living Will, POLST or 5 Wishes –  detailed documents which give the designated people instructions for your ‘end of life’ wishes.

All documents should be reveiewed every couple of years and updated as needed. Nothing is 100% but getting these documents done increases your chances of having your wishes fulfilled and not made by medical and legal personnel. It takes time and thought on who you wish to designate to speak and act on your behalf should you become incapacitated. The person needs to be able to fulfill your wishes, even if they disagree with them.

Alzheimer’s Disease is a very challenging and lengthy journey. Putting things such as expectations, care plans, financial and legal documents in order when you and family can discuss it all helps a great deal in managing the many aspects involved. It is also a great relief once it is all done so you can focus on the person and enjoy the good times which remain.