Financial Impact of Alzheimer’s Disease
One in eight older Americans has Alzheimer’s disease and in 2012, it is estimated that 5.4 million Americans are suffering from it. Costing $200 billion, of which $140 billion to Medicare and Medicaid, $33.8 billion out-of pocket and $26.2 billion in other categories.
The Alzheimer’s Association has more statistics that are going to shock you…
The disease has increased among American seniors since 2000! The cost of caring is also rapidly increased. It is estimated by 2050, up to 16 million Americans will have the disease and costing $1.1 trillion. The report also shows in 2011, 15.2 million family and friends provided 17.4 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementia and 60% are rated as emotionally stressed and one third of these caregivers are having symptoms of depression. That is an additional cost of $8.7 billion in 2011 to care for caregiver’s health issues.
How about money and hours lost from work? What type of impact has it done to American families?
Seniors with the disease also lose their ability to take care of their finances and some are too broke to care. There are some who are in great financial situations. However without proper planning their healthy financial nest egg may crack as well.
This is an alarming problem and many organizations outside of the medical field are finding ways to help seniors and caregivers. Diana Beam, Founder of Keeping in Touch Solutions had just attended an Alzheimer’s Disease seminar in Indiana. She had the privilege of meeting many families who sacrifice their comfort and financial means just to care for their aging family members. These are the people who will do whatever it takes to find a way to cure Alzheimer’s disease.
Many financial advisors are realizing the importance of educating seniors and aging Americans to have a contingency plan for Alzheimer’s disease in their financial plan. AARP took the step last year and released, along with the Financial Planning Association, a guide for financial professionals on special issues related to seniors and ways to help families and patients protect their finances.
Studies show that families with proper financial plans are more prepared financially although emotionally no one will be prepared for Alzheimer’s Disease.
Here are three major issues to consider and work into the financial plan:
Get a team together to develop a long-term strategy on how to pay for care. Take an inventory of income, insurance and assets. Husband and wife and possibly grown children should be aware of the plan. If one is showing signs of the disease, at least the other is aware of the plan. In your team, there should have an attorney, financial planner and more than one trusted family member (spouse, children or close relatives).
Draw up the plan and start implementing. Have a financial power of attorney and health care directive drawn up when aging parents are still well. These documents will help caregivers and relatives make decisions according to patient’s wishes when he or she is no longer able to care for themselves or make decisions. This is particularly important and helped families avoid unnecessary financial strain. For example, some may not want to live in vegetation stage and on life support to live.
Appoint a money manager. He or she could be a family member or a paid certified financial planner. Usually it is because of neglect that leads to financial strain of an Alzheimer patient’s family. Neglect in filing reports, papers, claims or the mere picking up the phone to call Medicare or Medicaid. Bills may not be paid.
Sometimes it is due to not knowing who is responsible to take care of paperwork, finances or anything pertinent to aging parents health and care problems.
Alzheimer’s Disease will put patients in financial risk and financial impact on caregivers too.
A daily check-in call could be the lifeline, the joy you give someone that makes the biggest difference in their perception of what old age is like.
Contact me at 317-480-1038 today. Let’s make a difference together.
I’m Diana Beam, Founder of Keeping in Touch Solutions. It is my heartfelt desire for every person to live a happy and healthy life in the place they call home, no matter what their age. You can’t put a price on peace of mind for your parents and yourself. It’s priceless . . . and significant.
For that reason, the goal of every Keeping In Touch Solutions program is to provide a caring connection and service that both the elderly and their caregivers can rely on to make living that good life easier.
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