In late July, GBB met with members of the Sacramento Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to learn more about this disease. Our goal: become better prepared to support our clients as they age.
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that one in eight individuals over age 65 has Alzheimer’s and nearly half of people over age 85 have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Over the last couple of generations, these percentages have grown, which makes Alzheimer’s both very prevalent and slowly debilitating—while not being deadly. On average the disease can last eight years.
From an emotional standpoint, Alzheimer’s is very difficult on all involved. The person with dementia or Alzheimer’s can have periods of lucidity when they can understand their situation. These periods are often very difficult for them because they understand they have a disease that currently doesn’t have a cure. The caregivers (spouses, adult children, family members, etc.) for these people must develop systems to keep their loved one safe while being emotionally strong as they watch the effects of this disease progress.
From a financial planning standpoint, Alzheimer’s and dementia can derail even the best retirement plans. Its costs are high—both for caregiving and on the emotions of the unaffected spouse.
At GBB, we believe it’s important to be both proactive and supportive when working with clients who are facing Alzheimer’s in their lives.
Below are a few of the key takeaways that we learned during our meeting:
10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease:
- Memory changes that disrupt daily life.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work, or at leisure.
- Confusion about time or place.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing.
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
- Decreased or poor judgement.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities.
- Changes in mood and personality.
We hope that by sharing these warning signs you can become better prepared to recognize changes in the cognitive health of friends, clients, family members and co-workers. It is also important to know that the symptoms of Alzheimer’s/dementia can begin to appear much earlier than age 65 in some people.
The Alzheimer’s team suggested that early detection can help patients live longer and more comfortably with the disease. With early detection, patients with cognitive decline can:
- Get the maximum benefit from available treatments.
- Make financial and legal plans (with the help of a spouse/family and trusted financial and legal advisers).
- Be empowered to make decisions about future care needs.
- Build the right care team and support network.
We were impressed to learn some of the resources offered by the Alzheimer’s Association. They provide:
- Care consultation
- A 24/7 Helpline: 800.272.3900
- Support groups (both for patients and caregivers)
- Education programs (like the one we participated in)
- Medic Alert Safe Return- This is a program for patients with Alzheimer’s who wander to be returned safely to their loved ones.
- Trial Match for clinical trials.
To learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association visit: https://alz.org/
What can you do to plan for the possibility of Alzheimer’s?
To help combat the potential financial hardships of this disease, we recommend that you test your financial plan to determine how such an event could impact your retirement spending. In our financial plans we often include these costs to see how they influence the potential outcomes of the plan. We also offer clients several different strategies to help mitigate the potential higher costs of this disease. These strategies could include: self-insuring, buying long term care insurance policies, or purchasing a hybrid insurance policy.
If you are interested in learning more about these options, feel free to call a GBB financial advisor at (916) 269-0671.