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The Unexpected Crisis – Preparing for the Financial Impact of Alzheimer’s

During Financial Wellness Month this January, the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging individuals and families to take stock making financial plans that will create some security in preparing for an unexpected crisis of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

One in nine Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease – that’s more than 6 million Americans across the country and 233,000 here in . The disease not only takes a tremendous physical toll on diagnosed individuals, but the costs associated with the disease can be overwhelming and put a huge economical strain on families. Disease-related costs can jeopardize a family’s financial security, and many families and caregivers make enormous personal and financial sacrifices.

● In 2022, the lifetime cost of care for a person living with dementia was $392,874.

● In 2021, dementia caregivers bore nearly twice the average out-of-pocket costs of non-dementia caregivers ($12,388 versus $6,667).

● Nearly half (48 percent) of care contributors must cut back on their own expenses – including basic necessities like food, transportation and medical care – to afford dementia-related care, while others must draw from their own savings or retirement funds.

● Nearly two out of three people incorrectly believe that Medicare helps pay for nursing home care, or are unsure whether it does.

To help families navigate these and other financial challenges, the Alzheimer’s Association recently launched a free online education program, “Managing Money: A Caregiver’s Guide to Finances.” Tips from the program include:

Plan early — There are many benefits of planning early when it comes to your finances – both for the caregiver and the person with the disease.

Start a positive discussion about finances — Bring in trusted family members or close friends for a discussion about what the person with the disease wants for the future.

Avoid financial abuse and fraud — Individuals living with dementia have a greater risk of becoming victims and may struggle with making good financial decisions.

Organize your finances — Conduct an inventory of your financial resources (savings, insurance, retirement benefits, government assistance, VA benefits, etc.). A financial planner or elder care attorney can help.

Create a backup plan — Designate a trusted back-up agent for the person’s power of attorney and consider designating responsibilities to more than one person.

“Many caregivers experience financial problems because they have to reduce their hours or take time off work,” said Delia Jervier, Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association, Illinois Chapter. “As the disease progresses, caregivers will need to pay for services or support for the person living with Alzheimer’s. Financial literacy is especially important for caregivers, because it provides them with the knowledge and skills needed to better support themselves and others.”

For more information on financial planning, visit: Plan for Your Financial Future or alz.org.

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