In drawing up your financial plan for retirement, you may be setting aside money for new hobbies or extensive travel. But perhaps you also should prepare a financial contingency plan for Alzheimer's disease.
That may sound somewhat alarmist, but consider this: A decline in the ability to handle financial matters is one of the early signs of Alzheimer's. Seniors with mild symptoms -- forgetting to pay bills or struggling to balance a checkbook or calculate change -- are easy prey for fraudsters. And the cost of caring for someone with dementia can devastate even a healthy nest egg.
The risk of at least one spouse developing Alzheimer's disease is fairly significant, which makes creating a financial plan so important. According to the Alzheimer's Association, 13 percent of people 65 and older have Alzheimer's, and 43 percent of those 85 and older have the disease. Longer life expectancy among baby boomers will increase the prevalence of dementia.
As boomers age and the number of seniors grows, financial advisers and physicians are beginning to come to grips with the financial impact of dementia. AARP and the Financial Planning Association have released a guide for financial professionals on the special issues related to older clients. And in a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association in February 2011, researchers instructed physicians on recognizing signs of impaired financial capacity.
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Prepare for the Financial Impact of Alzheimer's