Following a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, financial planning is often overlooked due to the associated stress and fear. However, taking proactive steps can help reduce stress and ensure future financial security. Here are some key considerations:

Getting Started

1. Organize your financial and legal documents using the Financial and Legal Document Worksheet (PDF) to create an inventory of assets and debts.
2. Identify family members who should be involved in your financial plans, considering those who have knowledge of your situation and can offer support.
3. Assess the costs of care, both current and anticipated in the future.
4. Review government benefits that may provide assistance with prescription costs, transportation, and meals.
5. Evaluate any existing long-term care insurance policies to determine their coverage for future care costs.
6. Explore available Veterans benefits if you have served in the armed forces.
7. Decide on someone who can assist with routine financial responsibilities, such as bill payments, benefit claims, investment decisions, bank account management, and tax returns. Resources from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can provide guidance on discussing financial responsibilities with trusted individuals who can act on your behalf.

Care Costs:

Plan for the financial needs associated with Alzheimer’s disease by considering various costs that may arise:
– Ongoing medical treatment, including diagnosis and follow-up visits
– Other medical conditions requiring treatment or specialized equipment
– Home safety modifications or safety services
– Prescription drugs
– Personal care supplies
– Adult day services
– In-home care services
– Full-time residential care services

Resources for Care Payment

Several financial resources can help cover care costs, either currently or in the future:
– Medicare, Medicare Part D, and Medigap
– Insurance, such as life and long-term care insurance
– Employee or retirement benefits
– Personal assets like savings, investments, and property
– Veterans benefits
– Medicaid
– Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for individuals under 65
– Community support services, such as Meals on Wheels, respite care, and transportation services

Professional Assistance

If your financial situation is complex or you feel uncomfortable handling financial planning alone, seek help from a financial advisor, such as a financial planner or estate planning attorney. They can assist in identifying potential financial resources and creating a plan to sustain your financial well-being. When selecting a financial advisor, consider their professional credentials, work experience, educational background, membership in professional associations, and areas of specialty. It is advisable to choose someone familiar with elder care or long-term care planning.

By addressing financial planning early on, individuals and their families can navigate the challenges of dementia with greater peace of mind and ensure that their financial affairs are in order.