The baby boomer generation is reaching a point where medical issues begin to mount as they reach retirement age. What do these baby boomers need to do now to ensure their financial safety in case of a debilitating problem such as Alzheimer’s? Whether it’s you or someone close to you, protecting against the perils of Alzheimer’s has become necessity, as there is no cure. Here is some advice to help steer you in the right direction.
- plan ahead
- look into all insurance options
- go over last will and testament
- meet with a lawyer
- spend as much time with your family as possible
- forget to review and update insurance policies
- wait to put all financial documents in order
- avoid thinking of the future
- forget to ask the opinion of the person suffering from Alzheimer’s
- ignore the online and community resources available
As baby boomers age, waitlists for senior care centers and retirement communities grow longer. Planning ahead allows you or your family member to express any wishes for future care by exploring any and all the options before signs of Alzheimer’s begin. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 5 million Americans currently live with this disease. With cases on the rise, adults need to evaluate long-term planning to make sure insurance policies are in place before anything critical occurs.
If you are reviewing insurance at the request of a family member with dementia, check to see what plans they are enrolled in, whether it’s disability insurance, long-term care insurance, life insurance or another option. Carefully look over each plan to see how you can help them collect their policy benefits. These insurance plans can be sources of income to cover their medical and living expenses.
While your relative is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, have them review and update their will in the event they cannot communicate their wishes as the disease progresses. Have them create a power of attorney so a trusted family member or friend is able to make decisions on their behalf. Also, have them consider creating a living will to express how they wish to be treated in certain medical situations.
To make sure there is no stone left unturned, meet with a lawyer who specializes in elder care so they can recommend any further steps you or your relative have not taken. Your elder care lawyer will be there to help you through any legal troubles that may arise during an illness such as Alzheimer’s.
Devote as much time to your family and friends as you feasibly can. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that plays havoc with memory. You may think there is plenty of time to spend with your elders later but may not be able to recognize their surroundings, including people, during the later stages of the illness.
Long-term care insurance coupled with disability insurance will be key investments as one ages, so be sure to carefully select an appropriate policy. Disability insurance and long-term care insurance must be in place before any signs of illness appear, so the earlier you start preparing, the better.
If you wait too late to organize all financial and legal documents, you run the risk of overlooking something essential. This could cause a lot of headaches for you or the power of attorney holder down the road. You will want to be organized so insurance benefits can be easily claimed and not denied on the basis of a technicality.
If possible, involve family members in the discussion about the manageability of this disease and what their support roles will be. The support and patience of family members is invaluable as people struggle to cope with Alzheimer’s.
During the early stages, ask what their opinions and wishes are so they don’t feel alienated. They may already be stated in the legal documents but their future is on the line and they deserve to have their wishes respected.
Use online tools such as the Alzheimer’s Association or Mayo Clinic for current information on Alzheimer’s. The doctor’s office can also be a good resource to get you in touch with the local community services for elder care.
Alzheimer’s is a debilitating disease that is on the rise as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age. It behooves Americans to prepare for this disease by making sure the proper insurance policies are in place to cover any eventuality. Take the time to learn how Alzheimer’s will affect your future so you can have the proper legal documents in place to protect yourself.