We recently wrote on “Caregiving for Elderly Parents” and the emotional and financial burden it can have on individuals and family members. In this article, we take a look at Alzheimer’s, specifically in regard to its attribution to total long term care claims, the cost, and steps that can be taken to reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s.

In a 2013 Cost of Care Survey report released by Genworth Financial, studies have shown large increases in the number of individuals age 65 and older affected by the disease. As stated in the report, “46% of Genworth’s total claims in payment, and 50% of all claims dollars, are due to dementia, including Alzheimer’s.” Along with the increase in the number of claims made, “The Alzheimer’s Association also reports that the cost of care related to Alzheimer’s, including health care, long term care, and hospice, will soar to a projected $1.2 trillion per year by 2050.”

With such high annual costs nationwide, you may wonder, what does that mean for individual costs? In the 2017 Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures report released by the Alzheimer’s Association, “researchers compared end-of-life costs for individuals with and without dementia and found that the total cost in the last 5 years of life was $287,038 per person in 2010 dollars for people with dementia and $183,001 per person without dementia but with other conditions.”

The cost of care for individuals with Alzheimer’s is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid, which can severely strain a family’s finances, especially if high levels of nursing, assisted living, or home health care are required. It is rare that families have enough personal wealth to cover all of the costs. Pre-planning for such care is important. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can help review your individual situation to evaluate the need for purchasing a long term care insurance policy to cover some of the costs and help preserve assets for spouses or family members.

While there is not yet a cure for Alzheimer’s, research has found that certain basic guidelines can help reduce the risks and predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association put together the following tips to help improve brain health:

  1. Schedule time for cardiovascular exercise.
  2. Participate in formal education, in any stage of life.
  3. Quit smoking.
  4. Maintain good cardiovascular health.
  5. Eat a balanced and healthy diet.
  6. Get quality sleep.
  7. Treat depression.
  8. Stay socially engaged.
  9. Challenge yourself.

Even though scientists and doctors continue to research and develop new treatments, don’t wait to plan and prepare for potential long term care issues. Call Sharkey, Howes & Javer at 303-639-5100 to put together your own plan with one of our CFP® professionals.

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