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Thinking Ahead: Financial Planning in the Shadow of Dementia

Thinking Ahead: Financial Planning in the Shadow of Dementia

If you go to a financial counselor for retirement planning, they’ll likely tell you about your 401(k) and help you to balance your assets. But the one thing they are unlikely to discuss is financial planning for a senior with dementia. No one likes to consider such worst-case scenarios, but planning for the possibility that there may come a time when a parent or spouse can no longer make sound financial decisions is a crucial part of retirement.

Protecting Assets

One of the possible consequences of dementia and poor financial planning would be losing family property. It’s critical for everyone, regardless of a dementia diagnosis, to take steps to protect property in the event that financial sources like Medicaid have to be used to cover healthcare expenses. Medicaid can seize property and other assets to cover any unpaid bills incurred for chronic long term care. A professional retirement planner can prove invaluable in avoiding such a scenario.

Reading the Fine Print

Now is a good time to look into medical benefits. Although it may be unpleasant to consider the possibility of having to place a loved one in a long-term care facility, the reality is that someday you may need around-the-clock care that can’t be provided at home. If possible, seek out employer healthcare plans that have specific benefits for dementia.

Putting It in Writing

Designating a legal financial power of attorney (POA) to oversee financial decisions can save a lot of headaches and sibling stress down the road by allowing a senior to appoint one person to handle responsibilities. Choosing a POA early allows your loved one more time to express their wishes to the designated caregiver on how to handle their finances.

Switching to Automatic

One financial planning tip that you can set up immediately is automatic bill payments to avoid forgotten or late bills. Almost every service, ranging anywhere from utilities to insurance payments, offers automatic payment plans. Make sure all retirement checks or government payments transfer as direct deposits to avoid late or lost paper checks. If you feel automatic payments or family help aren’t adequate to ensure that bills are paid promptly, you can also consider hiring a Daily Money Manager to assist with handling debts and payments. Not only can they help handle the day-to-day financial tasks, but they’ll also help with keeping track of important papers, among other things.

Planning today for possible changes in health and circumstance will help to prevent your senior from ending up in a tough monetary or legal situation. Sit down together, discuss all of the options, and step out of the shadow of dementia together.

Caregivers act in the best interests of their senior family members and help them make decisions concerning their health, well-being, and safety. A medical alert system is yet another way to help protect your loved one, bringing additional peace of mind to caregiver and senior alike.

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