As you age, you’re at an increased risk of a host of physical and mental ailments. In the United States, “an estimated 5.8 million Americans age 65 or older are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2020” (alz.org). If you suspect your partner is afflicted, or if you’ve gotten a diagnosis, there’s no time to waste. Among the many preparations you’ll have to make, you’ll want to follow these financial planning tips for a spouse with dementia.
Financial Planning Tips for a Spouse with Dementia
Learn How to Do the Day to Day Finances
In many households, one spouse handles the budget and the majority of the money issues. If that’s your spouse, you’ll need to learn how to take over. How has your spouse set up the budget? What are your monthly bills, and where is the contact information for each company? How do you do taxes? If you use an accountant, what is her tax information? Which company holds your life insurance, car insurance, and health insurance? Do you invest on your own or work with a financial planner? All of these questions must be answered while your spouse still has adequate cognitive ability so you can take over the finances.
Review the Will and Beneficiaries
Unfortunately, many a person has died and accidentally left their ex-wife as the beneficiary because he forgot to update his insurance policies or will. Now is the time to make sure all of those documents are in order and that you have the correct beneficiaries on each policy.
Do Your Research
Many people with Alzheimer’s can live at home successfully for a few years, but later, as the disease progresses, they will need significant help. That may include having care givers come into the home, having the person go to adult day care facilities, or admitting the person to a nursing home. Now is the time to talk with your spouse about what he or she wants done as the illness progresses.
Now is also the time to research potential avenues of payment for these expensive services. As the illness advance, you may be able to withdraw money from your life insurance policy. In addition, you’ll need to look for state-sponsored programs and grants that are available.
Find someone who specializes in Alzheimer’s. You may need to hire both legal and financial planners for the difficult times ahead.
Where to Start
The best place to start is to look at the Alzheimer’s Association website. There is quite a bit of information to help you get started for the long road ahead.
If your spouse has dementia, know that you’re not alone. Among senior citizens in America, a significant number have some form of cognitive impairment, while a smaller number have dementia or Alzheimer’s. This isn’t an easy situation to be in, but you won’t help yourself by putting off what needs to be done while your spouse still has adequate cognitive function. Begin laying the ground work for the future today, with your spouse’s help.