Prepared For Your Parent's Alzheimer's Care?


Baby Boomers got some bad news this week: Some 10 million of them will likely be afflicted with Alzheimer's disease during their lifetime, according to a report released by the Alzheimer’s Association.

There is no cure for this brain affliction, which is considered the seventh deadliest disease in the country. But, because a person with Alzheimer’s can live for twenty years, or more, with limited mental faculties, all while in good physical health, the financial burdens of care can be significant. On average, treatment lasts 12 years and costs around $174,000. And, it can easily be more. “This is a costly disease,” says Eric J. Hall, president and CEO of the Alzheimer Foundation of America  in New York. “Some of the money may come from Medicare and Medicaid, but some of the money is going to be the family’s responsibility. Families are spending $18,000 to $30,000 out of pocket a year for their loved ones.”

Starting to plan now for potential elder care responsibilities is a good way to quell Alzheimer's disease anxiety. “Families are extremely fearful of outliving their money,” says Karen Thomas, president of Oxford Healthcare, the home health company based in Springfield, Mo. “The best preparation you can do is to delay nursing home placement for as long as you can provide safety at home.” 

Having a sound financial strategy is therefore vital, says Joy Leverde, author of The Complete Eldercare Planner. Get your parent’s estate plans in order with an elder law attorney and then make an appointment with a financial gerontologist, which is a certified financial planner who specializes in the golden years. “They understand longevity issues and can analyze these long-term costs,” says Leverde. Next, buy the right long term care insurance. “It provides assistance with the basic support tasks of daily living," says Leverde. "It’s more than nursing home care. It’s a buffer to protect your long-term finances.” Genworth  and John Hancock are two long-term insurance companies, Martin Sabel a financial gerontologist in Houston, Texas, recommends. 

Whatever policy you choose, make certain it covers your anticipated needs, even including assistance with bathing and getting dressed. "You can’t just assume that as you need something, your policy will pay for it," says Thomas. “Some policies cover nursing care and more are starting to do long-term home care. You have to know how many issues of daily living are covered.” Professional associations, fraternal societies and AARP also have their own insurance policies.

Start now because the younger and healthier someone is when they get a long-term policy, the cheaper it will be, says Sabel. For example, Leverde and her husband bought their CNA policy through the American Bar Association, five years ago when they were in their 50s and healthy. They pay about $800 a year for coverage. Apply when you are older and the rate can climb as high as $5,000 a year.

Additional help may be on the way to reduce some care costs. According to Leverde, the healthcare industry is working on ways for family members to be compensated as care givers if they are the ones aiding a loved one. “When looking for a long-term policy, ask about training programs for family members,” says Leverde. Because in the face of a disease like Alzheimer's every bit of help can make a big difference.


Check out James Altucher's upcoming video on what companies and stocks are focused on aiding those with Alzheimer's. You can also check out the "Alzheimer's Cure Index" at Stockpickr by clicking:

Alzheimer's Cure Index

Some of the stocks mentioned include: MYGN (MYGN), WYE, LLY, ELNMEMY, and DNA .


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