It can be enormously challenging—both financially and emotionally—to care for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
Your advisor can assist you in developing a plan that helps you manage the extra financial costs involved. But keeping your loved one safe at home often falls on you alone.
Cynthia Hutchins, director of Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions, Bank of America, recommends taking the following simple steps to care for your family member, even as you grapple with the financial challenges of caregiving.
For more tips, insights and advice, read the “The Journey of Caregiving: Honor, Responsibility and Financial Complexity,” a Merrill study conducted in partnership with Age Wave. Fifty million people globally were living with the disease in 2018, and by 2050, that number is projected to multiply to 152 million, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International. There is also increasing public awareness of the emotional and financial toll that Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can take.
These simple steps can help you keep your loved ones safe, as you grapple with the larger financial and emotional issues of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia,” says Cynthia Hutchins, director of Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions, Bank of America.
- Keep medical and financial records close at hand
These include an advanced medical directive, which describes your loved one’s treatment preferences, a durable power of attorney, which specifies who is allowed to make medical decisions for the patient, and an updated will. Talk to your advisor about other documents that might help, plus steps you might take to protect your assets in the future.
- Make sure smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are working properly
Consider installing smoke detectors with flashing lights to help alert loved ones who may have impaired hearing. Find out the cost of making other structural changes that could increase safety.
- Purchase a medical alert bracelet
This will inform a medical professional about any specialized needs your loved one might have in case she wanders off.
- Lock down potential hazards
Install childproof locks on medicine and liquor cabinets, on kitchen cabinets containing cleaning supplies and on drawers containing knives, scissors or matches.
- Plan ahead to prevent falls
Remove scatter rugs, exposed extension cords and clutter. Install grab bars in bathrooms and increase lighting in stairwells, entries and halls. Use night-lights where needed.
- Reduce water temperature
Turn down the thermostat on your water heater to prevent scalding from hot water.
- Prepare for emergencies
Create and post a list of phone numbers for fire, poison control, your hospital and a designated friend who’s willing to help.
For more information, contact Merrill Financial Advisor Jeffery D. Price of the Southlake, TX office at 817-410-4940 or [email protected]