When Money and Memory Seem to Fail
Financial planning seems to be an endless process. Your parents planned for your future; as you grew up, you planned for your spouse and children; as the nest emptied out, you planned for your retirement. And now, the cycle takes a turn: you may be planning for your parents’ future, especially if dementia or other senior-care needs are thrown into the mix. If that is the case, the time to start planning is now.
The costs for senior care, especially for dementia patients, can take you by surprise, and may change as the disease progresses. You can explore your options with insurance and other benefits, but don’t expect outside assistance to cover all the costs. The following are some common costs to keep in mind, as well as the fact that costs may vary according to your location and providers.
- Ongoing medical treatment for dementia symptoms, and diagnosis and follow-up visits
- Treatment or medical equipment for various, perhaps hidden, medical conditions
- Safety-related expenses, such as home safety modifications or safety services for a person who wanders
- Prescription drugs
- Personal care supplies
- Adult daycare services
- In-home care services
- Full-time residential care services
The best route for planning would be to have a family meeting, including the care recipient if possible. If the patient is involved, they can express their wishes and feel more at ease with the plans for their future. Discussions may include not only financial plans, but agreements on whom the caregivers will be and how to share duties, where the loved one will be located, the distribution of his or her property, etc. Involve legal and financial experts for guidance and mediation, if necessary.
Gathering documents ahead of time will help paint a picture of your loved one’s financial situation. (Hint: Make a list of important documents and materials before the need arises if possible, while your loved one can recall their location.) Look for:
- bank and brokerage account information.
- deeds, mortgage papers or ownership statements.
- insurance policies.
- medical and durable powers of attorney.
- monthly or outstanding bills.
- pension, railroad, and other retirement benefit summaries (including VA benefits, if applicable).
- rental income paperwork.
- Social Security payment information.
- stock and bond certificates.
Remember, paying for your loved one’s care is just part of the picture — depending on his or her situation, there may still be “normal” ongoing expenses. There may still be utility, insurance, and other bills to pay; the taxman will surely come calling every year; and there may be investments to handle and benefit claims to process.
Genworth Financial, Inc, has an easy-to-use cost-of-care calculator that allows you to calculate estimated costs in various locations for now and the future for various scenarios. It can help you get a handle on what to expect. Of course, the best course is to contact providers and perform some internet research on your own.
There are several government, community, and private services available, as well as dementia support groups that are just an internet search away. You are not alone!
Hidden Meadows on the Ridge is a senior care community in Upper Bucks County, less than 30 miles north of Philadelphia. With 54 private and shared living studies, Hidden Meadows on the Ridge provides a peaceful setting where seniors can maintain their independence while having access to professional personalized services and nursing care. Hidden Meadows on the Ridge is a pet-friendly community. The Laurels, our newly-designed memory care residence, offers 48 private and shared rooms. Tucked in the beautiful, serene, Bucks County countryside, Hidden Meadows on the Ridge understands and addresses seniors’ concerns of preserving their independence while maintaining their physical health and safety, their mental health, and providing peace of mind for family members and caregivers. See http://www.hiddenmeadowsontheridge.com.