Have you heard of World Alzheimer’s Day? It is September 21 and is a day to bring awareness and challenge the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. With the progressively degenerative nature of Alzheimer’s, it can be critical to have a plan in place for how to care and how to cover the costs of caring for a person diagnosed with the disease.  

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 122,019 people died from Alzheimer’s Disease in 2018, the latest year for which data is available. It can be difficult to determine how many deaths are caused by Alzheimer’s disease each year because of the way causes of death are recorded.  Severe dementia frequently causes complications such as immobility, swallowing disorders, and malnutrition that significantly increase the risk of serious acute conditions that can cause death.   The CDC considers a person to have died from Alzheimer’s if the death certificate lists Alzheimer’s as the underlying cause of death, defined as “the disease or injury which initiated the train of events leading directly to death.”  

This degenerative brain disease impairs a patient’s “sound mental capacity” to make legally binding decisions in finances and health.  Therefore, it can be imperative for someone to have proper estate planning before losing their legal capacity to dementia. 

In the case of a married couple, the spouse who is not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s usually acts as the primary caretaker.  If the spouse is of similar age, it can take a toll on the caring spouse’s physical and mental health.  An irrevocable trust can be the ideal tool to provide for long-term care options and cover mounting medical costs.  The funds set aside can provide for a professional caretaker to lessen the burden on the elderly spouse and provide better care for the patient.  

This estate planning tool may be especially powerful to those showing signs of early dementia.  Before becoming legally incompetent to manage one’s assets, it can be a good idea to be proactive in planning one’s own care and take care of his/her spouse financially.  Irrevocable trust offers the ease that you and your spouse’s financial future are secured and your own comfort and care is provided for with long-term care plans in place. 

For more information on how you can put legal protections in place for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease, please feel free to contact our office to schedule an appointment.