Caring for Cognitive Impairment

Caring for Cognitive Impairment
09 Jun 2016

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When I ask the question “How many people in this room know of someone with a cognitive impairment?” at a workshop, it is common to see almost every hand go up. Cognitive impairment is a growing concern for many. One of the most frightening, especially given how we are an aging country, is Alzheimer’s disease, a neurological condition affecting cognition.  Unfortunately, this disease affects more than five million Americans according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

It is estimated that there are over fifteen million people in the U.S. caring for someone with dementia & Alzheimer’s. As you begin to think about caring for someone affected by cognitive impairment, it is important to begin the conversations early. Here are a few pointers to consider when discussing these issues with your loved ones:

  1. Gather all documents:
    – Bank, brokerage, recurring and outstanding bills, 401K and 403B plan info, Social Security and Medicare documents. etc.
  2. Create or update documents (this more than likely will require the aid of an attorney)
    – Living wills, wills, living trusts, POA’s, etc.
  3. Learn what insurance they have:
    – See if they own LTC policies and familiarize yourself with Medicare. There may be the possibility of Social Security Disability Insurance for those people with early onset of Alzheimer’s
  4. Consider adjusting investment portfolio to reflect current situation:
    – With the onset of cognitive impairment, it is likely that their goals & objectives have shifted, and adjustments to their investments may need to be made to reflect that.

There are many more concerns involved but these should be valuable in starting the process. Remember to start early, if you wait for the problem to occur it may be too late. The main point is to make as many arrangements as possible while the individual is early in the disease and able to communicate their wishes.

Good luck–Jeff


Jeffrey Johnston

Jeffrey is originally from Solon, Iowa. He currently resides in Swisher, Iowa with his wife, Prudence, and his three children, Seth, Ian, and Roman. He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1989, where he majored in Finance and Investments. He has 24 years of experience in the investment and estate planning business. He is currently the President of “Premier Investments of Iowa, Inc.” Jeffrey’s main focus is Estate and Investment Planning for Senior Citizens and Pre Retirees. Jeffrey became a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) in 2001. He is the author of many articles on industry related topics and he is a frequent seminar presenter. He is a Board Member TRIAD Linn County Seniors Against Crime, and he is also a past Board Member of the Heritage Area Agency on Aging Task Force. He is a member of CEO Roundtable in Cedar Rapids, a Daybreak Rotary Member, and a member of the Cedar Rapids Estate Planning Council. In March of 2009, Jeffrey became the host of the Premier Investments of Iowa Financial Hour which airs every Tuesday Evening from 6PM -7PM, on WMT 600 AM Radio. In his free time he enjoys golf, fishing, scuba diving, traveling, and coaching son’s basketball teams.