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

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Jeffrey Johnston

Jeff has over 30 years of experience in the investment industry. He currently holds his FINRA Serices 6, 63, 66, 7, 24 & 51 licenses with LPL Financial as well as his health and life insurance licenses.