Alzheimer’s, Money and Your Children

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I had the incredible pleasure of attending Making Our Seniors Matter’s guest trainer Teepa Snow.  She was training professionals on working with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients and without a doubt, she was the best I have seen.

She gave out an incredible amount of practical information in a precise, yet entertaining style. She made role playing extremely effective and that’s not easy (I hate role playing). In the afternoon she worked with the family and friends of Dementia/Alzheimer’s sufferers.

I was there because of my affiliation with Making Our Seniors Matter and the fact that many of my clients are older, getting older or have parents getting older. With 15% of all people over 65 years old having some level of dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, I just had to be there. I was captivated on how she demonstrated the best way to work with them.

Of course I got to thinking about a piece on Wealth Planning for Seniors, focussing on Dementia/Alzheimer’s.

Wealth Planning

Wealth Planning should always have a focus on your health, both mental and physical; now and into the future. I sat during the break between the professionals and family session and made notes as to how I already handle Wealth and Health planning.

My Protocol

I find out what my client has done and make recommendations as follows:

  1. Powers of Attorneys – for both your health and financial decisions. You don’t want the government to step in and not meet your wishes.

  2. A Will – This seems obvious, but the number of Canadians without a will or powers of attorneys is staggering. Is your will up to date and reflect your current wishes?

  3. Use a Lawyer – I can’t stress this strong enough. There is so many possible unknown situations that can come up and you want to know your wishes are being met.

  4. Do this when you are of Sound Mind.

  5. Make sure all of your children are aware of your wishes at the same time. I have seen one child know their parents wishes from 10 years ago and another from 1 year ago. With the parent’s change of perspective their wishes change and these children were at odds with each other, both putting their parent’s wishes first.

Children

I want to know who their children are, how to get hold of them and know my client’s wishes. This next section is for you:

  1. Know your parent’s wishes

  2. See your parents’ plan from their point of view. Too often when a child becomes involved they see things from their own point of view and push towards changing things towards this point of view. The stress this causes on the parent can be incredible, further exasperating their parent’s dementia/Alzheimer’s symptoms.

  3. Me, knowing the children helps if either of us see the parent’s mental capacity slipping. If we are working from the same page it is so much easier to make well informed decisions.

  4. The press tells you that you are part of the Greatest Intergeneration Wealth Transfer in history. Many, many boomers are counting on their inheritance to help them through their own elder years.

  • Your parents well-being is your priority

  • The cost of keeping your parent’s well-being at the forefront can get extremely high. This could cut into your parent’s nest egg and your inheritance. Don’t plan on this inheritance for anything but a nice thing that your parent has planned for you.

  • You can easily become an Unpaid Caregiver. If your parents have the wherewithal they might be able to afford Personal Support Workers and/or proper facilities. While this is easier on you than working full time and being an Unpaid Caregiver, you will find that quarterbacking this can be very wearing.

  1. You must keep up your personal Mental and Physical Health as these times are very wearing. You want to know that you are making well informed decisions for your parents well-being.

Good News

The Alzheimer’s Society has one of the best researched websites to help you through this I have ever seen. There seems to be no end to the help they offer. It allows you to have some practical help and know what your next step is.  Here is Alzheimer’s Canada Website: http://www.alzheimer.ca/en. Of course you should also contact your local Alzheimer’s society for practical local help. There is button on the Canada site to get you to your province and then locally.

I see my part of the equation as giving the parent and family “Sleepability” in their financial decisions. A proper plan encompassing Investments, Tax Efficiency, providing Income and a potential Estate. This will help their parent to not have this part of their life on their mind all the time. This is one less symptom to have to deal with for all concerned.

Your Independence Matters

Terry McIntyre is an independent investment advisor with Manulife Securities and can be reached at: 905-846-9060, ext.3838, email: Terry.McIntyre@manulifesecurities.ca or website: www.terrymcintyre.ca