Alzheimer’s warning sign – money problems

The country is observing National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in November. Here’s an important story from The New York Times on an  early warning sign of Alzheimer’s – a problem handling finances.

Renee Packel used to have a typical suburban life. Her husband, Arthur, was a lawyer and also sold insurance. They lived in a town house just outside Philadelphia, and Mrs. Packel took care of their home and family.

One day, it all came crashing down. The homeowners’ association called asking for their fees. To Mrs. Packel’s surprise, her husband had simply stopped paying them. Then she learned he had stopped writing checks to his creditors, too.

It turned out that Mr. Packel was developing Alzheimer’s disease and had forgotten how to handle money. When she tried to pay their bills, Mrs. Packel, who enlisted the help of a forensic accountant, could not find most of the couple’s money.

“It just disappeared,” she said.

What happened to the Packels is all too common, Alzheimer’s experts say. New research shows that one of the first signs of impending dementia is an inability to understand money and credit, contracts and agreements.

via Alzheimer’s Warning Sign – Money Problems – Vanishing Mind – NYTimes.com.

Alzheimer’s Caregiving: Benefits CheckUp

Bob DeMarco of Alzheimer’s Reading Room points to a great resource, Benefits Check Up,  in this post:

Benefits Check Up is one of my favorite sites if you are looking for programs to assist you as an Alzheimer’s caregiver.

This service from the National Council on Aging will give you real help in identifying all the services that are available to the elderly or to someone that has Alzheimer’s disease. They ask specifically if the person has Alzheimer’s disease in their questionnaire.

The thing I like best about this website is that it streamlines the process of finding programs that could be of benefit to you. This is accomplished through one simple questionnaire that searches all national/Federal, regional and local assistance programs.

You can answer the questions for someone that is older or suffering from dementia. You answer as if they were answering the questionnaire. You do it for them.

Don’t overlook this opportunity, if you are currently caring for someone and not working or on a low income, you can also answer for yourself to determine if there are programs available for you. I find that Alzheimer’s caregivers often over look this option.

via Alzheimer’s Caregiving — Benefits CheckUp.

Retirees targeted with investment scams

Annuities. Reverse mortgages. Life insurance pools. Principal-protected notes. The options being offered to senior citizens hoping to ensure a comfortable retirement are dizzying. And in a growing number of cases, that may be the intention as more scammers — often elderly themselves — try to con retirees.

Though hard numbers are difficult to come by, many lawyers and advocates for the elderly say more seniors than ever are being lured into investment schemes that are unsuitable for people of their age or are outright swindles.

“Seniors who suffer from isolation and diminished capacity make ideal targets,” says Steve Riess, a San Francisco attorney who represents elderly victims of con artists peddling bogus investments.

One out of five Americans over the age of 65 has been the victim of a financial scam, according to the Washington-based Investor Protection Trust, a nonprofit that promotes shareholder education.

via Scams: A sucker retires every minute – Business – Your retirement – msnbc.com.

Patient Money – A Road Map to Help Parents Deal With the Financial Burden of Autism – NYTimes.com

When Jeff Sell’s twin sons were found to have autism 13 years ago, he, like so many other parents in the same situation, found himself with a million questions: Will my children be able to function? What are the best treatments and where do I find them? How will this affect the rest of my family?

Jeff Sell, with his sons, Ben, at left, and Joe, in a family photo taken last April at an event called “Bounce for Autism.”

And besides those monumental worries, Mr. Sell kept asking himself another fundamental question as he began the long string of doctor and therapist visits with his sons: “How in the world am I going to pay for all this?”

Autism trends, treatments and therapies routinely make headlines. Often overlooked, though, is the financial burden for many families with autistic children.

via Patient Money – A Road Map to Help Parents Deal With the Financial Burden of Autism – NYTimes.com.

Dementia poses threat to aging boomers’ portfolios

A startling number of older adults either lack the cognitive abilities to manage their finances or delegate that responsibility to others — a finding that could have implications for plan executives and other fiduciaries as a wave of wealthy Americans approach retirement.

In a soon-to-be published re-search paper, “The Age of Reason: Financial Decisions over the Life-Cycle with Implications for Regulation,” David Laibson, a professor at Harvard University and noted expert in behavioral economics, found that the prevalence of dementia among Americans “explodes” after 60, doubling every five years to more than 30% of the population over 85.

via Dementia poses threat to aging boomers’ portfolios – Investment News.

Tough Talk for Adult Caregivers of Aging Parent(s) By Eve Kaplan, CFP® Practitioner

Here are some startling statistics regarding the prevalence of a somewhat ignored subset of the US population: adult children caring for their aging parent(s).

Did you know approx. 21% of our adult US population (44.4 million people) are caring for their parents in some capacity? As our population ages, we see that more than 50% of 60 year olds in this country have at least 1 living parent. The average adult caregiver in the US is 46 years old. Nearly half juggle 40+ hour work weeks (and running their own households) with an average of 8 hours/week of care for a parent or loved one. Although the average span of care giving is 4.3 years, 30% of caregivers have been doing so for 5+ years. This process rarely runs smoothly – and rarely isn’t burdened by irritation, impatience or resentment.

Here are some tips for making this process go as smoothly as possible:

via Financial Guest Opinion Column – Tough Talk for Adult Caregivers of Aging Parent(s) By Eve Kaplan, CFP® Practitioner – TheAlternativePress.com New Jersey.