According to Medicare data, one in three people age 65 or older have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Despite this alarming statistic, many people refuse to plan ahead for the possibility they could become disabled. With less than 10% of the population having long term care insurance and the majority of people erroneously believing Medicare will help pay for long term care, it can come as quite a financial shock when a loved one is diagnosed with dementia. In a recent Washington Post article, “Facing Financial Reality When Early Dementia is Diagnosed,” a retired Air Force sergeant, Chuck McClatchey is profiled following his early dementia diagnosis at age 61. McClatchey’s plans to work until age 70 were up-ended as he was forced to apply for Social Security disability income. Fortunately, he had the good sense to get his legal affairs in order so that “when the time comes, those decisions won’t have to be made by someone else.”
As the article points out, the best way to avoid potential problems is to take steps when your mental faculties are sound. This ordinarily will include powers of attorney for health care and financial decisions as well as a will or trust. Also, with Michigan nursing homes costing on average nearly $100,000 per year, it is also essential to plan for paying for long term care in the event it becomes necessary. To help make sure you and your loved ones are protected, consult with an experienced elder law attorney today.