Professors at the University of Utah wanted to better understand the full financial cost faced by patients afflicted with Alzheimer’s, both for them and for their families in the aftermath of their disease. Their research has discovered that families with histories of Alzheimer’s and patients suffering from the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease are significantly more likely than the average person to seek expert advice from financial planners. They are often more prepared than many would expect for the financial tribulations of managing their illness.
Put simply, cost concerns around paying for years of institutionalized care force at risk individuals to consider their finances. People in the study with family history of Alzheimer’s were 86 percent more likely to have seen a financial planner, and 40 percent less likely to plan to retire before 65 due to the increased cost of treatment.
The burden of that cost should not be underestimated. The average family ends up paying around $56,000 a year according to the study. That is based on five year old data that is expected to change drastically alongside the growing number of Alzheimer’s patients. Some researchers are estimating that by 2050, 13.8 million people will be suffering from Alzheimer’s, triple the current numbers.
A report published in the Journal of Aging Health corroborated those findings in different diseases. It found that people with histories of cancer or cardiovascular disease in their family are similarly pessimistic about retirement and more likely to seek financial advice from an expert.
In the years to come, it will be important for financial planners to consider the importance of planning for retirement around potentially catastrophic diseases. Being able to provide the right tools to clients in needs will not only help them to be prepared but will also help to relieve the potential burden on their families.