Everyone has heard of Alzheimer’s disease, and we are all aware of the fact that it causes dementia. This being stated, a lot of people do not know just how widespread this disease is, and you should understand the facts so you can prepare accordingly. Unfortunately, the Alzheimer’s threat is very real and below we give you the details.
The Alzheimer’s Association is a great source of information about this horrible disease. They have stated that about 13 percent of all seniors have Alzheimer’s disease, and more than 6 million Americans are living with the disease at any given time.
This is a deadly disease that kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined, and one-third of seniors will die with dementia. Overall, it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Putting Life Expectancy Into Perspective
The Alzheimer’s Association has found that 32 percent of elders that are 85 years of age and older have contracted this disease. To put this into perspective, the life expectancy for a 67-year-old woman is 87 years, and it is 85 years for a man.
You become eligible for Social Security when you are 67 if you were born in 1960 or a later year. If you expect to live long enough to collect your benefit, there is a 32 percent chance that you will contract Alzheimer’s disease
Clearly, many people with Alzheimer’s disease become unable to handle their own finances at some point in time. When you are planning your estate, you should address possible incapacity late in your life.
If you have a living trust, you would act as the trustee while you are alive and fully capable of sound decision-making. When you are drawing up the trust, you name a successor to assume the role after your death. They can also be empowered to serve as a disability trustee.
With regard to property that is not held by a trust, you can execute a durable power of attorney for property. The agent that you name in the document would manage your personally held assets if you become unable to handle your affairs.
There is also the matter of medical decision-making, and you can use advance directives for health care to cover this component. A living will is a document that is used to state your preferences regarding the use of resuscitation, feeding tubes, and other life-support measures.
Situations can come about that require medical decision-making when you are unable to make sound choices. To account for this possibility, you can name someone to make the decisions on your behalf through the execution of a durable power of attorney for health care.
To give the person that you choose the ability to speak freely with your doctors, you should sign a HIPAA release.
Nursing Home Asset Protection
Another aspect that is very important is the matter of long-term care and the costs that go along with it. Clearly, a significant percentage of people with Alzheimer’s disease ultimately reside in nursing facilities, and Medicare does not pay for nursing home care.
These facilities cost somewhere in the vicinity of $170,000 a year in our area, and 12 months is the average length of stay. Medicaid will cover long-term care if you can gain eligibility, but it takes advance planning because there is a $30,182 asset limit and a five-year look back period.
You can fund a certain type of trust to qualify, but you have to act at least 60 months before you actually apply for Medicaid coverage.
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