Retirement


Your Stories: The Financial Toll of Alzheimer's

Nest Eggs at Risk

"I was able to pay for respite care for my husband. We had purchased long-term-care insurance for him, but there was a three-month waiting period after he entered a facility. He passed away just short of the three months, so I paid out-of-pocket for that period of care. He was young and healthy, and his death was quite unexpected. Without the insurance it could have been massively expensive had he remained in a facility for an extended period. I deducted medical expenses; Medicare helped with the drugs until we hit the doughnut hole. My husband and I had built a good retirement nest egg. It could have disintegrated had we not taken steps before his diagnosis.” -- Jane Templeton, Evergreen, Colo.

"My mother, who is now 56 years old, has had dementia/early stage Alzheimer's for more than seven years. My dad, who is also 56, has really struggled with every stage of this disease. Alzheimer's is a soul-sucking, painful journey, after which the caretakers are depleted of their money, time and energy. My dad will be lucky to have any of his or my mom's retirement money left over by the time she passes away. This is a depressing thought, because unlike most of their generation they have diligently saved for retirement. Now it might all be gone before my dad can even retire." -- Naomi Lund, Robbinsdale, Minn.

More from Kiplinger's: Prepare for the Financial Impact of Alzheimer’s

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Making Ends Meet

"I retired three years early from a $36,000-a-year management position in health care. Our retirement account is adequate. We take a monthly $500 distribution to augment my Social Security benefits. We have long-term-care insurance coverage for at least five years, if placement becomes necessary. We use $800 a month of my wife's Social Security benefit to provide for an in-home health companion for her for ten hours per week at $20 per hour. This allows respite for me, and can continue as needed. Buy long-term-care insurance as early as possible, because the odds of needing it get worse every year. Check with the state social services to learn about Medicaid financial requirements so that assets owned by the patient are held to a minimum." -- Lewis Wilson, Wichita, Kan.

"My mother died of Alzheimer's in August 2011. We had arranged for in-home care for five days per week. Otherwise, my father was the primary caregiver, with my three siblings and me helping as we could. I generally lived with them on weekends. Medical care was covered by reasonably comprehensive insurance while home health care was paid out of pocket. The nature of Alzheimer's disease seems to be that familiarity is highly valued, and this was a factor in decisions regarding where my mother lived. We made many accommodations to improve safety and function to allow her to live at home until the very end." -- Barry Romich, Wooster, Ohio

"My mom passed away from Alzheimer's. My parents moved in with me as my mom deteriorated and my father was no longer able to care for her on his own. With my husband's support, I quit my job and became a full-time caregiver. Both my parents worked hard all their lives, raising seven children, but in the end the little bit they had saved in an IRA and their Social Security was all they had. We took on the financial burden of my parents. My brother lives in the area and he and his family helped as well. My life became a series of doctor's appointments, for both Mom and Dad, and runs to the pharmacy. Medicare helped. Medicaid helped Mom attend an adult day center one morning a week, which was my respite time. At the end of her life, a Medicaid bed opened up in the Alzheimer's unit at a local nursing home, and for my own emotional and physical health we decided to move Mom there. All they got was her Social Security check each month. And my dad, while he did not suffer from Alzheimer's, had heart disease and a stroke, so I was his caregiver as well. I count this time of my life as one where I came to understand what it means to plan financially for my future." -- P. Bryn Benson, Highland Park, Ill.

More from Kiplinger's: Does Insurance Cover Alzheimer’s Care?

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