May 06, 2016
By Senior Advocate and Estate Planning Attorney Rick Law of the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law, a Multi-Generation Law Firm serving DuPage, Kane , Kendall, Will, Cook and other Counties in Illinois.
Alzheimer’s disease has become all too prevalent among our nation’s seniors. Worse yet, every family will inevitably feel the shockwaves caused by this heartbreaking and devastating diagnosis. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, nearly 44 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.
In many cases, the caregiver ends up suffering right along with the alzheimer’s patient. This was recently brought home for me after watching a CBS news special report about a man who postponed his own retirement in order to pay for his wife’s alzheimer’s care.
Here is the story of Mike and Carol:
Mark is the sole caregiver for his wife Carol, who has Alzheimer’s disease. When we first met Mike and Carol Daly eight years ago, Mike was the sole caregiver after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. He often took her to work with him.
Today, at age 73, he’s still working. But now, as Carol declines, a health care worker cares for her during the day. He said if he wanted to retire, he couldn’t afford to care for Carol.
“That’s my fear, I could not swing it financially. I would have to dedicate my whole life to taking care of Carol, because I wouldn’t be able to afford home care. Not enough money.”
A recent survey documented the financial sacrifices Alzheimer’s caregivers are often forced to make. Beth Kallmyer with the Alzheimer’s Association said the participants were having to make difficult choices in order to make ends meet.
“They were having to make choices about putting food on the table, or going to the doctor, or taking money out of their retirement funds in order to make sure the person had care.”
The survey also found almost half of caregivers were forced to cut back on their own expenses. For Mike, that means working and saving so Carol can stay in their home. The alternative would be to put Carol in a nursing home, which Mike says he just can’t do. “I have an obligation to her, the love I have for her,” he said, crying. “I can’t abandon her.”
The cost of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is a lot more than financial.
“I’m dying, I really think I am,” Mike said. “My blood pressure is like 200 over 100. They wanted to put me in the hospital. I can’t go in the hospital … What do I do with Carol?”
His blood pressure is now under control with increased medication.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, about 2 of 3 people incorrectly believe that Medicare may or will help them cover nursing home costs. That may help explain why only about 3 percent of U.S. adults have insurance for long-term care.
If your loved one has memory problems and you’re afraid of the consequences that may bring, give our office a call today at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free. We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family. Call now.
Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.
Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!
“You don’t have to leave your family a lot of money. You really don’t have to leave them anything.
Just don’t leave them a mess.
Law Hesselbaum has made sure we won’t leave our family with a mess.”
M. C., Client of Law Hesselbaum and Law Elder Law