The Long Goodbye

Senior And Young Holding HandsDementia and Financial Planning

While there is no doubt that planning your financial future is certainly important as you need a source of income to enjoy any meaningful lifestyle in retirement. It is equally important to consider that circumstances can change and what was originally planned as your retirement income, can now be required to become your long-term care fund.

Dementia is a condition that resonates with me personally having touched the families of both my wife and I. My paternal Grandmother developed Alzheimer’s at 69, a time in her life when she should be enjoying her retirement years and her many grandchildren. She lived for a further 15 years being cared for selflessly by both my Uncles. My wife’s father developed a form of dementia following radium treatment after the removal of a brain tumor at the age of 65 and lives with it to this day. It is heart breaking to hear all the plans he and my mother-in-law were hoping to enjoy in retirement and how those plans turned into the reality of the cost of long-term care.

Dementia is predominantly age related and its incidence and prevalence increases significantly with advancing years. One of the consequences of our ageing population is that we will have to deal with this condition much more often in the future.

Dr Roger O’Sullivan from the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland believes that one in three children born today will live until 100. Worryingly it is also predicted that one in three children born today will develop dementia in the future. While our physical well-being and longevity has been extended dramatically, developments in mental health have certainly lagged behind.

In Ireland it is currently estimated that 42,000 people have some form of dementia, and these figures are likely to increase dramatically over the next 30 years according to The Dementia Services Information and Development Centre.

The reality of these statistics is that some of us at some stage will lose the capacity to manage our affairs. This is particularly relevant when it comes to our financial matters.

It is important to think about the future as there is often significant personal, social and economic costs associated with dementia, the majority of which are borne by unpaid family caregivers.

Early planning is essential as it allows you put your legal and financial affairs in order. I cannot stress enough how crucial it is to your long term financial goals to make a will and set up and enduring power of attorney as these record your preferences and wishes as to how your affairs are managed if something were to happen to you.

As financial planners are here to help you organise your affairs, co-ordinate with other professionals and advise you what steps to take.

Engaging with a financial planner greatly increases your overall personal and financial well-being and helps you to be prepared for whatever life may bring.