Younger Onset Alzheimer’s – What You Need to Know

RetirementAlzheimer’s Disease is just for old people, right? Wrong.

About 200,000 Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are less than 65 years old. Some are in their 40’s and 50’s with children still living at home or in college. The financial implications are frightening. What happens if the breadwinner gets Alzheimer’s?

Over the past few years there have been several high profile stories in the news that highlight the reality of younger onset Alzheimer’s.

Here’s one of them –

When Pat Summitt was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 59 the sports world took a collective gasp. How could such a force of nature succumb, and at such a young age? Summitt had a hard time accepting the diagnosis herself. Yet the most successful college basketball coach of all times was not spared. A trip to the Mayo Clinic and a battery of tests proved the diagnosis beyond a shadow of a doubt.

In this video, Pat announced her news to the world, believing that she would be able to continue coaching the University of Tennessee Lady Vols for another few years. Less than 8 months later, she retired as head coach.

If Alzheimer’s strikes your family, here are some questions you’ll need to think about:

Is your loved one still capable of making financial and healthcare decisions? What steps do you need to take?

The best thing you can do to take charge of the situation is to make sure your/your loved one’s legal documents are in order, including:

  • Last Will & Testament
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Directives (living will, appointment of a health care agent, document of anatomical gift, designation of conservator of person)
  • Trusts (revocable, irrevocable, special needs)

A Connecticut estate-planning attorney with expertise in special needs planning can assist you every step of the way.

How do you replace lost income?

Here are some of the sources of income your loved one may be eligible for:

  • SSDI, or Social Security Disability Insurance provides monthly income for you, your dependent spouse and minor children. Payments begin five months after onset.
  • Veteran’s Aid & Attendance – veterans and survivors may be eligible for extra income if they require the aid and attendance of another person to perform activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, feeding and others.
  • Short-term or long-term disability policies – these may be part of an employee benefit package or may be held privately.

What entitlement programs are available to pay for care?

Medicaid finances nursing home care for more than two thirds of Connecticut’s nursing home residents. It also finances home care under the Connecticut Home Care Program.

Connecticut pays for home care for disabled individuals under 65 years of age through the Connecticut Home Care Program for Disabled Adults (CHCPDA). CHCPDA was expanded from 50 to 100 slots in 2014.

Once your loved one turns 65, he or she would be transferred to the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders (CHCPE). Read our post on the Connecticut Home Care Program for more information.

I’m the caregiver. Are there any programs that can help me?

Yes, there are three programs:

We hope you’ll never have to face a life-changing illness like Alzheimer’s. But if you are dealing with this issue, give us a call so we can walk with you on your journey and craft the best possible plan for you and your loved one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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