Financial Planners: How to Help Your Clients With Pre-Dementia
As a financial planner, you may have known some of your clients to experience dementia realated symptoms over the years. You may be one of the first groups of professionals to identify and face the effects of early cognitive struggles. Alzheimer's and other congnitive imparment diseases can progress quickly and financial management concerns should be addressed.
Last year, Fidelity Investments surveyed 350 investment advisers… Most — 84 percent — said they thought they had had clients with Alzheimer’s or symptoms indicating that they were developing it. And 96 percent said they did not feel prepared to deal with those clients. Half said they were not comfortable even raising the subject of dementia. They worried that they might be wrong about a client’s mental capacity, and even if they were right, they did not know what they were supposed to do about it or where to refer the client for assessment and help. (www.alz.org)
Professionals, including physicians, lawyers, bankers and financial planners report that they struggle to define their appropriate roles and when they should step in to advise their clients.
Signs that Your Client may be in the Pre-Dementia Phase
How You Can Help
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney allows your clients to choose someone they trust to manage their affairs if they are incapacitated or unable to do so, thus avoiding a lengthly court appearance.
If not already, you should encourage your clients to establish a Durable Power of Attorney to handle finances as the client becomes unable to do so. This also helps when preparing to pay for future needed services such as private duty home care and medical bills. By creating this arrangement before the family is forced to, you and the client may potentially avoid an uncomfortable situation in the future.
Create Joint Checking and Savings Accounts
Opening joint checking and savings accounts to pay everyday bills can become useful as a person ages. Waiting until a person has more severe dementia to create these accounts can result in confusion and the senior feeling that others are "taking over".
Gather Important Information
While you may already require your clients to provide this information to you, when dealing with seniors as they age, knowing where these document are is especially important. If you notice that one or more items are not complete or outdated, you will be able to address them in a timely manner.
- Medical and durable powers of attorney
- Bank and brokerage accounts
- Deeds, mortgage papers or ownership statements
- Pension and other retirements benefit summaries
- Social Security payment information
- Stock and bond certificates
- Monthly or outstanding bills
- Insurance policies
The Bottom Line
The best relationships between a professional and client are developed when the client feels like they have choices in the matter. If you are able to present a list of choices and constructively tackle a matter like dementia as a person ages, both you and you client will benefit. As a private duty home care representative, I see families face realizations of the cost of long term care. Those who have planned financially are in more control of how they age.
To know more about how Seniors Home Care assists seniors with dementia and Alzheimer's or for answers on how to refer a family to professionals that can help, contact us. We are here to help.
Note: This page provides general financial information, not to take the place of professional financial or legal advice. Consult a professional before making decisions.
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