Great financial professionals provide their clients with solutions to meet their needs. They are committed to helping their clients in other ways, too.
“As financial professionals, you are in a unique position to profoundly affect people throughout the course of their lives,” said Robert Pokorski, M.D., Vice President and Medical Director for Prudential’s Individual Life Insurance Division, and a longevity expert. “From the time [clients] are younger and healthier through retirement and senior years, the guidance you provide helps them make informed decisions to see them through.”
And your clients, as they age, will likely experience various chronic illnesses — one of the most common being Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are a few topics to help you guide clients through the financial, mental, and physical effects of Alzheimer’s.
1: The Truth About Chronic Illness
Five in ten people who are age 65 will need chronic illness care later in life, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. And four out of five chronically ill people live at home — not in nursing homes — where family members provide most of their primary care. According to the 2016 Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Fact and Figures report, caregivers provided nearly 18 billion hours of unpaid assistance in 2015.
2: The Devastation of Alzheimer’s
The numbers on Alzheimer’s specifically are alarming. The Alzheimer’s Association report shows that:
- 5.1 million Americans 65 or older have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
- Two-thirds of these are women.
- Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S.
- One in three seniors will die while suffering from Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia.
3: Would you know if your client has Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It is characterized by declining memory, language, problem-solving, and other cognitive skills that affect a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.
Clients with Alzheimer’s will likely realize that something is wrong, but they may try to conceal the problem from you. For example, they might answer one of your questions with a question of their own — an attempt to conceal poor memory. In other instances, they may be willing to share their concerns with you and ask for your assistance.
Other signs might include:
- Forgetting an aspect of their investments that they once knew well.
- No longer recognizing one of your long-term employees.
- Problems speaking or writing.
- Uncharacteristic emails or phone calls.
- Sudden, out-of-character anger or suspicion.
Dr. Pokorski says the mnemonic ABBCCCJ can help you spot signs of reduced mental or financial capacity in your clients. This stands for difficulties with:
- Asset and investments
- Bank statements
- Bill payments
- Currency values (confusion while looking at bills and coins)
- Checkbook management
- Cash transactions
It’s important to realize that financial skills are different from financial judgment. For example, if your client is very good with math but says, “The nicest person called me yesterday and wanted me to contribute to their organization, so I gave him my credit card number,” this would show uncharacteristically poor judgment for that client.
4: The Financial Burdens of Alzheimer’s