Alzheimer’s Disease: Taking Charge

The New York Times had a Special Section on Sunday May 1, 2016 titled “Fraying At The Edges” by N.R. Kleinfield. The article followed Geri Taylor from the early stages of her disease. Ms. Taylor taught me how we still have a choice in how we live out our lives even in the face of a horrendous disease like Alzheimer’s.  The article also introduced me to the NY Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association called Caringkind, a wonderful organization that I will recommend to many clients.

alzheimerMr. Kleinfield writes about the “stigma” associated with Alzheimer’s. This is a disease that makes people feel embarrassed causing them to pretend they are fine when they know they are not.  What was refreshing was the focus not on the end of the journey but the beginning and how people can choose how to deal with the disease; to accept it and talk about it, to be active, and to strategize how they can best live with the disease. It truly changed my thinking.

Every 67 seconds an American is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and 2/3 of those diagnosed are women. On Monday, the paper followed up with questions that people frequently ask.  I related to the one about forgetting where you put your glasses and whether that’s a sign of Alzheimer’s. The answer was no but I wasn’t convinced. There is no getting around the fact that at the moment, this is an unstoppable disease with no good prognosis. No wonder people don’t want to talk about it.

As a long term care specialist, I spend a good part of my work life with families dealing with loved ones with Alzheimer’s. I talk with healthy people about it every day because that’s what you do when you sell long term care insurance. You hear the statistics, you read the articles, and you talk with the families of clients on claim.

All of this has made me even more passionate about the product I sell. Long term care insurance does help families both with the financial and emotional burden that comes when a loved one needs care. People are very grateful that they have their policies and thank me often.

These days we have a myriad of options available when purchasing a long term care insurance policy. There are stand-alone policies and policies that combine with life insurance and with annuities. There are policies that will give you a death benefit if you die not needing care and others that will reimburse all your premiums if you change your mind in the future and no longer want the coverage. And most recently, there are policies that will allow you to use your pension money to fund the policy.

There is a fit for all who value protecting themselves and their families. The only caveat is insureds must be in good health. The time to look into this is now regardless of age. If you are healthy, act now.

To read the article please visit http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/05/01/nyregion/living-with-alzheimers.html

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