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Gabriel Lalonde
January 27, 2021

Dementia-Proof Your Retirement

Here’s something you already know. Nobody opts into dementia voluntarily.

And yet, the reality is that almost 1 million Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s — and that count is showing no signs of slowing down. Researchers are making advances in preventing dementia and slowing down its progress.

But as of today, there is no cure.

It’s impossible to predict whether one person will experience dementia. You may not know for sure whether it will affect you or your loved ones. You may not be able to halt the disease. But you can reduce its impact on your family’s finances …

… If you take the initiative while you are still healthy and active.

Here are some steps to consider.

Watch for early warning signs of dementia

You may not think of this step when planning your finances, but poor financial decisions can be the first sign of diminished capacity. Anyone can forget to pay one bill. However, overdrawing a checking account for three months in a row is a big warning sign, especially for someone who’s always been careful with money.

Learn to recognize the difference between ordinary forgetfulness and diminished capacity. You can check out the resources at www.alz.org

Find a physician who can advise you on medical conditions that contribute to diminished capacity. It’s important to work with a medical professional who will follow you over the long term and get to know your “baseline performance”. That’s critical for catching the warning signs at an early stage.

Appoint a financial proxy

It’s hard to face this task when you are perfectly capable of paying your own bills and reconciling your bank accounts. But chances are, at some point someone else will need to step in — either temporarily or permanently.

Choose your proxy carefully, as he or she will have a great deal of responsibility. Consult with an attorney to make sure that your paperwork will comply with your state’s laws.

Create a box or binder with all your financial information

Here are some lists you should include.

  • Your assets, including bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate, and safe deposit boxes;
  • All income sources, including rental properties and businesses;
  • Your special possessions (such as jewelry and artwork) that you may want to give away if you become unable to remain in your home;
  • Credit cards and monthly payments made to anyone for services, such as the lawn service, utilities, or wi-fi; and,
  • Insurance policies, including life, health, and long term care.

Financial logistics of a household can get pretty complex. To avoid delays, make it easy for your designated representative to get what she or he needs right away. Include names of the institutions and account numbers. If you conduct financial transactions online, include your log-in and password information. Gaining access to a password-protected account can be tedious, time-consuming, and expensive.

And now — your turn. Don’t delay. Get some file folders and get organized.

You’ll enjoy peace of mind, knowing you and your family will be ready for whatever happens.

Should you need assistance with pressure testing your financial plan, please reach out to one of our qualified advisors.

Gab

About Gabriel Lalonde, CFEI

When Gabriel is not crunching numbers, you can find him accompanied by his beautiful wife Ana and son Théo, either on the golf course in the summer or the ski slopes in the winter. His dream has always been to take over the family business as he saw first hand how much impact his father had on shaping peoples lives and creating long lasting legacies. Gabriel has a true passion for financial literacy and he believes everyone should have access to solid financial education.

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