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Alzheimer's Awareness Affects Families and Finances

Alissa Sauer
By Alissa SauerJanuary 25, 2019

Last Updated: January 25, 2019

A study from the University of Utah suggests that people who have a family history of Alzheimer’s are more likely to seek expert financial advice and delay retirement than those who do not have a family history of the disease.

Learn more about this study and why researchers believe an Alzheimer’s awareness correlation between families and finances exists.

Families and the Financial Burden of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s can have a devastating financial impact on families. Many family caregivers have had to cut back on spending, dip into personal retirement savings and sell assets for disease expenses. Of the 15 million unpaid caregivers in the United States, two out of five have a household income of less than $50,000.

Recently, a Family Impact of Alzheimer’s survey interviewed over 3,500 people, 500 of whom provided caregiving and/or financial aid to a parent or senior loved one with the disease.

The survey found that:

  • Nearly 50% of caregivers cut back on spending
  • 20% went to the doctor less often
  • 11% of caregivers failed to get their own medications
  • 11% cut back on children’s educational expenses

Study Links Alzheimer’s Awareness to Increased Financial Planning

As the Alzheimer’s epidemic continues with no cure in sight, the economic impact of the disease is making itself known to caregivers and families.

A University of Utah study found that caring for a parent or senior loved one with Alzheimer’s can cost a family an average of $56,290 annually. The study also found that people with a family history of the disease are more likely to seek financial advice and postpone retirement than those without a family history of Alzheimer’s.

The study, sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and submitted to the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, concluded that:

  • Study participants with a family history of Alzheimer’s were 85% more likely to seek advice from financial professionals
  • Participants were also 40% less likely to retire before the age of 65 as compared to participants who did not have a family history of the disease

Cathleen Zick, an author of the study and a Professor of Family and Consumer Studies at the University of Utah, has been taking a closer look at the correlation between Alzheimer’s awareness and increased financial planning.

Zick believes that everyone, especially those facing an increased risk of serious disease, needs a realistic projection of financial needs in retirement and a plan to meet those needs. She states, “People with low confidence about their financial situation in retirement should be proactive and that would be a sea change in our culture.”

The same authors of the study also published an additional report in the Journal of Aging and Health stating that they believe “It is likely that the link between family health histories and retirement confidence will intensify.”

Have you seen a link between increased Alzheimer’s awareness and financial planning? We’d like to hear your stories in the comments below.

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Alissa Sauer

Alissa Sauer

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