Alzheimer’s and Long Term Care Insurance

A couple of weeks ago, Sheri and I attended a dinner at a restaurant in Dallas. We were invited by a friend of mine, Michael DeGroat, a fee only financial planner with Ameriprise. Michael believed we’d enjoy the dinner, as well as hear an interesting talk from the special guest speaker. He was absolutely right!

The woman who spoke after dinner was Bebe Bralley, a realtor with TexStar Realty in Ingleside, Texas. Bebe also happens to be an author. She wrote an incredible book, Something in the Way, An Alzheimer’s Chronicle which talks about the final journey she took with Bill, her husband of 58 years.

Bebe’s talk was amazing, as is her book. The stories she shares give an intimate portrait of the first clues something’s wrong with Bill and his progression through the disease until his death 4 years later. Some of the stories are humorous, like trying to start his truck with his pocket knife and getting angry with the truck. Others are poignant; forgetting how to use a credit card, disconnecting from those around him, and getting lost. Some are truly sad, but all are honest and authentic.

Bebe’s book is more than just Bill’s story though. She shares her journey as she loses her husband, best friend, and confidant to the disease. We’re able to see her wondering what’s behind Bill’s behavior, hoping against hope he’ll get better, and her moving into acceptance it won’t. We see her struggle to take care of Bill before embracing the reality she can’t, and the pain she feels when he doesn’t recognize her or their kids.

I came away from Bebe’s talk and her book with four points worth sharing.

  • The number of people who’ll suffer from Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia
  • They waited too late to qualify for long term care insurance
  • The need for help caring for the person with dementia
  • The cost of care is more than most people plan for

One of the statistics Bebe shared is one person in ten will suffer from Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. What made her point interesting, is Sheri and I were sitting at a table with eight other people, meaning one of us sitting at the table would face this condition.

Almost a year into Bill’s altered behavior, their physician suggested they get long term care insurance. In order to qualify for this, Bill needed to pass a test assessing his mental state. He failed it and was unable to qualify for coverage. They’d have to pay for everything Medicare didn’t cover for Bill’s care, and Medicare covers surprisingly very little of this cost.

Bebe bravely attempted to care for the love of her life, and for a time, she was able to do that. But the time came when she could not provide all his care. It was unsafe for Bill to go home for both he and Bebe and she had to admit him to a long term care facility. One of the biggest drains on the family emotionally, physically, and financially is trying to care for a loved one with dementia, and yet many end up having to turn the care over to such a facility.

The cost of care is expensive and will continue to grow over time. Long term care currently runs $3,000 to $5,000 a month or more. The cost is influenced by the type of care required and where the care is administered. If long term care costs aren’t included in your financial plan, it can be devastating, A good financial plan should include all your insurance needs including long term care insurance.

Buy Bebe’s book and learn from her story. It’s a page turner! After you read it, talk with someone like Michael or myself who can advise you about your options. Also, be sure to read another post I wrote on it, If you have a question, comment, suggestion, or story to share, please share them on my Google +, Facebook or LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!

Evie Wise
Evie Wise


Evie Wise
Evie Wise

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