Money Talks: Understanding Dementia’s Cost

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Dementia comes with a terrible cost. But it goes beyond what many consider.


While the horrible condition slowly robs people of their memories and independence, it also can wreak havoc on their finances.

In this heartfelt video, Terry Berry – an elder care nurse in her 50s – describes how dementia left her unable to work, which in turn led to her financial demise.

 


“Not only did I lose my income, I lost my home,” Berry said. “My car is gone. A lot of things, financially, change.”


She now lives with her daughter, son-in-law, and four grandchildren in Manassas, Virginia. Berry said she feels lucky because she receives some money each month from a family trust.


Berry is among the estimated 200,000 people in the United States who have younger-onset Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association®. This group comprises about 3.6% of the 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.


“My grandmother got dementia at such a late age that I didn’t think about the younger-onset,” Berry said. “When you’re 56, you’re not thinking about that. You’re not thinking about five years from now I may need to have an aide come into my daughter’s home to help me.”

 

Berry’s daughter, April Keys, an elder care nurse herself, knows firsthand the cost of dementia care.

 

“When she gets to that point where we’re going to need help to come in the house, care for her, get her up and get her medicine, that’s going to be extremely expensive,” Keys said about her mother.

 

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MIT AgeLab and Transamerica have a free field guide to financial strategies for those living with dementia that families might find helpful. It's at transamerica.com/dementia