Dementia: The Financial Roadmap
By: Susan Oster, Public Education Coordinator

You or a loved one has recently received the diagnosis – a disease that is causing a progressive form of dementia. With this comes a lot of emotions and a lot of questions – what now?

Ron Posno, who through a long and accomplished career worked as a teacher, administrator and motivational speaker (to name a few), would tell you Get Real – Get Ready – Get a Plan. A few years ago, Ron was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment and is now living with symptoms of early dementia.

Ron has been inspired by his own life experiences and further by the words of care partner Louise Milligan, who, when she spoke at our Speakers Series event last October said, “Be prepared, not scared.” Since the diagnosis, Ron and his wife have been working on “The Plan”. With the understanding that he is living with a progressive degenerative brain disease, Ron is taking stock of his current financial situation, mapping out the future and communicating his wishes to those who will be supporting “the plan” along its path. These key people should include your Powers of Attorney for property and health, your substitute decision maker and others in your support network (e.g. bank staff, financial advisor, lawyer, etc.), In his mind he is doing this planning now, so he can wake up each morning and embrace what that new day has to offer.

One of the areas of potential stress for persons living with dementia and their future/current Power of Attorney comes from interacting with the bank. Our second panelist, Helen Starbuck will speak to having early open communication with your bank to access valuable resources, plan for future expenditures and avoid the risk of financial abuse/fraud. Who should assist with daily banking? What do I need to consider if I’m designating a Power of Attorney for property? If I’m a Power of Attorney for Property, what are my obligations when working with the bank? As Helen says; remember: Giving someone power of attorney is legally binding. It should be someone you trust implicitly.

As part of “the plan”, the person living with dementia and care partners may wish to consider alternate living arrangements for when the disease progresses, and day-to-day care needs increase. It is important to know what options exist and consider which one might be right for you – and when. Our final panelist is Brandon Felner who suggests doing this type of research early to enable the person living with dementia to be actively involved in decision making (e.g. visiting residential sites) and assist in financial planning. Options such as long term care may bring unexpected questions related to access, waitlists, rates, and benefit supports. Being aware of the process and potential costs will help reduce stress if/when this option is needed.

The Alzheimer Society London & Middlesex is hosting a Speakers Series event to address the financial consequences associated with dementia.

“Dementia: The Financial Roadmap” will feature a panel discussion and moderated Q&A with:

Ron Posno, B.A.(Hon), M.Ed., Ed.D., Lived experience perspective; Helen Starbuck, banking sector, member of Elder Abuse London Middlesex, and care partner; and Brandon Fellner, Business Manager, McGarrell Place Long Term Care Home

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