Tahoe-Truckee Market Beat: Alzheimer’s, dementia and estate planning | SierraSun.com

Tahoe-Truckee Market Beat: Alzheimer’s, dementia and estate planning

Ken Roberts
Market Beat

The importance of proper long-term planning cannot be understated. Last week, I wrote another column about the importance of sound estate planning.

Prince died without even a simple will and had an estate over $250 million; the probate court will now have to determine who his beneficiaries are and what they receive. The Federal government and the Minnesota state government will get about half of his estate.

Once again, for estate planning you should have a will and a trust. Other documents that need to be in place are a durable power of attorney and a medical power of attorney.

These documents, when properly drafted, will give someone the power to make important decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated.

Alzheimer’s and dementia have become very common today. Some people can live quite a long time while suffering from them, and having the right instructions in place will be a tremendous benefit to your beneficiaries.

Your long-term planning should include the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

According to Art Koff’s website, retiredbrains.com, Alzheimer’s is now the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.

The number of Americans who become afflicted with Alzheimer’s is projected to reach 13.8 million by the year 2050, and that number is substantially higher than previously forecast. Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s every 70 seconds.

The costs of treating the disease are very high. The average cost of treating dementia during the last five years of life is about $278,000. Comparatively, the average cost of treating cancer is $173,400 and the average cost of treating heart disease is $175,100.

There are some early warning signs of Alzheimer’s, which include severe memory loss, difficulty performing simple tasks, confusion, loss of judgment, losing items and changes in mood and personality.

If you or a loved one is beginning to show some of these signs, take them seriously and get medical evaluation. Prescription drugs available today have been shown to be very effective in fighting the symptoms of the disease.

Lifestyle is also very important in lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s. Get plenty of sleep, reduce stress, eat a healthy diet with more fruits and vegetables and get plenty of regular exercise, like skiing and hiking.

Planning ahead for the possibility of some form of dementia like Alzheimer’s will really help your loved ones in the unfortunate event that it is diagnosed.

Kenneth Roberts is a Truckee-based Registered Investment Advisor. Information is at his blog at http://www.sellacalloption.com or 775-657-8065. The mention of securities should not be considered an offer to sell or solicitation to buy investments mentioned. Consult your investment professional to understand the risks and/or how the purchase or sale of these investments may be implemented to meet your investment goals. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.