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Financial Professional: Field Guide to Dementia
Caregiver: Field Guide to Dementia

Dementia left Terry Berry bankrupt.

The former elder care nurse, diagnosed at age 56 with front temporal dementia, lost her job, which ultimately 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.

“It’s such a huge hit financially,” Berry said. “I know so many other people with this disease that are also in the same situation.”

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.

What’s so unfortunate about Berry’s situation is she had purchased an insurance policy that would have helped her pay for dementia care, but she decided to drop it a few years before being diagnosed.

“I had stopped meeting with (my financial professional) and switched gears and decided I would pay my mortgage off and do some other planning,” Berry said. “I thought I was doing all the right things.”

Berry was planning to purchase the insurance again once her home was paid off. She knows how important it is to be protected because she was a caregiver and because dementia runs in her family.

“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.

Consider sharing this powerful story with your clients, especially those who have dementia in their family.

“I was always extremely responsible financially,” Berry said. “As much as I thought I had planned everything out, there were a few things I probably would’ve done differently.”

Things to Consider:
  • Even younger adults can develop Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
  • Alzheimer’s disease can have a dramatic impact on finances.
  • Alzheimer’s dementia affects one in 10 people age 65.