Financial Planning in the Shadow of Dementia

USA, November 4, 2014

Transamerica, Aegon's popular brand in North America, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab highlighted the issues facing individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia at a recent symposium.

The symposium, titled 'Financial Planning in the Shadow of Dementia,' brought together academic experts, caregivers, physicians, Alzheimer's Association representatives, Transamerica management and financial professionals to discuss family dynamics, as well as the physical, personal and financial impacts of Alzheimer's on the afflicted and their families.

Number of Alzheimers sufferers expected to soar

As the world's population of people over the age of 65 increases over the next few decades, so too will the number of people affected by Alzheimer's. According to the Alzheimer's Association, more than five million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia.

Unless a medical breakthrough is discovered, that number is expected to soar to more than seven million by 2025, and may reach as high as 16 million by 2050.

"Transamerica is committed to helping financial advisors better serve and communicate with their customers at every stage of their lives," said Dave Paulsen. "One of the ways we are supporting advisors is by helping them address the distinct challenges faced by clients and families who are coping with Alzheimer's disease and dementia."

Loss of financial skills common symptom

"Declining financial skills may be among the first symptoms to appear in the early stages of Alzheimer's," said AgeLab director Dr. Joseph Coughlin. A person who was once very responsible with money, may suddenly stun friends and family members by giving away large sums of money to scam artists.

"That is why the AgeLab is pleased to be collaborating with Transamerica to advance the science and practice of financial planning behavior, engagement and decision-making. We expect our research to improve the financial well-being of families and inform the advisor-client relationship to ensure a secure retirement for both those suffering from Alzheimer's and those who care for them," he said.

"Transamerica is taking the lead in starting this conversation in the financial services industry," said Mike Mathies in Transamerica Capital Management, who along with his marketing staff, worked to create the symposium with the MIT AgeLab so others could gain a greater understanding of the specific needs facing clients with dementia. "We're seeing a real commitment from our partners ... This is the right thing to do."

Written by: Aegon