The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AgeLab recently joined forces with the Transamerica companies to discuss significant financial issues regarding patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and their families, as well as to initiate a framework for new guidelines in effectively serving clients facing the disease. The meeting recently took place at the “Financial Planning in the Shadow of Dementia” symposium in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
At the end of the symposium, AgeLab and Transamerica released a framework composed of five guidelines directed to financial advisers, in order to lead them in their work with both patients and caregivers. “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,” Coughlin added.
The guidelines presented included:
- Understanding the client’s complete assets, especially real estate.
- Identifing all income sources and insurance benefits to understand if they fit the client’s current and future needs.
- Focusing on intentions: Helping clients articulate their plans and wishes so that advisors can design an effective plan to meet clients’ needs and goals.
- Examining the client’s options for managing day-to-day financial affairs, including banking.
- Discussing the client’s and family’s preferences for care management and how to pay for it.
“Declining financial skills may be among the first symptoms to appear in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Moreover, the disease may leave individuals and families vulnerable to impaired decision-making and possible fraud,” explained the director of the AgeLab, Joseph Coughlin, Ph.D. “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.”
The day-long symposium involved an in-depth discussion on family dynamics, in addition to the physical, personal, and financial effects of the disease on patients and their families. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia and currently affects five million people in the United States alone, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Research shows that the average advisor serves seven clients living with Alzheimer’s disease,” stated the president of Transamerica Distributors, Dave Paulsen. “This disease will transform the way our industry plans for retirement, and Transamerica is honored to hold a forum for this important discussion.”
“Transamerica is committed to helping financial advisors better serve and communicate with their customers at every stage of their lives. 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,” Paulsen added.