As Financial Planners we regularly talk to people who are affected by Alzheimer’s and Dementia and understand the stress and distress this can place on individuals and their families.

Dementia knows no social, economic or geographical boundaries. Whilst each person will experience dementia in their own way, eventually those affected are unable to care for themselves and need help with all aspects of daily life. There is currently no cure for most types of dementia, but treatments, advice, and support are available.

Every 3 seconds someone in the world develops dementia. In 2016 there are almost 47 million people with dementia worldwide, and this figure is expected to double in the next 20 years.

This month we are supporting the World Alzheimer’s Month campaign, an international campaign to raise dementia awareness and challenge stigma.

Watch out for our posts on social media with the Magenta team member’s favourite memories with the hashtags #WAM2016 #RememberMe

We thought it would be helpful if we gave some tips for managing finances for those who may be helping someone with dementia, or are worried about how they will cope in the future, so here goes:

1) Write a disaster plan. Collate all your financial information so that you know what you have, how to access it and what it is worth. Make sure you and your spouse, or family member know the detail and where you keep all the information so you know how to manage your affairs in the event of your other half not being there, or your children know how to help if you are alone. A detailed spreadsheet or simple list will help you get started with this.

2) There are some practical and legal considerations you must take care of. Ensure your Wills are up to date and you know what your partner’s wishes are, and arranging a Lasting Power of Attorney. Then consider whether you need to make provision for funerals, dependants, pets etc, all of which involve some serious and open conversations about your wishes. It might feel a little awkward, but if you or your partner suddenly go downhill and are unable to make decisions about finances, you’ll be extremely relieved that you took the time.

3) After diagnosis or when it gets to the stage that care may be soon required, it is important to get advice about the kind of care that will be required and the funding that may be available from the NHS.There are two organisations in the UK that are responsible for providing care to meet people’s needs – the NHS and local authority social services. Healthcare is provided by the NHS, and is free. Social and personal care is provided by local authority social services, and you may have to pay for it. Social and personal care covers things like helping someone to get dressed or at mealtimes, or supporting someone to get out and about. Healthcare covers things like treating or controlling an illness, disability or injury.

Although healthcare and social care may seem to be separate things, it is sometimes difficult to identify the line between healthcare and social care. This is very important, because any decision about who is responsible for providing care can have significant financial consequences.

Obtaining a continuing healthcare assessment is very important, but can be time-consuming and complex, but it can be extremely beneficial if you are successful. However, it is important to understand that the NHS limits access to free care. Strict rules and criteria are used to decide who can receive it. Many people with dementia will not meet these criteria and will therefore not be eligible.

The Alzheimer’s Society have produced the attached document that provides further information on NHS funding: when_does_the_nhs_pay_for_care