In an ideal world, you will retire and enjoy many years fulfilling your dreams and spending time with those you love the most. Your retirement years can be some of the happiest and most enjoyable years of your life. But while we all hope for the best outcome possible, it may be prudent for you to plan for the possibility that life may deal you a difficult hand.

Your retirement plan should address the very real possibility that a chronic illness could strike – whether it’s you, your spouse or another loved one that’s affected. For many retirees, there is a good chance the chronic illness they may face later in life will be Alzheimer’s disease.
Today, more than 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and nearly half of people 85 and older have Alzheimer’s. So, while living well past your retirement age is desirable to practically everyone, living a long life does come with challenges.

The financial costs associated with Alzheimer’s

Put frankly, Alzheimer’s is an expensive disease to deal with. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, payments for care associated with Alzheimer’s totaled $200 billion in 2012. That’s just for care related directly to treating the patient; it does not factor in lost wages or other expenses loved ones may incur when caring for the person with Alzheimer’s. And care received in a nursing home or assisted living facility can easily runs $3,000 a month or more, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The good news is that planning ahead can help put you in a position where you may be able to afford chronic care. It should be part of any discussion you may have.
A plan for dealing with the costs of chronic care needs to be implemented before you develop Alzheimer’s or another chronic disease.
It’s important to remember that while there’s no known cure for Alzheimer’s, living a heart-healthy lifestyle can help delay the onset of the disease.

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