Dementia can cause debt or the loss of financial assets

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According to the Alzheimer Society 564,000 Canadians are living with dementia, and that number jumps to 937,000 in 15 years. It is very likely this disease will affect you directly, or indirectly with a family member or close friend.

On June 17 the federal Health Minister held a news conference in Toronto and outlined Canada’s dementia objective.

It encompasses a three-part strategy. To prevent dementia, provide better treatments including a cure, and improve the quality of life for those affected plus their caregivers.

The Federal government is committing $50 million over the next five years. In addition, the Canadian Institute of Health Research will contribute $31.6 million over the same time.

On the surface that amount of financial commitment indicates dementia is a real problem, however critics say more funding is needed.

Dementia takes an emotional toll on families, but it can also present a serious risk to personal finances.

According to The World Health Organization, the early stages of dementia are easy to overlook. Families may not realize what is happening to their loved one until it is too late.

Difficulties in money management can arise from memory loss. Things that were once easy, like tracking spending, checking bank statements and investments, and understanding a financial advisor, can become a struggle. Becoming vulnerable to scams and financial abuse are also associated with the disease.

Any one of these things can mean your loved one is not making the best financial decisions which can lead to serious debt. Taking on debt later in life can affect a number of things including retirement plans.

To be blunt about this awful disease, starting at the age of retirement, if you live long enough, there is a strong chance that you will lose your mental capacity.

One of the barriers to overcome is the negative stigma attached to dementia which can result in families failing to openly talk about this prevalent ageing process.

The dangers of dementia are covered in the press on a regular basis, which is a good thing. The better we understand dementia the better we can deal with it.