vulnerability

Top Concerns About Living a Long Life

51%    Health problems/costs

47%    Financial security/fear of running out of money

40%    Being a burden on family

20%    Loneliness or having no purpose

14%    Having nothing left to leave to heirs

13%    Being a victim of abuse, neglect or fraud

2%      Other

Source: BMO Wealth Management survey by ValidateIt Technologies Inc., July 2018.

Overall, the most frequently cited concern was about future healthcare costs and whether health problems will affect quality of life (51%).

Fears about running out of money during retirement (47%) and being a burden on family members (40%) also came high on the list.

Being lonely later in life was a concern for 20% of respondents, and not having anything left to leave to heirs was mentioned by 14% of those surveyed.

A similar number (13% of respondents) worried about becoming a victim of abuse, neglect or fraud.

Financial Concierge Inc. can help mitigate the risks of financial abuse and fraud through assistance with day to day money management as a second set of eyes.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Seniors Health and Wellness, 0 comments

Dementia, Alberta’s Position

For every person who is diagnosed with dementia, 10 to 12 additional individuals are also directly affected by the diagnosis.

The lifetime risk of dementia is 1 in 5 for women and 1 in 10 for men. More than 17,000 Calgarians (about 10% of our seniors) live with dementia and 8 more will develop it today (2,800 this year).  In addition, there are thousands of people living with undiagnosed dementia. Even more concerning is the fact that these numbers are expected to double within the next 20 years. As a growing social and systemic issue, dementia has the potential to overwhelm families, communities, workforces and our healthcare systems in Calgary.

dementia network calgary

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Older Adults Living Alone

Why go it alone?

A recent study noted in a Washington Post article by writer Judith Graham, notes that 22% of older adults in the US fall into a group called “elder orphans” or “solo agers”, referring to people who live alone and have no spouse or children. These people, no different than those who are fortunate enough to have family around in their later years, still need services than most elderly people need when they can no longer carry on alone. The luckier ones may have the option to relocate to a seniors’ facility where they can receive the care they need. Others may need to rely on friends or perhaps contract the needed services from a private home care provider where the elderly person may continue to line in their home.

In a survey of 500 people who identified with the Elder Orphan Facebook Group or 8,500 members, 70% of them stated that they had not identified a caregiver and 35% said they did not have friends or family to help them cope with their new challenges. About 31% of them said they were concerned about their future financial security and 23% said they had experienced at least one instance in the past year where they were not able to meet a financial obligation.

While the above focused on single individuals without a spouse or children, it could be easily considered to apply to aging singles who may have children living at great distances from them and who are not easily able to help in a timely manner. For some elderly singles who may have Dementia or Alzheimer’s, they may no longer have the cognitive ability to ensure their financial plan can support the services they will need.

The time to ensure the financial part of the equation is balanced is earlier in life and this applies for couples as well as for singles who have entered their retirement years. In the absence of having family nearby, a first step would be to meet with a trusted party to review the current financial situation and simplify it as may be found necessary. This will lower the stress of wondering if bills can be paid on time or, in the long run, whether money will run out one day and what can be done to address such concerns.  Once a plan is in place and followed, there will be points within it that will trigger change. Such changes could include a means to handle bill payments and other financial activities if needed. This could mean having an accountant help with monthly financial activities, bank account reconciliations, investment income changes, etc. A final stage in the planning for some people could mean their entering a Seniors’ Facility where they can continue to live as independent a life as possible but be in a location where 7 x 24 hour care is possible.

A good way to start is to meet with a person who can describe the services available and lay out a plan for the coming years. Upon review of the plan that would be tailored specifically for the individual or couple, the decision to continue and follow through with its recommendations or to have someone assist in its execution. The level of involvement by the trusted and capable party would be such that it could simply be an assessment or one that would assign a person to meet on a periodic basis and carry out all the tasks necessary to allow the senior time to enjoy their life without the worry of missing a bill payment or feeling that they are missing out on one or another aspect of their life.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Seniors Health and Wellness, 0 comments
Resident and Family Councils Act

Resident and Family Councils Act

New Alberta Legislation

Alberta Resident and Family Councils Act

In a move that should give beleaguered families more say over the quality of life their loved ones receive in long-term care facilities, the Alberta government has passed the Resident and Family Councils Act.  The NDP’s new legislation, which came into effect in April 2018, guarantees residents and families the rights to establish self-governing councils in long-term care facilities.  That means if a home is providing substandard food, services or activities, the law requires them to work with the family council to resolve any concerns.  The councils are seen as a way for residents and their families to be more involved and in control of their lives.

“As a government, we completely agree that Albertans should have a voice in these matters,” said Sarah Hoffman, Alberta’s minister of health.

If you are interested in setting up a family or resident council, download the toolkit now.

 

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Financial Vulnerability

Age-Associated Financial Vulnerability

We spend millions of dollars annually in the pursuit of longevity. Inevitably, one day we realize that something has changed. We are still the same person, with the same passions and values, but some of our abilities have started to wane.

Cognitive decline is the most significant factor in becoming financially vulnerable. Dr. Mark Lachs of Weill Cornell Medical College and Duke Han of Rush University Medical Center have termed the set of behaviors that lead to poor financial decision-making “Age-Associated Financial Vulnerability”. The reasons for it can vary from lack of sleep to medication changes to changes in the brain. Often, adverse financial behaviors are the first sign that a change has occurred.

Not everyone is proficient at managing money even when they are young. It is important to notice changes from normal, and not just normal mistakes.

Indicators of Vulnerability

  1. Late charges on billing statements. This is significant if you have always paid bills on time throughout your life. It can become challenging to remember and anticipate, especially quarterly and annual bills. Sometimes you just lose focus and fail to organize paperwork so bills don’t get lost.
  2. Calls from creditors. Again, if you have been in debt your whole life this is probably nothing new, but if it begins in later years, it can be a warning sign. Spending money without managing the timing of income and expenses can be catastrophic. If maintaining a chequebook or money management software has become a challenge, then you may need help to reconcile your accounts and know if you can spend a given amount of money.
  3. Donations to many charities. Retirement for some is a time to be generous and philanthropic but if you look back through your chequebook and find numerous donations, usually in small amounts, to a wide variety of charitable organizations then either learn to say no or consider getting some help to manage your money. Charities and scammers who receive small amounts are more likely to sell your name to a list. Then you become vulnerable to all kinds of ploys to get your money.
  4. Undeposited cheques. If you are losing track of cheques and needing to have them re-issued, this can also be a sign that you are vulnerable to the unscrupulous and could become a victim of abuse.
  5. Scam victim. Once you become a victim of a scam or fraud, the likelihood of reoccurrence is high, even if the original loss was nominal. The 2015 True Link study found that those who lost just $20 in one year could be expected to lose $2000 annually.

The same study found that those who are outgoing lose four times as much as older introverts. Financially sophisticated seniors lose more to fraud, probably because they move more money around. Thrifty seniors lose 5 times as much to fraud because they are enticed by bargains and don’t know how to check on the validity of an offer.

If you feel that you or a loved one need a little polish to keep your finances shining, you do not need to go it alone. Contact us and we will assist you with obtaining Peace of Mind around your day to day financial affairs.

SOURCES: “Age-Associated Financial Vulnerability”, Annals of Internal Medicine, Dec. 2015 and the True Link Report on Elder Financial Abuse, 2015.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Financial Abuse, 0 comments