senior man in glasses using tablet while woman drinking tea in background

By Ann Senne

If you ask most Americans to describe their ideal retirement, it would be in essence this: To spend time in good financial and physical health surrounded by family, friends and loved ones doing the things they love and that inspire them.

Yet for those who suffer from dementia and the 15 million Americans who provide care for them – this dream of retirement is often derailed by a disease that seeps into all aspects of one’s life, robbing people of their independence, their dignity, and, all too often, their retirement nest eggs.

Even for families of means or families who have saved diligently for decades, we know that a dementia diagnosis can have a devastating impact on their financial stability and retirement security.

That’s why our firm is taking a concerted stand against dementia.

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We’re putting money, time and resources behind those who are searching for a cure and supporting those who are struggling under the weight of this disease. And we hope to inspire others to do the same.

This month we announced a $25,000 sponsorship of the Women’s Brain Health Initiative’s annual dinner in Chicago. The Women’s Brain Health Initiative raises funds for research through knowledge-learning events and symposiums in the U.S., Canada and Europe and we’re proud to support that work.

We’re also arming all of our 1,800-plus advisors with new tools and information they need to better understand the signs and symptoms of dementia – particularly as it relates to how an individual may be managing or mismanaging their finances. Those tools include white papers and tip sheets produced by our team of financial experts as well as material we’ve received from new partnerships we’ve forged with organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association and The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration.

And to give this very important message reach, we’ve partnered with nationally-known children’s book author Nancy Carlson, who lost her life savings when her husband was diagnosed with a form of dementia called frontotemporal degeneration and started to make a series of bad financial decisions. By highlighting Nancy’s story and sharing some of the wisdom she gained along her journey, we aim to raise awareness of the devastating financial impact dementia on families.

We’re also supporting research into a cure.

While there are many diseases that can have a devastating financial impact on families, the risks associated with a dementia diagnosis are particularly high. Not only is dementia the most expensive disease in the United States, but Medicare does not cover many of the necessary health care services. Dementia can also lead to serious financial missteps and make those with dementia frequent targets of fraud and financial abuse.

Our goal is to help shine a brighter light on this disease so we can all be better aware of the risks, support the individuals and families who struggle under its weight and advocate for a cure so that everyone has a shot at making their retirement dreams reality.

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn in July 2018