Without a cure, or treatments to slow its insidious effects substantially, Alzheimer’s threat to America’s aging population will only continue to grow. Staggering estimates project that the number of Americans living with the disease will rise to nearly 14 million by 2050 from almost 6 million this year (Source: 2020 Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures Report).

Given this anticipated increase, there is a desperate need to accelerate research toward advancing new treatments and finding a cure, as well as to provide care and support to those currently affected—including roughly 16 million unpaid caregivers, according to Alzheimer’s Association numbers. Here, the financial industry can play an important role.

Financial institutions can raise awareness to the risks that scams and other forms of manipulation present to senior investors suffering from degenerative brain function and their families. And by monitoring seniors’ financial activity, financial advisors are well placed to recognize signals of impairment and limit the financial damage. Moreover, by taking a holistic approach that encompasses employee engagement, government advocacy and strategic partnerships, the financial industry can drive crucial support for those fighting Alzheimer’s.

Leaving Seniors Vulnerable
Alzheimer’s stands as the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. One in three seniors dies of Alzheimer’s or another dementia. U.S. retirees identified Alzheimer’s as a greater health threat than Covid-19, according to a study by Edward Jones and Age Wave, a research firm specializing in aging, retirement and longevity.

Beyond the degenerative health effects that cognitive decline triggers, those living with Alzheimer’s and their families must also contend with potential threats to their savings, investment and retirement accounts. As cognitive impairment sets in and progresses, Alzheimer’s leaves those suffering from the disease increasingly vulnerable to financial mismanagement and fraud.

Financial advisors should familiarize themselves with the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia, recognizing mismanaged finances can signal greater challenges on the horizon. Organizations can also better equip employees to limit any subsequent financial impact.

Financial advisors can play an essential role in supporting family members and monitoring how investors spend, save, budget and pay bills, flagging any irregularities that arise, as well as intervening when they detect suspicious activity. Financial advisors can also better prepare families to meet the long-term care costs involved with the disease.

Extending Alzheimer’s education to other groups throughout the organization is also crucial. Educating skilled supervisory associates will help spot early signs of potential fraud or abuse, as well as clients who may require assistance.

In addition, organizations can set up cross-divisional groups that aggregate different perspectives to support employees’ education process and develop solutions to focus on serving and safeguarding senior investors.

Pushing For Wider Advocacy And Strategic Partners
Financial institutions with the right resources should advocate for support in the battle against Alzheimer’s on a community and national level. They can form a group of employee volunteers to highlight the devastating financial impact of Alzheimer’s and educate state and federal government officials about financial fraud risks.

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