LifeSearch finds the best ways to protect against the financial loss that could be caused by Alzheimers disease, as part of World Alzheimers Day on 21 September.
Worrying news from the London School of Economics and Institute of Psychiatry published in February revealed 700,000 people currently have dementia in the UK and it is rising fast. They also said there will be over a million people with dementia by 2025 and over 1.735m by 2051. Yet relatively few people are protecting themselves from the financial consequences of this debilitating disease.
The term 'dementia' is used to describe the symptoms that occur when the brain is affected by specific diseases and conditions, the most common of which is Alzheimer's disease (62%). Symptoms of dementia include loss of memory, confusion and problems with speech and understanding.
Research by Fidelity in December revealed over two thirds of adults aged 55-75 have no plans to keep money back for their long-term care. In the majority of cases the bulk of the dementia care cost is met by the sufferers themselves and their families. With the cost of caring for one person with late-onset dementia reaching an average 25,472 a year, it is clear many people would not be able to cope with such a burden without long-term care insurance in place.
It is not just an old persons problem. There are currently 15,000 younger people (under 65) with dementia in the UK.
Most Critical Illness policies will pay out if the life covered suffers irreversible Alzheimers but this is something that should be double checked when taking out a policy.
Also worth considering are policies that give a little bit extra short term help in providing emotional support and aiding clients to put in place plans for long term care.
Two policies of this type are:
- Helping Hand service (Bright Grey), which comes with every Bright Grey plan at no extra cost and offers a broad range of help and support to clients and their families. It includes access to a specialist nurse, therapist and counsellor, a range of helplines as well as discounts and deals on a range of health and lifestyle products and services.
- Extra Care (Liverpool Victoria) is aimed at improving the living situation for critical illness customers. After their claim is complete, customers have the option of receiving oncology, cardiology or neurology care, therapy, physio, counselling etc. Extra Care also provides customers with the option of a follow-up from a personal nurse, with ongoing help available by phone and through support groups.
LifeSearch are the only intermediary to also provide this kind of service through LifeSearchCare, supplied by RED ARC. It comes free when a client arranges life insurance (with Terminal Illness), Critical Illness Cover or an Income Protection plan through LifeSearch. It is available to customers (and their dependants) who have been diagnosed with a serious illness or chronic health condition that is likely to have a long-term impact on their lifestyle or wellbeing.
Matt Morris, LifeSearch Policy Adviser, says; “ It is important that people recognise the need to protect themselves financially against the expense of long term care as a result of a serious illness like Alzheimers, which we know will increase over the coming decades. A good critical illness policy will help, and several providers offer extra benefits in their policies, which can provide important care and support at no extra cost. It is important people know about and consider these options now. Premiums increase with age so the longer someone waits to take out cover the more expensive it could be in the long run.”
Life insurance: News update: 17 September 2007