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Planning Ahead - Financial Planning and Support

  • 1) Strategies to manage finances
  • 2) Professional and family support with financial matters
  • 3) Putting financial supports in place
  • 4) Preventing exploitation

1) Strategies to manage finances

Without giving up control of your finances, it is a good idea to have a trusted person who can help with some financial tasks, such as balancing your cheque book and making sure to remind you when a bill needs to be paid. It will be an individual decision however on how much or little control you want over your finances. Make sure to get your legal documentation in place(1). See the Power of Attorney section of the website for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the common issues related to finances many people with dementia encounter?
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As your journey with dementia progresses, you may find that dealing with money matters becomes more difficult. Some concerns that you may encounter include:

  • over or underpaying bills
  • difficulty tracking finances
  • managing investments
  • preparing taxes(2)

What are strategies to manage finances and avoid these common issues?
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Consider the following strategies to manage your finances.

  • Paying Bills – You can ask someone close to you to remind you to pay your bills, or redirect bills to someone you trust who will organize and pay the bills for you. You can also set up your finances with your bank to include automatic deposits and withdrawals for bill payments.
  • Tracking Finances – Place a limit on the amount you are able to withdraw from your account. You can also ask someone you trust to create a joint account with you, so you are able to easily track your spending.
  • Managing Investments – Ensure your mutual funds are held jointly. If you have Canada Savings Bonds cash them. It is challenging for others to cash them in if you are not able to.
  • Preparing Taxes – Make sure you have someone you trust who can complete the forms for you, or work through the forms with you, to ensure you apply for the deductions and credits you are eligible for. Another option is to use the services of an accountant(2).

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Sources:

The information above comes from the following source(s):

(1) Reprinted with permission from Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (2008). Tips & strategies: A 'By Us For Us" Guide. Waterloo, Canada: MAREP.

(2) List adapted with permission from Alzheimer Society of Ontario. (n.d.). First steps: An overview of the dementia journey for people with dementia and their care partners. Toronto, Canada: Alzheimer Society of Ontario.

2) Professional and family support with financial matters

As you move through your journey living with dementia you may need to rely on others for support and guidance. Experiencing challenges dealing with numbers is not uncommon, even early in the dementia journey. It is a good idea to talk with family members about your financial health and well-being. There are also many professionals in the community who can provide you with assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it a good idea to consult an accountant?
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Yes. An accountant can give you advice on division of assets, planning for the future and tax saving tips for caregiving expenses. This should be done in the early stages of the disease(1).

Who can I contact if I have questions about financial planning or legal matters?
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For information on financial planning or legal matters, you can contact a solicitor, lawyer, financial advisor or community legal service. Check your community yellow pages under these headings for listings in your area. Also, many financial institutions such as banks have financial advisors who can help you with financial planning.

How can I protect my assets?
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It would be a good idea to gather important documents, such as wills, birth and marriage certificates, mortgage documents, insurance policies, RRSPs, pension plans, investments, ownership of home documents, car ownership, real estate documents, business ownership and other documents, and Power of Attorney forms. Make sure these documents are kept in a safe place and make sure someone you trust knows where these documents are. This step will help ensure your assets are protected(2).

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Sources:

The information above comes from the following source(s):

(1) Compiled with permission from Alzheimer Society Peel. (n.d.). Your guidelines to "A journey through care". Ontario, Canada: Alzheimer Society of Peel.

(2) Compiled with permission from Alzheimer Society of Canada. (n. d.). Shared experiences: Suggestions for those with Alzheimer disease. Ontario, Canada: Alzheimer Society of Canada.

Helpful Links and Resources

Title of Resource What it Offers? Access to the Resource
Community Legal Education Ontario Find public legal information and publication www.cleo.on.ca

3) Putting financial supports in place

As the illness progresses, making decisions about finances can becoming increasingly more challenging. That is why it is important to begin the process of planning now, and to make sure you are aware of the financial supports available to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a diagnosis of dementia affect insurance policies?
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Yes it could. You should contact your insurance provider and discuss your house or apartment insurance, car insurance and life insurance. Have someone you trust present when you are meeting with your insurance provider so they can take notes and support you during the meeting.

Are there tax credits or other financial supports to assist me and my family?
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Yes, there are credits and deductions available to assist persons living with dementia, which include:

  • Disability Tax Credit
  • Attendant Care deductions
  • Medical expense deductions(1)

What is the Disability Tax Credit?
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In Canada, the Disability Tax Credit offers additional tax assistance for persons who have a severe or prolonged physical or mental impairment(1). Visit the Government of Canada website for more information about the Disability Tax Credit.

Is it possible to transfer the Disability Tax Credit to my spouse or supporting person?
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For Canadians, the Disability Tax Credit can be transferred to either a spouse or supporting person if the individual with a disability has no income(1).

What form must be filled out to get the Disability Tax Credit?
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To be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit, you must complete the necessary form (T2201) and attach it to your tax return. There are two parts to the form. The person with the disability or their supporting partner in the care process must complete the first part of the form. A physician or psychologist must complete the second part of the form(1).

What are attendant care deductions?
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In Canada, if you are paying for someone to provide care to assist with employment, school attendance, or to conduct research for a grant, you can deduct this expense on your taxes. You must fill out form T929(1). Note: this deduction is only available to claim by the person with the disability or illness.

What medical expenses can you deduct on your Canadian tax return?
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In Canada, nursing home expenses, dental expenses, contact lenses and solution, hearing aids and batteries, drug plan payments, Blue Cross, premiums paid to insurance company and health insurance, as well as any medical expenses pertaining to your body , may be used as a deduction on your tax return. Check with the Revenue Canada or your accountant for changes in allowable deductions.

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Source:

The information above comes from the following source(s):

(1) Compiled with permission Alzheimer Society of Ontario. (n. d.). First steps: An overview of the dementia journey for people with dementia and their care partners. Ontario, Canada: Alzheimer Society of Ontario.

Helpful Links and Resources

Title of Resource What it Offers? Access to the Resource
Canada Revenue Agency: Persons with Disabilities In formation related to government support for Persons with Disabilities http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/sgmnts/dsblts/menu-eng.html
Canada Revenue Agency: Forms Provides a listing of tax packages and all relevant forms for download www.cra.gc.ca/forms or call 1-800-959-2221
Tax Information Phone Service (T.I.P.S) Provides general and personal tax information 1-800-267-6999

4) Preventing exploitation

It is extremely important to know and understand the potential threats to your financial well-being, and to be proactive in protecting your hard earned money.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the ways that people with dementia might be exploited financially?
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Below are some ways that people with dementia may be exploited.

  • People who come to your door asking for donations
  • Giving out credit card information over the phone
  • Giving out credit card numbers or bank card pin numbers if requested by email
  • People who come to your door asking you to sign up for a deal(1)

What are preventative steps I can take to minimize my risk of exploitation?
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To protect yourself from financial exploitation, only carry small amounts of cash with you. Block private callers and register for the Do Not Call list . You can also place a "no soliciting" sign on your door and register your phone number as unlisted(1).

Use a credit card rather than carrying large amounts of cash when making a purchase. Or make arrangements with the stores you shop at most regularly to set up an interest-free tab that you or your care partner can pay off each month. When you do carry cash, make sure what you carry is in small denominations – nothing larger than a $20 bill – and try to use the bill closest to the cost of the item. That way, if there is an error in making change the loss of money will be minimized(2).

For those using a computer, be aware that banks or financial institutions will never request personal or banking information online. NEVER GIVE OUT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER OR BANK CARD PIN NUMBER TO ANYONE REQUESTING THIS VIA EMAIL. Keep a note about this on your computer to remind yourself of this. Visit the McAfee website for a list of the most common email hoaxes and viruses(2).

Never allow home sales people into your home, especially if you are alone. And, it is best to not sign anything without checking with someone you trust first.

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Sources:

The information above comes from the following source(s):

(1) Compiled with permission from Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program. (2008). Tips & strategies: A 'By Us For Us" Guide. Waterloo, Canada: MAREP.

(2) Reprinted with permission from Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program. (2008). Tips & strategies: A 'By Us For Us" Guide. Waterloo, Canada: MAREP.

Helpful Links and Resources

Title of Resource What it Offers? Access to the Resource
Do Not Call List Registers your phone number with the government to prevent telemarketers from calling you www.LNNTE-DNCL.gc.ca
McAfee website Provides a list of the most common email hoaxes and viruses http://vil.mcafee.com/virusinfo/top-viruses
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[This page updated on December 13, 2012]
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