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Checklist: Must-Reading for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver

"If you’re currently caring for a person with Alzheimer’s, here are some tips that can help," says Cynthia Hutchins, Merrill Lynch’s director of financial gerontology.

✔ Keep medical records and financial records close at hand. These include an advance medical directive, which describes your loved one's treatment preferences, a durable power of attorney, which specifies who is allowed to make medical decisions for the patient, and an updated will.

✔ Prepare for emergencies. Create and post a list of phone numbers for fire, poison control, your hospital and a designated friend who's willing to help.

✔ Purchase a medical alert bracelet. This will inform a medical professional about any specialized medical needs your loved one might have in case they wander off.

✔ Make sure smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are working properly. Consider installing smoke detectors with flashing lights to compensate for reduced hearing.

✔ Prevent falls. Remove scatter rugs, exposed extension cords and general clutter. Install grab bars in bathrooms and increase lighting in stairwells, entranceways and between rooms. Use night-lights in bedrooms and bathrooms.

✔ Lock down potential hazards. Install childproof locks on medicine and liquor cabinets, on kitchen cabinets containing cleaning supplies and on drawers containing knives, scissors or matches.

✔ Reduce water temperature. Turn down the thermostat to prevent scalding from hot water.


A wealth manager and retirement specialist with Merrill Lynch for the past 19 years, with a master's degree in gerontology, Cynthia Hutchins was appointed director of financial gerontology for the firm in 2014. Her mission is to help clients and advisors better understand the many ways that living longer is transforming retirement and people's approach to their financial lives.

3 Questions To Ask Your Advisor

  1. How can I help ensure that caring for someone with Alzheimer's doesn't disrupt my own financial needs?
  2. Can Medicare help me cover any of my caregiving costs?
  3. How can I prepare for my own long-term-care needs?

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This material should be regarded as general information on Healthcare considerations and is not intended to provide specific healthcare advice.

This article does not constitute legal, accounting or other professional advice. Although it is intended to be accurate, neither the author nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage due to reliance on this material.


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