If you’ve had a loved one who suffered from Alzheimer’s, you know the devastating impact the disease can have on the individual and the family members. But many who haven’t personally experienced it may not realize the full impact of this disease.

While it’s important to stay positive and take care of your health, it’s equally important to understand the odds of being diagnosed with a cognitive disease. It’s estimated Alzheimer’s or dementia impacts one in three seniors.

Real Stores: Mike and Carol

In a real-life example, 60 Minutes interviewed Mike and Carol over 10 years as they dealt with her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Carol was diagnosed at age 65 after her and her husband Mike watched his mother go through the same disease years prior. Carol lost her job due to her memory loss and lost the ability to cook meals as she normally did for her family. Mike, a retired police officer, committed to caring for her in their home after the many years she lovingly cared for him.

“It’s estimated Alzheimer’s or dementia impacts one in three seniors.”

Eventually, her needs became too great, and he had to hire a home caregiver at the cost of $40,000 per year. As she continued to deteriorate, she forgot her husband’s name and lost the physical ability to take care of herself. Eventually, she needed 24-hour care could no longer talk or communicate. At 74 years old, Carol sat slumped in a chair and entered a vegetative state. While her heart was strong, her body and brain were deteriorating.

After years of lovingly caring for his wife, Mike’s own health suffered and declined. He admitted his thoughts turned to suicide due to the stress and demands of caregiving. To allow Mike to get out of the house and deal with his depression, he had to hire 24-hour nursing care in their home. Eventually, Carol’s needs became far too great to continue care at home and she was placed in a nursing home.

Watch Mike and Carol’s full story in this 13-minute video:

60 Minutes

Have you talked with your aging parents or close relatives about their care wishes? Or have you made a long-term care plan for yourself? While the physical, emotional, and financial effects of the illness can be devastating, create a plan now and communicate your wishes with your family.

Learn more about Long Term Care Insurance to protect your income, assets, and family members against the physical, emotional, and financial expense of long-term care.