What Boomer Clients Fear Most
Last week I attended a talk that presented new research on brain fitness, the biggest concern of many baby boomers.
Delivered by the past president of the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry, this talk outlined emerging research on how clients in their 50s and 60s can reduce the risk of Alzheimers as they age. This talk also provided a link to a free site that allows people 50 to 79 to test their memory and determine if they should be worried about occasional difficulty retrieving information.
The biggest concern for boomers
At a recent roundtable discussion with top advisors, I asked attendees to write down the biggest fear of clients in their 50s, 60s and 70s. The initial answers revolved around running out of money, whether due to unexpected health issues, inflation or the need to support parents or children.
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Then we came to a woman who manages $500 million for 150 households. “For my clients, the biggest issue has nothing to do with money,” she said. “The nightmare scenario for my clients is developing Alzheimers and becoming a burden on their spouse, and especially on their children.”
That sparked a vigorous exchange in which advisors talked about their encounters with clients suffering from dementia and the toll that took on their families. The advisors universally agreed that running into health problems was their clients’ biggest concern – with dementia at the top of the list.
The Alzheimers epidemic
Dr. William Reichman is CEO of Baycrest Health Sciences, a global leader in research on aging. He began by talking about how Alzheimers is becoming the number one concern for baby boomers in their 50s and 60s – what cancer was for their grandparents and what heart disease was for their parents.
Alzheimers is the number one cause of dementia, with no prevention or cure. This has huge implications both at an individual and a societal level. Driven by an aging demographic, in the past 10 years the number of patients suffering from Alzheimers has increased by almost 40%, from 25 million to 35 million. But in the period ahead, experts at UCLA estimate an aging population and late diagnosis mean that Alzheimers risks becoming a full-blown public health crisis with a projection of over 100 million patients by 2050.
Dr. Ron Brookmeyer leads a team at UCLA that studies Alzheimers. They have found that the rate of being diagnosed with Alzheimers in older populations doubles every five years. Today the probability of a diagnoses at age 77 is 1%, but by 82 it is 2% and by 87 it is 4%.