Eighty-four percent of financial advisers have had a client who either themselves or whose family member has suffered from Alzheimer’s, and they are looking for resources to help those clients, Fidelity Investments found in a survey of 350 advisers.

In addition, 96% of advisers do not feel fully prepared to assist clients with Alzheimer’s, and 50% do not know how to broach the subject when dealing with a client who they suspect may be suffering from the disease.

Fidelity estimates that a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2009 will need $240,000 to cover medical expenses, and that if one spouse is striken with a debilitating disease such as Alzheimer’s, those costs rise to $495,000. Should both the husband and the wife be hit with a serious disease, the costs can be even higher.

“With an aging client base and more than 10 million Baby Boomers projected to develop Alzheimer’s in their lifetime, if advisers haven’t already been impacted by the disease in their practices, the odds are they soon will be,” said Gail Grahm, executive vice president at Fidelity. “It’s encouraging that advisers are looking for education and resources to help them better prepare clients financially for the costs associated with illnesses such as Alzheimer’s.”

The top three resources that advisers say they would like to be able to help clients affected by Alzheimer’s are: best practice guidelines, greater understanding of insurance and legal advice.

Fifty-four percent of advisers said their clients have expressed increasing demand over the past three years for insurance or protection products. Eighty percent of advisers said they handle such products in-house, with only 20% referring this business elsewhere.

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