One in nine people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s disease. It is the only disease among the top 10 causes of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. Preparing for long-term medical care is an important part of your financial planning process. After an Alzheimer’s diagnosis (or other serious illness), your options may be more limited.

Alzheimer’s takes a devastating toll – not only on those with the disease, but on entire families. A recent Alzheimer’s Association study revealed that many care contributors had to cut back on basic necessities — such as food and medical care — for themselves and their families.

“The devastating emotional and physical effects of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease has been well studied,” said the Alzheimer’s Association’s Beth Kallmyer. “However, this new report shows, for the first time, the enormous personal financial sacrifices that millions of care contributors must make every day. These sacrifices jeopardize the financial security of individuals and families, as well as their access to basic needs and health care.”

Many survey respondents had misconceptions about what expenses Medicare and Medicaid cover, leaving them unprepared to handle the tremendous costs associated with the disease. The survey found 13 percent sold personal belongings, such as a car, to help pay for costs related to dementia. Nearly half tapped into savings or retirement funds, and 11 percent cut back on spending for their children’s education.

Long-term care insurance can help preserve your income and investments, while ensuring you and your loved ones will not have to sacrifice quality care or basic life necessities in the event of a long-term illness.