retirement planning

What Concerns Are There When a Spouse in an International Marriage Living in Japan Develops Dementia?

As the partners in an international marriage between a Japanese national and a foreign national grow older, they naturally have deeper concerns about what will happen to them in their old age than a typical Japanese couple does.

If you live in Japan and one person in the marriage suffers from dementia, there are various public programs that a person with dementia will be able to use, including various subsidies and benefits. However, before explaining these programs, we would first like to explore the challenges that those with dementia may face.

Challenges in Daily Life

As dementia progresses, memory and the ability to understand is likely to deteriorate. If it becomes difficult for a person with dementia to take care of his or her daily needs by themselves, it may be necessary to arrange for nursing caregiver services or a move into a senior citizen care facility in order to receive the care that is needed.

For example, if a Japanese spouse develops dementia, a family member will have to decide what kind of nursing caregiver (if any) to use and what kind of senior citizens’care facility (if any) the Japanese spouse should enter, as well as related details. It may be difficult for you to make decisions about these and related matters. This is not necessarily because you are a foreign nationa; in fact, it is equally difficult for a Japanese person to make these decisions since they are complex and most people do not have a general familiarity with these issues until they need to grapple with them.

Challenges with Money Management

A person with dementia may be able to manage his or her money and financial assets up to certain point in the early stages. However, as the dementia progresses, a person with dementia may have difficulty managing assets on his or her own. This could result in a situation akin to “assets being frozen.

For example, even if a person with dementia wants to withdraw a large sum of money all at one time from a bank to enter a senior citizens’ care facility, his or her spouse or children may not be able withdraw the money from the bank for that purpose. In addition, insurance companies may not process claims for insurance benefits for those with dementia even when they enter the hospital if the claims are made by the spouse or children of the person with dementia.

If the person with dementia reaches the point where he or she is unable to deal with their financial obligations in a timely manner, a petition may be filed with the family court to have an adult guardian appointed. However, who will be appointed as the adult guardian is unclear. This will be decided by the court. In other words, a total stranger could become involved in the life of the person with dementia and would have control over his or her assets.
As you can see, dementia can cause a host of problems. Before this happens, it is advisable to decide how to manage and dispose of your assets and talk with your family about your care in your old age. That way, you will be able to live your with the kind of care that you want.

-retirement planning