Why You Should Be Thinking Ahead About the Costs of Alzheimer’s Care
We never want to think of ourselves or a loved one being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. However, the fact is that over 5 million Americans are living with this devastating illness. That means 5 million individuals and families are looking for ways to pay for care and not really knowing where to start. If you are one of them, here are some key care facts that can help you better prepare for the costs of care and give yourself and loved ones some peace of mind.
How Planning Ahead Can Help
If you are caught off guard by the costs of Alzheimer's care, it can be difficult to find ways to pay. Planning for long-term care is the most effective way to make sure your care will be covered, and it’s best to begin planning as soon as possible. This way, you can check in with health insurance to see what kind of care may be available and look into other ways to cover the costs. You may want to talk to a family member or loved one to see if they would be willing to provide the care you would need in the future. Making plans ahead of time is especially important for those who are at risk for Alzheimer's and dementia but have not been diagnosed yet.
What to Expect in Terms of Care
Specialty care for those with Alzheimer's, also known as memory care, can be very different from other forms of long-term care. First of all, this kind of specialized care tends to be more expensive but it also offers more extensive, comprehensive care that can benefit Alzheimer’s patients. You should do your own research to see if there are memory care options in your area and if they are a good fit. Aside from memory care, there are also other common options for Alzheimer’s care. In the early stages, in-home care may be the best option and can offer benefits to patients. In the later stages, however, a skilled nursing home or assisted living home is likely to be needed, so be prepared for the costs of care. Even adult daycare can run over $18,000 a year, which can be a significant percentage of retirement or regular income.
Ways to Find Affordable Help
Despite the demands of Alzheimer’s care, there are ways to save on care without sacrificing compassion and quality. You can try reaching out to local Alzheimer’s organizations for suggestions for affordable memory care and assisted living in your area. If possible, providing care at home is the most affordable form of long-term care. Just be sure that the home is set up for a person with Alzheimer’s, with proper safety and security features in place to prevent injuries and wandering. You may also need to look for in-home healthcare assistants to make life a little more manageable. To make home care more affordable, try sticking to hiring part-time help or look to local agencies to find the best rates on the best in-home Alzheimer’s care.
How to Pay for Care and Costs
Long-term care costs can really add up, especially when that care is for Alzheimer’s. If you can plan ahead, you will have many more options to cover the costs of care. Long-term care insurance may be a good option if you or a loved one is at risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s; if you look into it early enough, you are likely to pay lower monthly premiums. Many people end up using other options, such as adjusting their savings plans or using their home for long-term care. Government benefits, such as Medicaid and VA benefits, may pay for some level of care, but remember that Medicare does not offer any long-term care coverage.
Alzheimer’s is a serious condition that requires serious, compassionate care. You can make sure that you or your loved ones receive the care necessary to maintain quality of life by planning ahead to pay for the costs of care. It’s a small step that can make a major difference during in the difficult days that are ahead.
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June is the co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers, which offers support for family members and friends who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their loved ones. She is author of the upcoming book, The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers.