Practical Advice on How to Pay for Alzheimer’s Care

*This guest blog was written and submitted by Lydia Chan from Alzheimer’s Caregiver.*

Tending to your loved ones is a priority. When someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, figuring out how to meet health-related needs and pay for care can seem overwhelming. Here is practical advice for finding good care and managing the costs.

Finding the best care.  Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. Those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease can often be tended by loved ones initially, but as Everyday Health points out, when the condition worsens this often becomes impossible. While your loved one is still able, you should have a conversation about end-of-life decisions, as this could weigh into future care-related decisions.

Care providers and choices. Care options vary greatly, and you should investigate your selections thoroughly. Be prepared to visit facilities, ask questions and research your decision. Organize your thoughts in advance since things can become confusing. To narrow down care options, one idea is to list the pros and cons of each contender. Here are the basics:

  • Nursing home facilities. These facilities provide trained medical care day and night. 
  • Assisted living facilities. These are residential facilities with a community setting.  They typically provide trained medical personnel on staff, but skilled care is not provided 24/7.
  • Memory care units. Some residential facilities offer sections dedicated to those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. 
  • Adult day care. This is a good option for those who are providing in-home care but cannot be with their loved one day and night. Adult day care facilities offer the opportunity for those with Alzheimer’s to socialize, receive therapy, medical care and to participate in activities. 
  • In-home caregivers.  Many people tend to their loved ones in their own homes. There is also the option of hiring an in-home caregiver service. The more highly skilled the provider is, the higher the hourly rate. 

Covering costs. Depending on your personal situation, you have a variety of options for covering the costs associated with Alzheimer’s disease:

Life insurance.  Under some circumstances, life insurance policies can be sold for a cash payout in what is termed a “life settlement.” 

Long-term care insurance is insurance specifically oriented toward providing coverage for long-term care, regardless of where that care is provided. It helps to preserve lifestyle arrangements to both the Alzheimer’s patient and family members. Policies are best purchased while young, since premiums rise with age and underwriting is typically quite strict.

Short-term care insurance. As Insurance.com explains, short-term care insurance is less expensive than long-term care insurance. Short-term care insurance also will pay expenses in conjunction with Medicare. 

Medicare provides important assistance to seniors, but many people are disappointed to discover it provides minimal help to those with Alzheimer’s. Long-term care is not usually covered after the first 100 days, and there is no special assistance for in-home care. Only normal medical expenses are covered, not custodial concerns such as help with eating, bathing and running errands. 

Medicaid helps cover long-term care costs but only after individuals meet strict financial requirements. 

Grants.  There are grants available through Hilarity For Charity and Home Instead Senior Care specifically designed to meet the needs of those caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s. Local government organizations and charities are also a potential resource.

Expenses and mapping a plan.  Making a plan to cover long-term care is vital.  Not only do you face the future with a map, you also can have peace of mind for meeting needs.  Note some statistics show that in 2012, the national average for a private room in a nursing home was $83,950 per year, and if someone required just 40 hours of in-home care, the average was $56,717.  One doesn’t need to do much calculating to recognize how heavily that can impact a budget.  Once you or someone you love is diagnosed, make every effort to establish your plan. With a plan in place, you and your loved ones can better face the future.