Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most aggressive forms of dementia and is most common in those over the age of 60. It is progressive and incurable. But there are ways to ease the burden, and it starts with determining which care scenario is right for you, your family, and your stricken loved one. It’s crucial that you consider your options and how to pay for them.
According to Alzheimers.net, there are many different ways to provide nurturing care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. These include:
Home care – family. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease at home is a wonderful option in its early stages. Here, they will have access to familiar sights and sounds as well as their own bed and family. However, hazards around the home must be managed. This may include adding additional lighting to stairways and setting the hot water heater to 120 degrees or less.
Formal home care. When family is not enough, home health services may be required to provide skilled nursing care and companionship for an Alzheimer’s patient. Caregivers may also be available to run personal errands and help with household chores.
Daytime assistance (adult day care). Much like a child care center, these facilities are staffed with professionals who will ensure your loved one's daily needs (food, recreation, and safety) are taken care of while you continue to support your own family.
Assisted living. Assisted living campuses can help people who do not need skilled care, but would benefit from support services, such as housekeeping and transportation.
Nursing home. Nursing homes, also called skilled nursing care facilities, provide around-the-clock care from licensed medical professionals. These campuses provide living accommodations and can handle special nutritional and health care needs.
Memory care. More in-depth care is provided at a memory, or Alzheimer’s special care, unit. These are often located in a dedicated wing of a skilled nursing facility and cater specifically to people with late-stage Alzheimer’s. The staff here has received specialized training and is well-versed in safety measures.
The cost of these care options ranges from free (volunteer family labor) to more than $80,000 per year for nursing care. Senior Advisor explains that there is no one specific answer to the question of which is the best type of care. It is an individual decision that must be based on a number of factors, including the patient’s level of deterioration and personal finances.
Funding special care
Reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage is a financial product that allows homeowners over the age of 62 to leverage the equity in their primary residence. Monies acquired via reverse mortgage may be used to pay for assisted living and skilled nursing care. While reverse mortgage lenders have often been viewed as predatory, these types of financial products can be a real value to seniors in a cash crunch. With a little research, it’s not difficult to find a reputable lender. Check out consumersadvocate.org for a list of the best reverse mortgage companies.
Medicare. Dementia Care Central explains that Medicare offers limited benefits, although supplemental coverage is available that can make paying for Alzheimer’s care less of a burden. Medicare will cover annual wellness visits, health risk assessments, diagnostic testing, and mental health services including depression screening. Medicare will also cover caregiver training, some home health services, and hospice care. Medicare does not pay for nursing home care specifically for Alzheimer’s disease.
Private savings. Stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, and personal savings may be used to pay for Alzheimer’s care. Forbes notes that Medicaid will only go into effect once the Alzheimer’s patient’s assets drop below $2,000.
If you or a loved one wind up suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, the need for care is inevitable. Whether that care is provided by family members or in a professional setting is a matter of personal choice. Regardless of which option you choose, the sooner you figure out how you will pay for services, the better off you’ll be.