Few things are as heartbreaking as receiving the news that a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It can be an overwhelming moment. Naturally, you’ll want to find the best care for your loved one, except that might be harder than you thought.
The Rising Costs of Alzheimer’s Care
Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that can last years or, in some cases, decades. This is why it is vital to know the costs and plan ahead. Early stages of the disease may not require that much care and will be more cost-efficient. You can hire an at-home health aide for around $20 an hour or use an adult day care, which, on average, run approximately $69 an hour and may not need to be used all the time.
As the disease progressives, your loved one may require 24-hour care. In these situations, if another family member cannot stay at home with them, you may consider an assisted living situation or a nursing home, which can cost around $3,750 per month. Be sure to include the cost of doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, and medical equipment as you calculate your budget.
Make It a Family Discussion
This can be an incredibly difficult time for everyone. As hard as it may be, you should all sit down to discuss the type of care you can afford and how you will be able to cover. As much as 60 percent of costs fall on the family. Is someone willing to take off work and become a primary caregiver? Are there any large assets such as a house that can be sold to help cover costs? Include your loved one in this conversation. What you think is best may not be what they want. Talk to them about the type of care they want and discuss any end of life arrangement wishes they have. You want them to be comfortable with all the decisions you are making.
What Medicare Does and Doesn’t Cover
Most seniors rely on Medicare as they age. During the diagnosis stage, it will cover 80 percent of costs after you meet your deductible for doctor’s visits and prescription drugs. This even includes any counseling and therapy the patient may want after they are diagnosed.
However, when it comes to long-term care, you will most likely need alternative ways of covering costs. According to Caring.com, Medicare will only cover the first 100 days of a nursing home stay, and even then not the full cost. Take advantage of Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplements to help cover costs.
What about Medicaid?
Medicaid is a great option for low-income patients, but qualifying for aid means you essentially have to run out of money. For those seeking full cost coverage for long-term care, this can be a great option. Keep in mind however that it might not be the best care you can get. Many nursing homes do not even accept Medicaid, and those that do often only have a limited number of spots for Medicaid patients.
Alternate Ways of Funding
If you are scrapping for money, try looking into some alternative forms of funding. Veterans Organizations can be a great resource for vets. Forbes also recommends selling off life insurance or supplementing costs through long-term care insurance or annuities.
Enjoy Your Time Together
Alzheimer’s disease is hard on the whole family. While you may be stressed about finding the right type of care for your loved one, keep in mind that often the best thing you can do is spend time with them. They will appreciate it more than you know.
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