Many families are struggling with paying for dementia care. The rate of dementia diagnoses is on the rise and the likelihood of being touched by a form of dementia, Alzheimer’s, Frontal Temporal Dementia (FTD), or one of more than 70 other causes of dementia, is a glaring realism. Reports disclose that over 5 million Americans are struggling with a dementia…one-in-three individuals knows someone with dementia. These are daunting numbers and families are finding it increasingly difficult to manage their loved one with dementia. Like most conditions, the beginning stages are manageable, but as the disease progresses and the dementia worsens 24-hour care will be necessary. Certainly, family and friends can help provide care, but caring for someone with a dementia is overwhelming, and eventually professional caregivers will be required. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports Each case of dementia costs $41,000 to $56,000 a year…Researchers project that the total costs of dementia care will more than double by 2040.
So, what types of care are available and who pays for this care? How can a working family juggle their daily responsibilities, care for someone with dementia and absorb the additional expense associated with this care? Unfortunately, there are currently limited financial resources, but one should not discount the resources that are available.
The cost of in-home dementia care ranges from $15 to $27 per hour. Most home care companies do not charge extra for dementia care, but not all caregivers are properly trained to care for an individual with dementia. Be sure to ask what experience the caregivers have and what type of dementia training they receive. You’ll also want to make sure the caregivers are licensed, bonded and insured, as well as being an employee of the homecare company, not an outsourced contractor. For the most part, in-home care is paid privately, as medical insurance; Medicare and Medicaid do not pay for homecare. However, long term care (LTC) insurance policies usually do cover a significant amount of the cost. Unfortunately, too many seniors forget that they have a LTC policy, or they think it only covers care in a facility, so they miss out on the benefits of the policy. Depending on the level of severity, one may be entitled to supportive care through hospice. For information on hospice care visit the Heartland Hospice website.
Assisted Living Communities
Most assisted living communities have secure memory care units or wander guard systems to prevent residents with dementia from wandering off the property. Assisted Living costs start around $3500 per month and increase depending on the level of care needed. Most assisted living communities are private pay. Long term care insurance will cover a portion of the expenses. Depending on your state, and the assisted living community, after two years of private pay, an individual may be eligible for Medicaid benefits which would cover assisted living costs.
Most skilled nursing facilities can provide services for dementia patients, some better than others. Care costs upwards of $6000 per month. Most skilled nursing facilities require shared rooms, and are not the home-like environment you’ll find in an assisted living community. Depending on the circumstances, insurance or Medicaid may fund this care.
Adult Day Care Centers
An adult day center may be an ideal option for those in the early to mid-stages of dementia. Centers provide transportation to and from, meals, medication management and activities. Physical therapy and transportation to and from doctor appointments are also provided through most day centers. Most centers offer half and full day programs, and rates are much more affordable than full-time care ranging from $60 to $120.
There are resources to help pay for dementia care, unfortunately, many are not aware the resources exist let alone the fact that they may be entitled to these resources. For information on a variety of resources including, government assistance, veteran’s benefits, life settlements, reverse mortgages and long term care insurance, visit the Paying For Senior Care website.
As reported on Alzheimers.gov the following resources are available for dementia care:
Medicaid is a state/federal program that pays for long-term care services. The program is administered by each state so eligibility criteria and services may differ from one state to another.
It is important to learn what the rules are in your state. Each state also provides a somewhat different set of services. Nursing homes are always covered but coverage for in-home services varies.
- The National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information provides an overview of the Medicaid program and a link to state-based Medicaid resources.
Programs for Veterans with Alzheimer’s Disease
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Geriatrics and Extended Care resources include an overview of eligibility, and details on home- and community-based services, nursing homes and other residential care.
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers support and resources to caregivers.
- The Family Caregiver Alliance’s FAQ provides answers to individuals who provide caregiving services to veterans.
Private Long-Term Care Insurance
- The National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information has an overview of long-term care options, details on cost, how to buy insurance, and provides information on state partnership programs.