Alzheimer’s disease affects as many as 5.3 million people in the United States; which means it affects as many as 5.3 million families, because Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects everybody it touches—husbands, wives, children and grandchildren—they all bear witness to their loved one’s slow demise.
Sadly, emotional stress is not the only stress that accompanies Alzheimer’s disease; those loved ones serving as caretakers may carry a huge amount of financial stress as well. According to this article by Denise Bonilla the cost of caring for an Alzheimer’s patient can run anywhere from $64 a day to $77,380 a year, and because Alzheimer’s disease can be such a long-lasting disease (a person can suffer from Alzheimer’s for up to 20 years) the costs of care can end up being astronomical. It’s obvious that people can’t do it alone.
Some of the options to help Alzheimer’s patients pay for medical expenses are long-term care insurance or Medicaid (Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of long-term care). Long-term care insurance can be very helpful… if you’ve thought ahead and purchased the policy before you or your spouse began suffering from symptoms of Alzheimer’s. As for the government programs, those also can be helpful… if you fall in the right category and know how to navigate the complex system.
Unfortunately, learning how to navigate the system is not something you can do in an hour or two. Because your experience will depend on a number of unique factors we can’t give you an easy set of instructions to follow. The best advice we can give is to say that right now, the best way to navigate the Medicaid/Medi-Cal system is to find someone who knows the system to assist you. Most estate planning and elder law attorneys help their clients with these issues on a regular basis. If you want to ensure that you and your loved ones will be cared for no matter what the future may bring, don’t be afraid to ask your attorney for help.