Cost of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease affects as many as 5.8 million people in the United States; which means it affects as many as 5.8 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.
Watching this process can be emotionally draining, especially after your loved one doesn’t know who you are. That is only one of the major problems from this disease. The second, and to some, the most important is the financial drain which can be astronomical. Your estate planning and trusted advisors can help.
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. One may not be able to physically care for someone with Alzheimer’s during the entire course of the disease.
If you cannot physically or emotionally give day to day care to your loved one, you must look at the outside resources available in your area. There is adult day care, overnight care, agencies which provide in-home care and ultimately, permanent memory care. Monthly cost of memory care can run over $8,000 per month .
There is another aspect to this disease that many do not consider. That problem is simply the fact that Alzheimer’s disease can be such a long-lasting disease because a person can suffer for up to 20 years. The cost of Alzheimer’s can end up being sky-high. The simple math is $8,000 month means $96,000 per year, for 20 years adds up to $1,920, 000. This amount does not take into account increases for inflation. It’s obvious that people can’t do it alone.
Navigating the 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 federal system, and the specific government agency in your state, is to find someone who knows the system like Dementia Care Central.
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).
Medicaid is a state-specific program for persons with limited and assets. Unfortunately, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease does not make a person automatically eligible for Medicaid assistance. However, given that most individuals with Alzheimer’s / dementia have very limited or no ability to work and therefore have limited income, it is a good place to see if the individual can qualify for benefits.
The good news is that the VA has multiple programs which can provide for individuals and their spouses who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other dementia. Also, the Alzheimer’s disease does not need to be related to their military service. Therefore, veterans and their spouses who develop Alzheimer’s or dementia for any reason may find some type of financial assistance for their care from the Veteran’s Administration. However, the VA will not generally provide for all of the care.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Like everything else in life, it is a great idea to plan for Alzheimer’s or dementia years before a diagnosis. There is a type of insurance which can help to pay these costs. This insurance is called long-term care insurance, and it can be very helpful. There is a catch. Long term care insurance must be purchased when you are relatively young and healthy.
If you are already ill, this type of insurance may not be available, or may be cost prohibitive. Many financial advisors who specialize in long term care insurance, may have some creative ways to provide these benefits with “hybrid” products. If you have the resources, long term care insurance, can pay for most of the costs of memory care.
Some policies provide benefits at home as well as in an Alzheimer’s or memory care facility. Remember, the policy can only be purchased before you or your spouse begin suffering from symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
Ask for Help
If you are confused, so are most people. But there is help. Most estate planning and elder law attorneys advise 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, ask for help. Do you a qualified attorney who can help you?