June Duncan, Guest Blogger
Preparing for the Costs Associated with Alzheimer's
Authored by June Duncan ~
Around the world, Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain function of over 44 million people. Those millions of people typically end up needing some form of long-term care, though many are not prepared for the costs associated with Alzheimer’s care. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with or is at risk for Alzheimer’s, here are some steps you can take to ensure the care needed is paid for.
Estimating Costs of Care
Planning for Alzheimer’s care means trying to figure out just how much that care is going to cost you. The cost of care for Alzheimer’s patients can range from $18,000 to $82,000 depending on the kind of care you need. Adult daycare is the least expensive option, but this is not always a choice if you need more consistent care. The costs of nursing homes are the most expensive, but many nursing homes do accept health insurance, some forms of Medicare/Medicaid, and even long-term care insurance.
Finding Affordable, Quality Care
When you or a loved one is facing a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, you should be concerned with how you will pay for care, but that should not stop you from finding quality care. Many Alzheimer’s patients, especially those in advanced stages, need help from a nursing home or assisted living center. If you find yourself searching for an assisted living center for you or a loved one, there are a few questions you should ask to find one you trust to provide the compassion and care needed. Make sure the center has enough staff to properly care for all patients and that they are experienced in caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s. If home health care is your preference, use these tips to find the care you need.
Understanding Medicare and Medicaid
Many seniors rely on Medicare or Medicaid to cover their healthcare expenses. If you are 65 or older and on Medicare, Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplements can help you cover more of the costs of your medical needs. Medicare Advantage Plans are an alternative way to get your original Medicare Part A and Part B benefits, while Medicare Supplements is a type of insurance coverage that helps you pay for your Medicare Part A and Part B copayments, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs. This can be very helpful in covering some of the additional costs of care for Alzheimer’s. But it’s important to note that Medicare and Medicaid (if you meet income requirements) may not cover all of the expenses associated with any long-term care needs.
Managing Caregiver Needs
If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or know your loved one will be caring for you, it is also helpful to plan for your caregiver expenses. Many caregivers will leave their jobs, take time off, or reduce their work hours to provide care for a loved one. If this is a temporary leave of absence, caregivers may be covered under FMLA if they are providing care to a spouse, parent, or legal guardian. There are also other ways for caregivers to generate income when they cannot work a full-time job, from working freelance to running an online business.
Planning for End-of-Life Expenses
Thinking and talking about the end of life is never an easy thing to do, for ourselves or the people we love. One of the myths of Alzheimer’s is that this illness is not fatal. But the condition destroys brain cells and eventually does lead to the end of life. So, be prepared by planning for final wishes and expenses now. Work with an attorney to draft a will that details your final wishes and financial plans. Talk to loved ones about your choices and make sure final expenses are covered to save your family from further financial stress in an already difficult time.
Caring for those with Alzheimer’s takes compassion, patience, and love. But it also takes some serious planning to make sure the costs of care are completely covered. Work out finances in advance so that you and your loved ones can concentrate on the other elements of care.
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