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From Marie Villeza – elderimpact.org
If you’re overwhelmed by the Cost of Alzheimer’s Care, you’re far from alone. There are roughly 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that affects their friends and family members struggling to give them the care they need as the patient struggles with memory loss and confusion.
There is help available, but it comes with a large price tag, as assisted-living costs have risen to more than $3,500 per month on average. Even the less-expensive options require careful planning, and those are only viable in the early stages of the condition. You’re in for a battle, though there are ways to ensure your loved one is looked after well into their golden years.
Research Cost-Effective Options
It’s often possible to save money by exploring home care, though this isn’t always possible during the later stages of the disease. To determine whether it’s cheaper, the researchers at Paying for Senior Care have developed a calculator to put an accurate price on total services based on factors including the number hours of medical and personal assistance required per week — as as well as rent, utilities, and food — all of which can be added up and compared with the cost of assisted-living facilities in your area.
Find the Right Caregivers
To choose a quality home care provider, begin by taking referrals from the patient’s doctor as well as friends and family. Once you’ve found individuals or agencies that offer the services you need, check their qualifications and interview the caregivers to gauge their level of experience and whether they’re the right fit. Another decisive factor is how innovative the caregivers are in their use of communication and monitoring technology. You’ll need to make similar inquiries when choosing an assisted-living or memory care facility.
Tap Savings and Investments
One way to pay for these services is by paying the money yourself out of savings and investments. As for the latter, there are a number of strategies that offer relatively low risk with steady returns over the long term. A writer with CNN Money recommends a balanced and diversified approach by putting your money in a total US stock market index fund and a total US bond market index fund. The payouts could cover retirement expenses as well as the care needed for Alzheimer’s, or at least help fill in the gaps.
Play the Insurance Game
The ideal policy would be long-term care insurance, but this is unavailable if the patient has already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. If that’s not the case, research plans while you have the chance. Other finance options via insurance include living benefits, which are payouts on life insurance while the policy-holder is still alive, with the money made available for medical expenses such as an assisted-living facility or nursing home.
Use Medicare and Related Programs
Medicare only covers skilled care for up to 100 days, but there are means of paying for long-term care. Medicaid covers a wide variety of custodial services but only for those who fall below a certain income threshold. It may help to enroll in Medicare Advantage Plans, which are offered by private insurers and are eligible for those enrolled in Medicare A and B; you can sign up over the phone, online, or via a form provided by a plan sponsor.
Contact Charitable Organizations
There are a number of charities that are ready to step in and offer help in addition to their fundraising activities to fund Alzheimer’s research. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, for example, provides a variety of social services, including support groups for caregivers and family members, while the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation dedicates its resources to physical therapy, brain fitness workshops, and caregiver support in Long Island, New York.
Though the going may be rough, being prepared mentally and financially will make living with Alzheimer’s disease a little easier. There will be time for you to enjoy with your loved one despite their condition, knowing they are getting the care they need.