Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to Pay for Alzheimer's Care

Caring for an individual with Alzheimer's is expensive, be it financially, emotionally or at a cost to one's free time. Being a caregiver or even simply managing others to provide care is labor intensive. Additional stress comes from taking on household responsibilities that were formally shared. How does one pay for Alzheimer's or dementia care and how is that different from paying for other forms of home care or assisted living? Read on or use our Alzheimer's Financial Assistance Locator.

There are two elements unique to Alzheimer's disease or dementia that can make caring for loved ones more challenging and therefore more expensive. Many individuals that require home care do so for physical limitations. They require physical assistance with their activities of daily living however they are generally mentally capable of caring for themselves. Individuals with Alzheimer's often have periods of confusion mixed with relatively normal periods. However those periods are unpredictable which results in a need for near constant supervision to prevent individuals from wandering or harming themselves.

The second factor that makes caring for Alzheimer's more difficult is the progressive nature of the disease. Many individuals can benefit from the development of a daily routine. However, due to the progressive nature of condition, maintaining that routine can require ever increasing amounts of attention and care and eventually abilities decline to such an extent that the development of a new routine is necessary. Again, this results in increasing care costs.

Paying for Alzheimer's care is different from other forms of care mainly due to how prevalent Alzheimer's has become; because the condition is so widespread there are additional options available to families and caregivers that are not available to those who require home care or senior living for other reasons. Many states, for example, have recognized that one way to keep Alzheimer's care costs down is to provide assistance, financial and otherwise, to family members to help them care for their loved ones at home. To that end, they have developed programs whose eligibility criteria is solely that an individual be diagnosed with Alzheimer's or related condition. This differs from other state-based care assistance programs which almost always have income and asset limitations as an eligibility requirement.

In addition, again due to the fact that today over 5 million Americans have the disease, the non-profit sector supporting Alzheimer's patients is very well established compared to non-profits and foundations that are targeted to assist less widespread conditions. There are two major, national organizations with regional chapters as well as countless local organizations. These non-profits offer reduced rate respite care services, caregiver training and many other forms of support including direct financial assistance.

We've recently added significant new content to our website regarding paying for Alzheimer's care. We suggest families take the first step of understanding Medicare's Alzheimer's care benefits. Once they have an understanding of what insurance will and will not pay for, they can search our database for programs that provide financial assistance for Alzheimer's care.