An Overview Of Dementia Care Costs
As of 2018, an estimated 5.7 million Americans live with Alzheimers, dementia, and other memory disorders, and 1 in 10 seniors age 65+ has Alzheimer’s dementia. Depending on how advanced the disease, your loved one may require anything from Post-it note reminders on the walls, to regular in-home care, to 24-hour supervision, to skilled care at a nursing home.
Screenshot via Phrma.org
And therein lies the lions share of dementia care costs: in the actual care. Because while many diseases require expensive drugs, monitoring, tests, and other pricey technology, dementia care most often boils down to sheer time: someone must pay for that 24/7 care, and it doesnt come cheap. In fact, as of 2018, Alzheimers and dementia care in the U.S. will cost an estimated $277 billion more than the entire economyof Finland.
According to a 2015 study, the average cost of dementia care was $287,038, compared to $175,136 and $173,383 . And in 2018, the Alzheimers Association estimates the lifetime cost of Alzheimers and dementia care at a staggering $341,840.
Screenshot via Alz.org
Whats more, the average out-of-pocket healthcare costs for dementia patients in 2015 was $61,522 more than 80 percent higher than the out-of-pocket costs to treat heart disease and cancer. Why? Because common dementia costs, such as hiring caregivers to help patients complete everyday activities is not covered by Medicare.
Dementia Care Levels & Their Associated Costs
Screenshot via NCBI-NIH
Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Continuing care retirement communities are designed to offer a tiered approach to care. Individuals who are able to live somewhat independently are allowed that independence.
As their condition deteriorates, they are moved to higher-care levels of the facility. These services typically arent paid for by Medicaid, and often, individuals who wish to live in a continuing care retirement center must move in when they are still able to live independently in order to ensure a place when they need higher levels of care.
Another benefit of this type of setting is that the spouse of the dementia patient can join the patient in the CCRC.
Elderly Care At Home: What Are The Costs
Its a huge worry when our loved ones become unable to cope on their own. Whether you live nearby or at the other end of the country, many people experience a feeling of helplessness that they are unable to provide the level of support that a relative requires, along with a desire to help to find an appropriate solution to the problem.
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Money Matters: How To Help A Person With Dementia
Problems managing money may be one of the first noticeable signs of dementia. To provide support, while also respecting the persons independence, a family member or trusted friend can help:
- Watch for signs of money problems Trouble paying for a purchase or a pile of unopened bills may indicate money issues. Start a conversation about available services to help older adults with their expenses. Giving the person small amounts of cash to have on hand and limiting credit cards may help manage spending.
- Set up automated bill payments Arrange for utilities, mortgage, rent, or other expenses to be paid through automatic deductions from a bank account. This will make sure that bills are paid correctly and on time.
- Protect against scams or fraud To lower the risk of telemarketing schemes, help place the persons phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. Consider registering the person for fraud alerts through their bank, credit card company, a national credit bureau or other credit monitoring service. Learn more about common scams and frauds.
As the disease progresses, a family member or trustee can take additional steps to:
Ways To Pay For Memory Care
To cover these costs, it helps to form a plan with the input of other family members as well as professionals. Remember that someone with Alzheimers can live for many years. Consulting an elder-law attorney or financial planner familiar with eldercare as you map a plan can save you money in the end.
Obvious sources of funds to explore include the persons personal savings, stocks, bonds, other investments, and pensions. Dont overlook the liquidation of jewelry, artwork, antiques, collections, or cars, all of which might benefit the owner more as cash than as stuff. Many families trade the prospect of heirlooms and inheritance for equally valuable peace of mind now.
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Trying to decide which possessions or assets to sell and how and when to sell them is often a stressful process, and if you arent an expert in the field, you may not maximize the assets value. Along with an eldercare lawyer, an experienced senior move manager can advise and assist with liquidating assets.
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How To Use Disability Benefits To Pay For Memory Care
When someone receives a diagnosis of dementia, its a stressful time for both the patient and their loved ones. While youll likely have many questions about the condition, one of the biggest concerns caregivers have is how the necessary care will be paid for. Long term medical care can get expensive fast and put a strain on the finances of loved ones, but for patients that qualify, disability insurance is available to help offset the cost of care.
Different Types Of Dementia Care Explained
There isnt a one-size-fits-all type of care for dementia patients. There are many different versions of care that can be given depending on whether a person is in a nursing home, assisted, living, living independently, or wants to age in place at home. Each type of care comes with its own benefits and downfallsand price tag.
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Pay Extra To Protect Your Investment:
Long-term care insurance is expensive, and you may never use it. Do you want all of the money you spent on premiums to just be thrown away if you reach 92 years old and dont need the coverage anymore?
Luckily, most insurance providers offer Return on Premium features. These usually cost extra, but they ensure that you can get a portion, or all, of the money youve spent on premiums back upon canceling your insurance policy. This can leave your next-of-kin with a sizeable inheritance if you time it right.
Tips For Managing Alzheimers Care Costs: The Cost Of Alzheimers Care Financial Options Strategies For Managing The Cost Of Alzheimers Care And More
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimers disease can be challenging, not only emotionally but also financially. As the costs of assisted living, nursing home care, and memory care continue to rise, many families struggle with managing the financial aspect of care. More families are opting to keep their loved ones at home, but these family caregivers often find that they need to cut back on their hours at work or stop working altogether in order to provide the care their loved one needs.
Because Alzheimers disease is a progressive disease, a person diagnosed with Alzheimers disease may live for several years as many as 20 years, in some cases. As the disease progresses, however, a person with Alzheimers disease will gradually require more care and assistance with activities of daily living , or routine daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and ambulation.
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Savings Pensions Or Loans
If your loved one needs to pay for their care privately, they may be able to use their savings or a pension to fund Alzheimers care in their own home. If more money is needed you may wish to take out a loan from a building society or bank. In the short term, this may be useful so that your loved one can continue to live independently in their own environment while you consider other longer-term options for funding.
Seek Personal Advice About Paying For Memory Care
You may be able to gather new ideas on how to pay for memory care, or perhaps a new perspective, by speaking with others:
- Talk to family. Speak to family or close friends to gather ideas, or ask if theyd be willing to contribute to potential costs.
- Speak with a senior living expert. Our Senior Living Advisors can help your family explore affordable memory care options based on your personal financial situation.
- Contact an elder care attorney. It can save money in the long run to discuss your situation with an elder care attorney that specializes in senior matters and finances. This can be especially helpful if you believe you may need to fund senior living via Medicaid either now or in the future.
- Consult a financial advisor.Find fee-only national advisors via the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. This resource allows you to pay someone hourly or on an ongoing basis for personalized assistance. Another common resource for financial advice is a certified financial planner.
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Senior Life Insurance Policies
Some senior life insurance policies can be exchanged for Alzheimers care. Certain life insurance policies may be sold for a lump sum, which allows you to receive monthly payments. Some life insurance policies can also be converted into months or years at a residential care facility.
If you have a policy that builds cash value inside it, which basically means that it has a savings account inside of it, then an individual may be able to do a couple of different things to use those resources for long-term care, says Ash.
If you decide you no longer want the death benefit, you could cash out, or cancel, the policy and use the money to pay for memory care. Another option may be to take out a policy loan, says Ash. You use some money to pay for long-term care, but if its not all used, the rest remains a death benefit for beneficiaries. Be sure to talk with the insurance company or their agent about possible impacts to the policy, so you make an informed decision about whether or not this is a good idea for you.
A life insurance, long-term care hybrid policy is becoming more and more popular, says Ash. Many people have bought policies that have a death benefit as well as long-term care features.
If you have a life insurance policy and need ways to pay for memory care, check on the specific details with your insurance company. Many have special provisions that may help you afford memory care.
Retirement Savings Without Penalties
Does your loved one have an IRA or pension plan? These resources can be helpful even if a person hasnt reached retirement age. A Roth IRA or Roth 401 includes dollars that have been put away by the owner. These monetary vehicles for long-term care expenses may be the bulk of what someone uses to pay for long-term care expenses, and theyre typically tax free to pull out as long as you play by certain IRS rules, says Ash.
Two criteria must generally be met in order to remove funds from a Roth IRA account without paying taxes:
One benefit of your retirement account is that these funds are typically liquid and relatively easy to obtain. You may also be able to remove them year by year, so if there are tax consequences they may be mitigated, says Ash. Depending on your care needs and financial situation, you may also be able to deduct long-term care costs from your taxes.
If you have a big deduction for medical expenses, which long-term care often is, then you might be able to offset those dynamics, says Ash. Using IRA dollars for long-term care isnt always a bad thing to do sometimes it can be a good source.
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Paying For Alzheimers Care Overview
Alzheimers disease, Lewy Body dementia, Frontotemporal dementia , and other related memory disorders and dementia affect over 5.5 million aging Americans. Depending on the stage of these diseases, individuals can require 24-hour supervision or care. This means each year in the U.S., there are billions of hours spent caring for individuals with these conditions. While the vast majority of that care is provided by friends and family members, what happens when those caregivers are not available? Who pays for Alzheimers care? Fortunately, there are many programs that provide financial assistance, respite care, and other forms of aid to help families and caregivers.
The worldwide cost of dementia care is approximately 1 trillion U.S. dollars. If dementia care were a country, it would be the worlds 17th largest economy.
The Average Cost Of Dementia Care For The Household
The majority of live in dementia care costs is falling on informal carers, and in general on the dementia sufferers and their families.
The ones that suffer from the condition spend £100,000 on average on the care. There is virtually no limit on what someone can spend, as there is no cap on dementia spendings. Due to the current means-testing, the people affected by dementia have to spend everything they have on care, including selling their property to be able to pay for the care home.
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Types And Costs Of Alzheimers Care
Prior to a discussion of the financial resources available to assist individuals stricken with Alzheimers, it is helpful to understand the different types of Alzheimers and dementia care, how they differ from regular home care or assisted living, and what these services typically cost. The following information is current for year 2019.
Alzheimers Care at Home
Most home care providers do not charge higher fees for individuals with Alzheimers. Rather, they have a flat rate for home care services and a slightly higher rate for home health care services. Depending on ones state, as of 2019, this figure ranges from $16 to $28 / hour with a national average of $21 / hour for home care services. Home health care is just slightly higher ranging from $16 to $30 / hour and a national average of $21. See each states average home care costs.
the tendency for individuals with dementia to leave the home and become lost presents a challenge for Alzheimers caregiving at home. In residential care, security prevents wandering. But until fairly recently, private residences did not have this option. Now there are internet / smartphone products for real-time location monitoring which can reduce wandering and the cost of caring for loved ones at home. Learn more.
Alzheimers Care in Senior Living / Assisted Living Residences
Alzheimers Care in Nursing Homes
Alzheimers Care at Adult Day Care Centers
Cost of Alzheimers Medications
Help Your Loved One Live Comfortably
Planning Alzheimers and dementia care for your loved one can be an emotional process. Besides grants and government aid, crowdfunding can lessen the financial burden on families. Most importantly, crowdfunding can provide your loved one with a better quality of life. Its never too early to secure care for your loved one, so if youre thinking of starting a fundraiser, now is a good time.
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Will Someone Who Has Dementia Qualify For Continuing Healthcare Funding
This is a question many thousands of families are asking. Continuing healthcare funding is free and provided by the NHS, but confusingly, some people with dementia are granted this funding for their care fees and others are not. Lets start with how continuing healthcare itself is explained and defined by the Department of Health: Care provided over an extended period of time, to a person aged 18 or over to meet physical or mental health needs that have arisen as a result of disability, accident or illness.
The controversy and confusion arises in this area around the definition of health needs. While health needs are funded through the NHS, if needs are assessed as being primarily social needs, they will not receive NHS funding. When someone has dementia, their needs may be described as primarily social, rather than health and they would therefore not qualify for continuing healthcare funding.
Unfortunately, there is widespread variation in terms of whether people with dementia qualify for this funding and charities like the Alzheimers Society believe many people unfairly miss out on funding.
Alzheimers Care In Assisted Living Facilities
Sometimes a loved one with dementia struggles with day-to-day tasks but doesn’t require regular medical care. Assisted living communities offering memory care provide the safety, support and assistance your loved one needs while giving them the freedom to remain as independent as possible.
Some of the services and amenities that may be offered by a memory care unit at an assisted living facility include:
- Housing: Residences can range from shared rooms to private suites and apartments.
- Dining: Residents of assisted living facilities are often provided with three meals a day and snacks.
- Personal care: Assistance with ADLs such as bathing, showering, toileting, dressing, eating and transfers is generally provided. Other forms of assistance, like housekeeping, laundry service, and medication and meal reminders, may also be available.
- Activities: On-site recreation programs are generally available, and some facilities may even offer off-site excursions. Activities can include games, classes and social gatherings.
- Limited medical care: Medical care varies depending upon the facility and can range from full medical services to basic health care, such as blood pressure and temperature checks.
- Security: Memory care units at assisted living facilities often have secure entrances and exits to prevent wandering.
- Trained staff: Employees at these communities should have experience and training in how to handle behaviors unique to people with dementia.
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Where Can I Get Help With Legal And Financial Planning
Health care providers cannot act as legal or financial advisers, but they can encourage planning discussions between patients and their families. Doctors can also guide patients, families, the care team, attorneys, and judges regarding the patient’s ability to make decisions. Discussing advance care planning decisions with a doctor is free through Medicare during the annual wellness visit. Private health insurance may also cover these discussions.
An elder law attorney helps older adults and their families interpret state laws, plan how wishes will be carried out, understand financial options, and learn how to preserve financial assets.
Its a good idea to ask about a lawyers fees before making an appointment. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the American Bar Association can help families find qualified attorneys. Also, a local bar association can help identify free legal aid options. See the resources at the end of this article for more information.
Geriatric care managers are trained social workers or nurses who can help people with dementia and their families. Read more about geriatric care managers.