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What Financial Help Is Available For Dementia Sufferers

How To Find Care Options In Your Community

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  • Ask around: A referral from a friend or neighbor is often one of the best ways to find community services.
  • Ask a medical professional: Your healthcare provider can be a resource for community agencies that provide helpful services for your loved one.
  • Look online: Search online for care resources in your local community.
  • Turn to colleges: Community colleges and universities often have online job boards where you can post open positions.
  • Contact the Alzheimer’s Association and the Area Agency on Aging: The Alzheimer’s Association can provide you with a list of local options for care in your community, and also guide you to those that specifically are designed to assist people living with dementia. The Area Agency on Aging may be able to refer you to specific community agencies that you were unaware of or help by locating or coordinating financial coverage for dementia care.

Keep in mind that if you don’t use an agency, you should consider conducting a background check and contact references to reduce the risk of identity theft or elder abuse.

The Alzheimers And Dementia Care Journey

Caring for someone with Alzheimers disease or another type of dementia can be a long, stressful, and intensely emotional journey. But youre not alone. In the United States, there are more than 16 million people caring for someone with dementia, and many millions more around the world. As there is currently no cure for Alzheimers or dementia, it is often your caregiving and support that makes the biggest difference to your loved ones quality of life. That is a remarkable gift.

However, caregiving can also become all-consuming. As your loved ones cognitive, physical, and functional abilities gradually diminish over time, its easy to become overwhelmed, disheartened, and neglect your own health and well-being. The burden of caregiving can put you at increased risk for significant health problems and many dementia caregivers experience depression, high levels of stress, or even burnout. And nearly all Alzheimers or dementia caregivers at some time experience sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and exhaustion. Seeking help and support along the way is not a luxury its a necessity.

Just as each individual with Alzheimers disease or dementia progresses differently, so too can the caregiving experience vary widely from person to person. However, there are strategies that can aid you as a caregiver and help make your caregiving journey as rewarding as it is challenging.

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The Cost Of Memory Care In California

Because of the specialized staff training and resources required to provide high-quality memory care, memory care typically costs more than other types of residential care. On average, memory care will cost 20-30% more than assisted living.

The average cost of assisted living in California is $4,500 per month. This is almost $450 higher than the national monthly average of $4,051, but on par with neighboring Oregon where the cost is $4,499 per month. The average costs in the adjacent states of Arizona and Nevada are considerably lower at $3,750 and $3,400 per month, respectively. Presuming that memory care costs 25% more than assisted living, on average, seniors in California can expect to pay approximately $5,625 per month for residential memory care.

The cost of assisted living varies greatly across California, depending on the specific facility and its location within the state. For example, the average monthly cost in Los Angeles and Sacramento is $4,500, and its somewhat higher in San Francisco and San Diego at $4,750 per month. In San Jose, the price jumps to $5,853, which is the highest monthly cost of assisted living in the state. It is important to remember that these are average costs for assisted living, and memory care may cost an additional $1,000-$2,000 per month.

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What Types Of Help Are Available

There are many different types of care available depending on the level of help or care you need.

  • Day-to-day support can be found through adult day centers and respite services. These options provide short-term care for a person with dementia and allow the caregiver to take a break. Day-to-day support may include supervision, meals delivered to the home, and/or transportation.
  • Long-term care in the home may be provided by unpaid family members and friends or by paid service providers and can involve general care or medical care. Home care services often focus on everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, and ensuring the person with dementia is safe. Home health care services involve licensed medical professionals and require a doctors order.
  • Residential care may become necessary as a person with dementia requires more care and supervision than can be provided at home. Assisted living facilities may be able to provide enough support in the early stages of dementia, whereas nursing homes may be more appropriate for people who are no longer able to live safely at home. Continuing care retirement communities are multi-level care facilities that provide living accommodations and health services. A resident can move between multiple levels of care as needed.
  • Hospice services provide end-of-life care and comfort for people with dementia and their families. These services can be received in the home or at a residential care facility, hospital, or hospice facility.

Caregiving In The Late Stages Of Alzheimers Or Dementia

What is Dementia?

As Alzheimers or another dementia reaches the late stages, your loved one will likely require 24-hour care. They may be unable to walk or handle any personal care, have difficulty eating, be vulnerable to infections, and no longer able to express their needs. Problems with incontinence, mood, hallucinations, and delirium are also very common.

In your role as caregiver, youll likely be combining these new challenges with managing painful feelings of grief and loss and making difficult end-of-life decisions. You may even be experiencing relief that your loved ones long struggle is drawing to an end, or guilt that youve somehow failed as a caregiver. As at the other stages of your caregiving journey, its important to give yourself time to adjust, grieve your losses, and gain acceptance.

Since the caregiving demands are so extensive in the later stages, it may no longer be possible for you to provide the necessary care for your loved one alone. If the patient needs total support for routine activities such as bathing, dressing, or turning, you may not be strong enough to handle them on your own. Or you may feel that youre unable to ease their pain or make them as comfortable youd like. In such cases, you may want to consider moving them to a care facility such as a nursing home, where they can receive high levels of both custodial and medical care.

Connecting in the late stages of care

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Care Options For People Living With Dementia

Angela Underwood’s extensive local, state, and federal healthcare and environmental news coverage includes 911 first-responder compensation policy to the Ciba-Geigy water contamination case in Toms River, NJ. Her additional health-related coverage includes death and dying, skin care, and autism spectrum disorder.

Often, individuals with Alzheimer’s or another kind of dementia hope to stay in their home as long as possible. If you are a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s, you may have the unique challenge of balancing several different roles such as partner, parent, and employee. If the time comes when you need more support, there are several options for getting help with caring for someone with dementia.

Whats Included In Cost Of Dementia Care

There are various costs associated with dementia care, including:

  • Doctors appointments related to diagnosis and treatment
  • Physical therapy or other medical support
  • Prescription medications prescribed to slow the progress of the disease
  • Medical equipment that becomes necessary as the disease progresses
  • Personal care supplies
  • Care provided at home or in a community setting
  • Safety upgrades at home, like handrails

These costs are variable and depend on your individual needs and journey, so you may have more or fewer costs to consider.

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Assistance For Veterans With Alzheimers

While the VA does not have programs specifically for individuals with dementia or Alzheimers, there are benefits available through other VA programs that are available and relevant to veterans with these conditions. A pension benefit known as Aid and Attendance can provide the greatest amount of financial assistance. Up to approximately 2,230 / month in some cases. There is also VA Respite Care and other assistance available through Veterans Directed Home and Community Based Services.

Advance Health Care Directives For People With Dementia

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Advance directives for health care are documents that communicate a persons health care wishes. Advance directives go into effect after the person no longer can make decisions on their own. In most cases, these documents must be prepared while the person is legally able to execute them. Health care directives may include the following:

A durable power of attorney for health care designates a person, sometimes called an agent or proxy, to make health care decisions when the person with dementia can no longer do so.

A living will records a person’s wishes for medical treatment near the end of life or if the person is permanently unconscious and cannot make decisions about emergency treatment.

A do not resuscitate order, or DNR, instructs health care professionals not to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation if a person’s heart stops or if he or she stops breathing. A DNR order is signed by a doctor and put in a person’s medical chart.

Overview of Medical Documents

How It Is Used

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

Gives a designated person the authority to make health care decisions on behalf of the person with dementia

Living Will

Describes and instructs how and when the person wants different types of end-of-life health care

Do Not Resuscitate Order

Instructs healthcare professionals not to perform CPR in case of stopped heart or stopped breathing

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Paying For Dementia Care With Personal Assets

Most families cover the cost of memory care with personal assets. A senior may have saved for retirement throughout their career, or they may have a pension. Adult children also frequently contribute to a parents cost of care. Some assets typically used to fund the cost of memory care include:

  • Savings accounts

Become A Paid Caregiver Yourself

There are two public healthcare programs that cover U.S. citizens and some non-citizens. Medicare is open to people over age 65. Medicaid is open to low-income people of all ages.

Medicaid has a program that lets family become paid caregivers for a relative with dementia. The program is calledMedicaid Home and Community Based Services Waivers . It gives your loved one with Alzheimers a budget, or allowance, for paid care. The caregiving family member is then paid from the allowance. States administer HCBS Waivers, socontact your states Medicaid office for more information.

Its important to note that Medicaid has strict income and wealth requirements. It only covers healthcare if you have less than $2,000 in assets like savings, stocks, and bonds. Here is a full breakdown ofMedicaid eligibility if you think your loved one may be covered.

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Caregiving In The Middle Stages Of Alzheimers Or Dementia

As your loved ones Alzheimers disease or dementia symptoms progress, theyll require more and more careand youll need more and more support as their caregiver. Your loved one will gradually experience more extensive memory loss, may become lost in familiar settings, no longer be able to drive, and fail to recognize friends and family. Their confusion and rambling speech can make communicating more of a challenge and they may experience disturbing mood and behavior changes along with sleep problems.

Youll need to take on more responsibilities as your loved one loses independence, provide more assistance with the activities of daily living, and find ways of coping with each new challenge. Balancing these tasks with your other responsibilities requires attention, planning, and lots of support.

Ask for help. You cannot do it all alone. Its important to reach out to other family members, friends, or volunteer organizations to help with the daily burden of caregiving. Schedule frequent breaks throughout the day to pursue your hobbies and interests and stay on top of your own health needs. This is not being neglectful or disloyal to your loved one. Caregivers who take regular time away not only provide better care, they also find more satisfaction in their caretaking roles.

Where Can I Get Help With Legal And Financial Planning

Important Strategies for Dementia Patients

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.

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The Alzheimers Associations 24/7 Helpline

When youre in the midst of a crisis, dementia caregivers can call the Alzheimers Associations Helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days per week to talk to masters-level clinicians and specialists. This helpline offers crisis guidance, decision support, education, information on local programs and services, information on financial and legal resources, treatment options, and care decisions. Theres also a live chat option available from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Alzheimers Association offers plenty of , too, covering many questions and concerns dementia caregivers face.

Dementia Books On Prescription

Reading Well Books on Prescription offer helpful information for people diagnosed with dementia, and their relatives and carers.

GPs and other healthcare professionals can recommend titles from a wide range of books about dementia.

The books are available for anyone to borrow free of charge from their local library. Some books might be available as e-books or audiobooks.

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Get Assessed For Care And Support

Your local authority has a duty to do a care and support needs assessment to find out what help you need.

A care and support needs assessment is free.

To arrange an assessment, contact your local social services. Alternatively, a GP, consultant, or another health or social care professional can make a referral to your local authority, after getting your consent.

For more information, read the Alzheimer’s Society’s guide to care and support in England.

Using Life Insurance To Pay For Memory Care

Common Issues With Dementia

Life insurance plans may be able to cover memory care costs. A policy holder may be able to sell their policy to a third party and use the proceeds to fund assisted living. Or, a life insurance policy may be surrendered to the insurance company for its cash value. However, using life insurance to fund memory care involves relinquishing policy ownership and not receiving benefits upon death.

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Personal Savings & Assets

Personal savings and assets often fund the help needed after a dementia diagnosis.

These funds typically come from:

  • The sale of a home and/or estate
  • An existing savings account
  • Help from friends or family members

However, personal savings can also come from investments or personal property such as fine art or valuable jewelry.

Choose Someone To Have Lasting Power Of Attorney

You can make one or more people an “attorney” to manage your affairs, including your money, property, and medical treatment, if it becomes necessary.

You can choose anyone you trust to be your attorney , but they must be over 18.

Find out more about power of attorney on our page about managing legal affairs for someone with dementia.

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Create Your Life Story

A “memory book” can be a way to stimulate your memory and reconnect you with your loved ones in the future.

Your memory book could include photographs, notes, and keepsakes from your childhood through to the present day. It can be a physical book or a digital version.

You may also want to create a digital or online playlist of your favourite music.

Costs Of Dementia Care: How Much Can You Expect To Pay

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Dementia care costs vary widely based on the individual, what form of dementia they have and how quickly the disease progresses. The early stages of dementia require less support, whereas the middle and late stages require the highest degree of support, increasing the financial costs.

When calculating costs, remember that people with Alzheimers can live for 20 years after their diagnosis and will need care during that time.

The biggest factor influencing the cost of dementia is the care setting you choose.

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Cleveland Clinic Healthy Brains

The Cleveland Clinics Healthy Brains initiative offers individualized brain health assessment tools, lifestyle tips, news on the latest developments in research and medicine, and more. This interactive resource is useful for both caregivers and those who are living with Alzheimers disease or another form of dementia, offering both tips for reducing the risk of developing dementia as well as helpful resources for caregivers, such as information on the healing power of pets, the latest clinical trials, and more.

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