How Families Can Manage the Expenses Associated with Alzheimer’s Care – by Lydia Chan

Families face a tremendous burden when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease.  If your mother or father is facing Alzheimer’s, the pull on your emotions and energy are draining enough, but on top of that, treatment can take a big financial toll.  Read on for pertinent advice for managing the costs associated with Alzheimer’s care. 

Explore coverage options

When it comes to paying for Alzheimer’s care, the best place to start is with your parent’s health care coverage.  As Kiplinger explains, Medicare Parts A and B, also called Original Medicare, will not cover the bulk of the costs associated with Alzheimer’s.  Most treatment relates to long-term care and assistance with daily tasks, such as bathing and eating.  There are, however, other insurance options.  For instance, you can consider Anthem’s Medicare Advantage plan.  Medicare Advantage plans cover everything Original Medicare covers, as well as help with other health-related expenses.  Explore your options, since it’s an opportunity to ensure your parent has health care coverage for things Medicare doesn’t furnish, such as vision care, dental exams, and prescription drugs. 

Finding affordable care

When it comes to finding care for your mom or dad, costs vary in accordance with the kind of facility involved, and the location in which your parent lives.  A residential facility is usually your most expensive option for Alzheimer’s care.  Community based services and in-home care are generally a good value in terms of both quality and affordability.  Options such as adult day care centers typically cost the same for those with Alzheimer’s as for other folks, although patients in the later stages might not be accommodated at some facilities.  If your parent is a veteran, the Department of Veterans Affairs will help with care as well. 

What does care cost?

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be quite expensive.  To give you a better grasp of how much you are looking at, Paying for Senior Care notes some average figures:

  • Assisted living costs between $2,525 and $5,745 per month.
  • Nursing home care costs around $220 per day, or $6,600 per month.
  • Assisted living communities cost approximately $1,150 per month.
  • Adult day care runs about $69 per day, or $1,518 per month with weekday-only care.

Brainstorm Your Options

It’s easy to see it won’t take long to run up significant care expenses.  Thankfully, there are several practical methods for coming up with the funds.  In most situations, it helps to discuss your particulars with a financial advisor or elder law attorney.  Do some brainstorming and think through your circumstances.  Here is some food for thought:

1. Medicaid

Medicaid is available for people who meet their strict financial requirements.  Some people do a Medicaid spend down to qualify, although that must be completed in accordance with your state’s guidelines, and both your method and timing can be crucial. 

2. Sell assets

Some people withdraw retirement income or funds from other savings in order to pay for medical care.  If your parent has an HSA account, many medical expenses can be covered from that.  Assets such as jewelry, extra vehicles, or investments can be sold as well. 

3. Homes and equity

If your parent does not have a spouse is involved, a home equity loan is another possibility, although it could be a drawback if an heir wishes to inherit the house.  Another option is to sell the home or get a reverse mortgage, however you should investigate the details carefully if you are considering this option.

4. Personal connections

Don’t forget to reach out to those who know and love your parent.  Friends, family members, and the local community can be extremely generous when they know there is a good cause.  Check with your area government and charity organizations, ask about fundraisers, and consider options such as crowdfunding

You will get through this

Finding out Mom or Dad has Alzheimer’s is devastating enough.  When you aren’t sure how to manage the costs involved, it can overwhelm families.  Sort through your options, and you’re sure to find a good solution for you and yours.

Lydia Chan

Lydia Chan is the co-creator of Alzheimers.net, a website that aims to provide tips and resources to help caregivers. After her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, she found herself struggling with finding balance between the responsibilities of care-giving and her own life. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experiences with caregivers and seniors.

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Ted McLyman
 

Entrepreneur, business owner, author, speaker, trainer, Lt Col, USMC (Ret), and Ironman All World Age Group Triathlete.

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