By Lydia Chan
Every 65 seconds, someone in America is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. When that someone is you or a loved one, it can feel like time is stopping completely. Dealing with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be a challenge in so many ways, but one of the biggest hurdles individuals and families face is figuring out how to pay for care. If you find yourself in the position of paying for Alzheimer’s care, here is some information you may find helpful.
Ways to Save with Medicare
In terms of long-term care for Alzheimer’s or other conditions, Medicare alone does not provide coverage. That fact comes as a surprise to many seniors and caregivers, but there are still ways to make Medicare work to your advantage and help pay for the care that Alzheimer’s patients need. You can look into Humana Medicare Advantage plans to get the same coverage as Medicare Parts A and B, which also has additional benefits for dental, vision, and prescriptions. Many of these supplemental plans also offer extensive fitness services, as well as 24/7 nursing advice lines and caregiver support. Those benefits can all add up when you are trying to find ways to save for Alzheimer’s care options. Check out more information about enrollment here, and see if you are eligible to apply for Medicare Advantage plans.
Options for Paying for Alzheimer’s Care
If you need help paying for Alzheimer’s care for yourself or a loved one, there are quite a few options that may be available to you. You may be able to use government assistance options to help pay for Alzheimer’s care. Medicaid, Supplemental Social Security Income and disability benefits can all provide financial relief for seniors and family members involved in care. Many people also look into selling their life insurance in order to get the cash they need for care as well as other related expenses. Your age, policy size and type may impact your ability to take advantage of this option, so be sure to do your homework beforehand. If you are a caregiver, you can also look for caregiver support programs that may help you cover lost income, deal with stress, and provide more effective care for your loved one.
Levels of Care that May be Needed
When you are trying to anticipate the kind of care your loved one with Alzheimer’s will require, it helps to be familiar with the various stages of this disease. Alzheimer’s is a progressive, incurable condition that will impact the lives of patients and loved ones more and more over the course of time. In the initial stages, the person diagnosed may be able to stay in their home and may not even have symptoms. In a few years’ time, however, assisted home care will likely be needed to provide security and safety, but the senior will still be able to make some decisions. As the disease progresses, the capacity for choice becomes limited and home care may be difficult to provide. Since patients need help with even simple tasks, like remembering to eat and bathe, a skilled nursing home may be the best option for those with moderately severe Alzheimer’s.
Expectation for Alzheimer’s Patients
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that Alzheimer’s is a fatal form of dementia, so individuals and families should also plan for end-of-life care and final expenses. This may mean talking to an attorney to have power-of-attorney papers in order, or making sure wills and estate documents are drawn up. Putting financial affairs in order now, while you or your loved one are still able to make clear decisions, is important for giving everyone peace of mind and saving your family members a lot of stress as the disease progresses. This will also make the final stages more manageable for everyone, since there will be a general idea of what to expect and prepare for.
If Alzheimer’s is affecting your family, the last thing you should have to worry about it paying for care. By planning ahead and keeping some key facts in mind, you can make handling Alzheimer’s care costs more manageable for you and your loved ones, and focus more on enjoying the time you have together.
News updates, tips, and guides on senior care, senior health, stress relief and a host of other caregiving related topics from the professionals at Ella Stewart Care.