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Paying for Memory Care: Costs, Options and Resources

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Paying for Memory Care: Costs, Options and Resources

When you or a loved one are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, there are many things to consider and plan for. One of the biggest concerns most seniors and their families have is paying for memory care. Since dementia is a progressive disease, the care that the individual will need increases as the disease progresses. Eventually, an individual with dementia will need around-the-clock care, which is usually administered – but not always – in a specialized memory care community like Avalon Memory Care.

Nearly 5.5. million Americans are living with a form of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy Body dementia or frontotemporal dementia (FTD). This number is only expected to increase as the Baby Boomers continue to age and medical technology continues to extend our natural lifespans. And that means that the cost of memory care is likely to continue to increase for many American families.

Currently, the worldwide cost of dementia care is approximately 1 trillion U.S. dollars. In other words, if dementia care were a country, it’s GDP would be the 17th highest in the world! That’s a lot of money being spent…and fortunately, there are a variety of programs available to help provide financial assistance, respite care and other forms of aid to help seniors, families and caregivers.

At Avalon Memory Care, we understand very well the cost of providing memory care – financially, emotionally and mentally. Our goal is to not just be a home for your loved one, but also a resource for you and your family members. Part of that is providing the information you need to help you make a wise decision with regards to care. To that end, we’ve put together some helpful information about how to pay for memory care, resources you can look into and where you can go to find more assistance as needed.

 

The Cost of Memory Care

Many seniors, if you asked them, would choose to receive care from the comfort of their current home. For the vast majority of those with dementia – especially those in the early to mid- stages of the disease – care is often being provided in-home by family caregivers or home health aides. Most home care providers don’t charge additional fees for individuals with memory issues. Instead, they have a flat rate for their various services, with added fees depending on what’s needed. The cost of in-home care can range from $16–$28/hour, for an average of $21/hr nationwide and varies by state. And that’s not including the cost of doctor’s visits and medications for those with Alzheimer’s – costs that can add up fairly rapidly.  Not all in-home care services specialize in the needs and well-being of those living with dementia.

When it comes to providing care in a memory care community, there’s no way around it – it’s not cheap. In 2019, the average cost for a month’s stay in a memory care community was anywhere from $4,000 – $10,000 (or more).

While providing memory care at home can be the more financially viable solution, there are other costs and issues that come up when a person is not living in a secure memory care community. The first of these issues is loss of income. Oftentimes, a family caregiver will have to reduce their working hours or leave their job entirely to care for a senior loved one, which puts a crimp in income flow. Another issue is safety. Individuals with dementia often have a tendency to wander, which can be difficult to curtail unless a home is properly secured.

In other words, while the cost of caring for a senior loved one at home is the cheapest option on paper, it is not always the most valuable option.

 

Financial Assistance Options

For most people, the cost of memory care can be covered by a variety of different sources. Some of these are more general, some are personal, and some are resources specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Insurance – privately held policies – is the most commonly used financial tool to pay for memory care. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners recommends people seek out policies that offer at least:

  • One year of nursing or home care coverage, including intermediate and custodial care
  • Coverage for Alzheimer’s disease
  • A free look period, giving you the right to return a policy within 30 days of purchasing it
  • An option for home benefits without first having to stay in a hospital or nursing home.

 

If long-term care insurance isn’t the best option for you, is there another choice besides paying for everything out of your savings? These ideas may be worth considering:

  • Short-term care insurance – Similar to long-term care insurance, but the benefits usually run for only one year. Seniors who don’t qualify for long-term care insurance may be able to buy this kind.
  • Life-LTC Hybrids – Another option is a policy that combines life insurance with long-term care insurance. These may be more affordable and less prone to premium price spikes.
  • LTC annuities – These accounts often require a big upfront investment, but provide regular payouts to cover the cost of a wide range of senior care needs.
  • Health Savings Accounts – An option that lets people put aside money tax-free to cover medical costs, including long-term care and even premiums for LTC insurance.

Medicare does not cover in-home personal care, and its use for assisted living or nursing home services is limited. For example, Medicare will pay for care being offered in a community but not the cost of personal care services. It’s important for seniors and their family members to review their benefits and meet with counselors or social workers who can help them navigate the red tape and ensure they’re receiving the full value of the benefits they’ve received.

Personal funds are the next most-common tool used to pay for memory care. These are generally a combination of savings accounts, retirement accounts, and Social Security payment. Some individuals also pay for memory care through the sale of a family home, or a reverse mortgage that allows them to access their home’s equity.

There are also programs managed or funded by different states that are designed for individuals who meet certain criteria. These range from generalized assistance programs to other funding options designed specifically for those with memory issues like dementia.

 

Non-Financial Support

The old saying goes that “it takes a village to raise a child” and the same can be said for caring for someone with dementia. While financial support is important, emotional and mental support – for family members and caregivers as well as the person with dementia – is just as important. Many community organizations provide low-cost or free assistance or services to alleviate stress or provide much-needed support. This can range from transportation services, respite care, home-delivered meals, social services and others. To look for resources near you, connect with your local Area Agency on Aging or your community’s branch of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Another great resource for families, caregivers and seniors? Memory care communities like Avalon Memory Care. While of course we care for those who call us home, we are also dedicated to helping family caregivers and others who are affected by dementia – whether or not their loved one lives with us. We offer free-to-the-public events and informational sessions and are always available if you’d like to call and ask for assistance or advice.

 

Helpful Sites and Resources

Here are some of our top sites for finding assistance when it comes to paying for memory care and finding supportive services for you or a loved one.

  • The Alzheimer’s Association® has a 24/7 Helpline that provides assistance locating support, services and more
  • gov can help you find out which government benefits you may be eligible to receive.
  • Benefits Check-Up helps you find benefit programs that can help pay for medications, health care, food, utilities and more.
  • Department of Veterans Affairs has information on government benefits available to those who served in the military.
  • National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information is a government site that helps you plan for long-term care needs and find services.
  • Eldercare Locator is a great site that can help you find your local Area Agency on Aging and other resources.
By |2020-05-26T16:48:00-05:00May 26th, 2020|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Memory Care|0 Comments