Daughters, we’d like to thank fellow daughter, Lydia Chan for the below guest blog post. Lydia is the co-creator of Alzheimerscaregiver.net, a website that aims to provide tips and resources to help caregivers. Her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Lydia found herself struggling to balance the responsibilities of caregiving and her own life. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experiences with caregivers and seniors. In her spare time, Lydia finds joy in writing articles about a range of caregiving topics.
What Is This Really Going to Cost?
That all depends on your loved one’s condition and their needs at the moment. As the Alzheimer’s Association notes, “Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease and the person’s needs will change over time.” While their care may cost one thing this year, it could double or even triple in years to come. The disease costs Americans on the whole over $277 billion a year, and how much of that chunk will be yours is highly variable.
It All Depends on Type of Care
While the average Alzheimer’s patient will incur costs from ongoing medical appointments, treatments, home modifications, medications, and more, the single largest cost consideration you’ll have to face is their day-to-day care. Once again, it will depend on their current needs. On average, it costs 85,775 per year for a semi-private room in a nursing home and about $10,000 more for a fully private room. An in-home aide will run on average $22 per hour. Adult daycare can be $70 per day or more.
Will Insurance Cover the Cost of Alzheimer’s Care?
A large majority of elderly Alzheimer’s patients are on Medicare, so we’ll discuss that. Will Medicare pay for Alzheimer’s care? Yes, it will. Some of it. Maybe all of it. The hard truth is that it all depends. For example, Medicare will pay for all of the cost of a nursing home for 20 days and 80 percent of the cost for 80 more days. In some circumstances, Medicare will increase the number of days. Check out the basics on what Medicare covers and what it does not.
Medicare supplemental plans, which help people pay for Medicare Part A and Part B copayments, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs, can help with the costs. Consider looking into this option for your loved one as well when researching different plans long before medicare open enrollment begins on October 15.
How to Find Funding Outside of Insurance
Even if your loved one has quality insurance (privately or through Medicare/Medicaid), there may be some coverage gaps. Like we mentioned before, Alzheimer’s is a complicated disease that carries quite a bit of financial baggage.
Most states have programs in place to help with long-term caregiving for the elderly. Check with your state’s health services website or head to the National Family Caregiver Support Program portal. Also, check out the national eldercare locator for help finding quality, professional, affordable care options available to you and your loved one.
Beyond that, there are a whole host of options, including Alzheimer’s care loans, prescription drug assistance services, veterans’ assistance for Alzheimer’s patients, state-based grant programs, and more. Check here for a great resource on all this.
Medicare and medicare supplemental insurance will certainly help with the major costs of your loved one’s treatment, medication, and care. But as their primary caregiving facilitator you will need to figure out how to make up the rest. Don’t forget to include your loved one in this conversation. They may have Alzheimer’s, but their opinions matter. What they say could determine what costs you incur down the road, so make sure you respect their wishes.
Thanks so much for sharing this information with us, Lydia. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is one of the most challenging seasons in a person’s life and we need each other to make it through! For more posts specific to Alzheimer’s caregivers, visit HERE!