How to Truly Prepare for the Costs of Alzheimer’s Care
Every year, millions of Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and millions of families are left struggling with providing care for their loved ones. The stress of providing safe, thoughtful care can come with a lot of strain — and a lot of costs as well. So, if you or a loved one are at risk of Alzheimer’s, you may want to be prepared by knowing what to expect.
Why You Should Plan Ahead – Adults of all ages can benefit from planning ahead for their health care needs. Medicare may be a great option for helping seniors over the age of 65 or those with a disability, but it will not cover the expenses associated with long-term care. Outlining a long-term care plan now is extremely important, especially for those at risk of Alzheimer’s. Even if you have other health insurance, you unlikely have coverage for the daily tasks these conditions require. For those costs, planning early allows you to look into supplemental long-term care insurance coverage and talk to family about providing care. Thinking about long-term care insurance sooner, rather than later, also has the added benefit of lower premiums. Long-term care insurance can be pricey, but getting it when you are younger can help you save on your premium payments and allow you to build more coverage.
Other Ways to Pay for Long-Term Care – The truth is, long-term care insurance is not for everyone. Although this coverage can help with the costs of nursing home and other care for Alzheimer’s, many seniors may not be able to afford it or may need care before they think about adding insurance. However, you can still plan for long-term care costs by anticipating other ways you can pay.
One of the less stressful payment options is to use your life insurance policy. Seniors or caregivers who need extra cash can sell their life insurance for a payout that can help cover bills associated with Alzheimer’s care. That’s one additional reason that all adults should have life insurance. If using insurance is not an option, you can still find financial means to cover care costs. Homeowners, for example, can sell their home or get a reverse mortgage.
How to Find Affordable, Compassionate Care – Keeping a loved one (or yourself) with Alzheimer’s safe and comfortable should be a top concern. When choosing care providers, start by figuring out what kind of assistance is needed. Seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s will likely go through stages, so depending on the progression, you may need someone to help part-time in a home or a full-time nursing facility. Reach out to potential care providers to ask some preliminary questions and then schedule an in-person interview or tour so you can truly assess the ability to provide compassionate care. You should also consider more in-depth research, such as checking for accreditations and performing background checks. Be sure to ask about costs too; know that negotiating care prices may be possible, but be prepared to take other steps to reduce costs.
Questions to Ask About the Future – Aging in place or in the home of a loved one is likely to be your preferred option. Providing familiar faces and environments can lessen the confusion patients feel, as long as the home is set up safely. You may need to think about the costs of home upgrades, such as installing security systems, putting in safer locks, or preventing falls in the bathroom. It’s important to note, however, that a nursing home may be needed at some point. Alzheimer’s will progress and make caring for an individual at home much more stressful for you and less safe for them. You have to know that placing a loved one in a nursing home is sometimes the best option for keeping them protected and prolonging your time together.
Thinking of yourself or a loved one with Alzheimer’s is heartbreaking, but anticipating care costs can at least provide some peace of mind. By planning ahead, stress can be avoided and focus placed on finding compassionate care instead.
Article by Lydia Chan, Alzheimer’sCaregivers.net
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