How to Help Your Loved One Manage Dementia Care Costs – The Mercury News

People with dementia living in long-term care facilities spend a significant slice of their income on care every month, in keeping with an October 2023 study published within the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (JAMDA). The study found that the common adult with dementia in an assisted living facility spent just about all of their income (97%) on care every month, and people with dementia living in nursing homes spent 83% of their income on care every month care.

Currently, nearly 7 million Americans reside with Alzheimer's disease, probably the most common type of dementia, says Monica Moreno, senior director of care and support on the Alzheimer's Association, a nonprofit organization that supports and advocates for those affected by the disease. “We also know that Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease with no cure.”

As a result, because the disease progresses, people require more care, and the burden of providing—and paying for—that care often falls on their families.

“Many of them have made really responsible financial decisions throughout their lives, but no one is prepared for these costs at the end of their lives,” says Dana Eble, public relations and outreach manager on the Alzheimer's Caregiver Network, a support network for care partners. “People didn’t even know they had to save so much money.”

Out of Estate planning Here are some strategies to allow you to support your family members.

Understand the financial and legal picture

Have an open conversation about funds. What is the income and spending situation of your relatives and the way much are they saved? How are the care costs covered? And what do you wish when it comes to care throughout the course of your illness?

“Don’t wait to have these difficult conversations,” says Moreno. “Then when the family is faced with these decisions, they don’t have to wonder if they’re doing the right things.”

Also discuss existing estate planning – or what must be done. A solid estate plan typically features a will Living will and each financial and medical Powers of attorney. If the person you're caring for is ready, declaring a guardian if essential can also be helpful, says Colleen Carcone, certified financial planner and director of estate planning strategies at financial services firm TIAA. This allows someone to call the person they would favor to have as guardian of themselves and their property within the event of incapacity.

“Once you get that diagnosis, you know this is going to happen,” Carcone says. “It will be extremely important to take the extra steps to ensure all your i’s are dotted and crossed.”

Consult local and national resources

Your local senior agency will inform you about programs and services in your area, equivalent to: B. Meals on Wheels, transportation programs and grocery deliveries. Find local locations using the Eldercare Locator search engine at

National groups will also be helpful: The Alzheimer's Association, for instance, has a 24-hour hotline and may offer you state-specific information. For example, Moreno points to a law in Illinois that goals to guard an individual living at home if their spouse has been placed in a long-term care facility.

“It allows them to keep a certain amount of income each month and keep their primary residence,” Moreno says. Some of the more devastating stories, she says, come from families who only realized the law existed after they’d exhausted all their assets. “These are the things that families need to find out about,” she says.

If your beloved is a veteran, check with the Department of Veterans Affairs to see what advantages they might be eligible for. “My father was a veteran, and he received Veterans Aid & Attendance benefits, which were cash benefits to help pay for care,” says Amy Goyer, AARP care expert. “This can be extremely helpful.”

Use technology

Dementia is a progressive disease, meaning your beloved will need more care over time. At the start you’ll be able to Save money on care costs with technology. This can include things like motion sensors, automatic lights, water shutoff devices, medication dispensers and a system that notifies care partners when their loved one leaves the world.

“In earlier stages of dementia, you may just be nervous, and you need to put your eyes on them and actually see them and know what's going on,” says Goyer. “Using technology, you can extend the amount of time you don’t need to have someone there in person all the time.”

Slowly climb the nursing ladder

According to the JAMDA study, out-of-pocket costs are lower for individuals with dementia once they live at home. Home care may initially require using a meal delivery service and hiring someone to care for the home and garden. Then you might must hire home look after a number of hours a day or find an adult daycare center near you.

The average every day cost of adult day care is $95, in keeping with 2023 care cost data from Genworth, an insurance company. That's lower than half the price of home health care, which costs a median of $207 per day.

“A lot of people still don’t know that adult day care exists,” Goyer said. “This can be a real cost saving. And people can be quite far from dementia in an adult daycare center, depending on the focus and capacity.”

If you reach the purpose where your beloved needs around-the-clock care, a live-in caregiver could also be a more economical option than an assisted living facility or hourly care from an out of doors source because room and board are a part of the salary turn off. If there’s an additional bedroom in the home, that is a good choice for a loved one who doesn’t need expert care but can’t be left alone.

“We did that with caregivers for a while,” Goyer says, “and it saved a little bit of money.”

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