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    How To Pay For Alzheimer's Care

    Approximately 5.8 million seniors are living with Alzheimer's in the United States alone - but fortunately, there are effective and compassionate care options available. 

    For many families, the most important question that looms is how to pay for dementia care? In this article, we’ll cover the various treatment types for this condition as well as the associated costs before suggesting a few ways you can pay for them. 

    Associated Costs

    How much does dementia care cost? It all depends on the stage of illness, the level of independence that your loved one has retained, and the level of care you select. Here are some of the main expenses you can expect to pay if you or a loved one is diagnosed with this condition. 

    Caregiver Costs

    As Alzheimer’s progresses differently from its early stages, the need for a caregiver goes from being optional to virtually unavoidable. There are various types of caregiver services and their associated costs are as follows. 

    • A daily in-home living assistant who isn’t medically trained will cost you upwards of $20 per hour or $140 a day. 
    • Daytime care services - which require the patient to be dropped off and collected - usually cost around $80 per day. 
    • You can expect to pay $4000 or more per month for an assisted living facility, while a private nursing home can range from $5000-$8000 or more depending on the level of care and privacy required. 

    You may be alarmed by some of these costs - especially those for nursing homes which are typically needed in the final stages of the illness. Still, there are ways of financing these elderly care expenses without stretching your budget to its limits. We’ll cover them in detail below. 

    Legal Fees

    A lawyer’s costs may not be the first thing that comes to mind when discussing a medical issue. Yet, clearing up power of attorney and inheritance questions is essential.

    • Power Of Attorney - This grants you legal authority to make decisions and enter into binding agreements on your loved one’s behalf. It’s best to draw up this document with the help of a competent attorney before the patient’s dementia progresses. The costs involved range from $250 to $500. 
    • Medical Power Of Attorney - A POA for healthcare empowers a relative or trusted associate to take medical decisions on behalf of the patient. A fee of $200 to $500 is applicable. 
    • Traditional Or Living Will - Your loved one should be consulted on their wishes with regard to inheritance and this should be reduced to writing. Fees start from $250 and may breach the $1000 mark depending on the assets involved. 

    Medication And Personal Care

    The plain truth is that Alzheimer’s is an expensive condition. The average dementia patient in the US pays around $3500 for their prescription medication each year alone - and that can place an added burden on your budget or your loved one’s retirement income. 

    • Reminyl, Aricept, Razadyne, and Exelon are currently the only medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition. 
    • With relatively few generics and alternative treatments available, the high cost of medicating dementia patients is almost unavoidable.

    Personal care is essential for many patients who suffer from permanent memory loss. As stated earlier, these costs start around $100 a day and can escalate to $5000 a month or more if the patient lives in a dedicated care facility. 

    Financing Options

    With the exception of legal fees, most of the costs associated with dementia care are recurring - and they tend to increase as the condition worsens over time. 

    A patient may start off needing only medication and possibly in-home care, but as their condition progresses, their monthly healthcare costs could exceed $5000 or even double that amount. 

    There are several options that patients and their families can explore to ease the financial burden of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. These include:

    • Tapping Your Savings - This is a viable short term solution to cover the initial costs of diagnosis, in-home care, and prescription medication. 
    • A Personal Loan - You can opt for an unsecured loan for smaller amounts (typically up to $10,000) or explore various secured lending options like HELOC or reverse mortgage loans if the patient is a homeowner with a small or paid-down mortgage. 
    • Retirement Benefits - Retirees who have received a dementia diagnosis may be able to finance their monthly costs using their pension or investment income. 
    • Medicare - This option offers much-needed financial assistance for dementia patients whose income falls below a specific level defined by the state they live in. 
    • Life Insurance - It’s possible to borrow against the face value of your loved one’s life insurance policy - but this will decrease the amount that their beneficiaries receive after death. 
    • Disability Insurance - Many policies of this type make provision for dementia and will pay out a fixed monthly amount to the patient once a firm diagnosis has been made.

    Bottom Line

    Living with dementia - and supporting a relative or loved one with this condition - takes a great deal of strength and emotional energy. Knowing how much the associated costs will come to and planning your finances accordingly will let you focus on what’s important without having to constantly worry about paying the bills.  You may also need to apply for financial aid for Alzheimer’s care if required.