How to Deal with the Financial Strain of Memory Care

One of the symptoms of progressive memory loss is that your loved one will have difficulty maintaining his personal finances. Not only will he need you to help organize the bills, but there are sure to be more of them once the diagnosis of AD is made.

What to Expect

The cost of care for a patient afflicted with Alzheimer’s can reach upwards of $50,000 annually. This estimate is significantly higher than the cost of care for elderly persons not afflicted with AD or dementia. It is a good idea to prepare a long term budget as early as possible so that you can determine how the care plan you’ve designed will be paid for.

Some of the factors affecting your budget are:

  • Medical treatment for AD symptoms
  • Care provider fees
  • Prescriptions
  • Personal care items
  • Treatment for concurrent medical conditions

You should also consider how your loved one will handle emergencies or unexpected financial events such as a hospital stay. Persons with Alzheimer’s and dementia average three-times as many hospital stays as non-afflicted patients.

Residential care may be in the long-term care plan as your loved one’s illness progresses. Residential care facilities usually offer a tiered service model. This model provides more services for advanced needs and adjusts rates depending upon the level of care.

Though costs for residential care facilities vary widely and are primarily determined by region and level of care, the national average for an assisted-living facility is $41,724 per year.

What We Can Afford

Alzheimer’s and dementia patients make up the majority of skilled nursing facility residents and typically incur higher medical costs related to caregiving than non-afflicted elderly persons. Nursing home residents average $78,000 for a shared room and $87,000 for a single room.

Residential care expenses are usually paid by the resident and/or the resident’s family. While some long-term care insurers and Veteran’s benefits sometimes cover long-term care expenses, Medicare does not.

Medicaid does pay for nursing home stays and 29% of Medicare beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s or dementia also have Medicaid.

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