It is not easy to cope with the fact that a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia. It can be even more challenging to find out how you are going to pay for their memory care. Luckily, there are many organizations and programs available that offer financial help for dementia patients in these cases, such as:
- Medicare benefits
- Government benefits
- Financial assistance programs
- Community support services
- Dependent care credit
- Medical assistance
- Medicaid programs
- And more
Today we’ll go over the best financial assistance options available and what is involved in obtaining them so you can make an informed decision about financing care.
Dementia and Dementia Care Statistics
There are some pretty astounding factsregarding dementia and dementia care in the United States. One is that the number of people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia continues to rise, and so does the cost of care.
- Currently, around 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.
- By 2050, that number could more than double to 13 million Americans.
- Alzheimer’s and other dementias have cost the nation nearly $355 billion. That number will topple $1 trillion in the next 30 years.
- Over 11 million Americans provide unpaid care to dementia and Alzheimer’s patients (often their family members), totaling nearly $257 billion.
How Much Does Dementia Care Cost?
Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of it—how much does dementia care cost? Depending on the type of care someone is receiving, the cost can differ drastically. Assisted living facilities and nursing homes tend to be the most expensive, but many other options are available. Home care is one of the more affordable options, especially for those with a loved one with early-onset dementia.
At-Home Care Costs
Aging in place continues to grow in popularity as it’s one of the more affordable options for senior care. However, it can get complicated the more severe or complex someone’s disease becomes. At-home care can be an excellent option for people in the early stages of dementia, who can get around their home ok, and where a drastic change may severely affect them, so staying home is critical.
The cost of at-home care is often an hourly rate paid to the caregiver. The national average is around $21/hour but can range from $16 to $31+ per hour,depending on the state you live in and care requirements.
Senior Living / Assisted Living Facility Costs
This type of dementia care is likely the most common. The majority of senior living and assisted living facilities can easily accommodate those with all stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s with additional memory care and more hands-on care from staff for those individuals. This does come with a hefty price tag, however.
The average cost of an assisted living facility is around $4,000/month. But this can range from $2,500 to nearly $10,000 a month, depending on the facility and level of care.
Nursing Home Costs
Nursing homes are a level above senior living facilities. They are even more equipped for individuals who need round-the-clock care and attention, particularly in the later stages of their disease.
This can drive up costs to more like $7,000/month on average, or if they charge by the day, around $250/day.
Adult Daycare Costs
Adult daycare is often just charged by the day or half-day. Like child daycares, these places offer partial care to seniors who need assistance during the day when their caregivers cannot provide any, or so they can get some social interaction but don’t exactly require living in a full-time nursing home.
The average daily cost of an adult day care facility is $72/day, making it a great affordable option, even for temporary needs.
Other Added Costs (Medication, Memory Care, Additional Services)
A dozen other costs add up when it comes to providing care to people with dementia. The cost of their medications can be hundreds of dollars a month. At the same time, physical and occupational therapy can also tack on costs and personalized care and services such as dental work, spa services, and other therapies.
Luckily, there are plenty of financial assistance or waiver programs that can aid in covering these costs and alleviate the financial burden.
Payment Options and Financial Assistance for Dementia Care
People with dementia, or their family members, who are facing the high cost of care, can rest a little easier knowing they can get some financial support from several options.
Medicare is a federal healthcare program that provides coverage for eligible individuals 65 years of age and older. Coverage for dementia and Alzheimer’s can get a little complicated in that Medicare does not differentiate these from other chronic conditions or diseases.
There are also limitations to how many days Medicare will provide coverage to an individual. For example, Medicare covers up to 100 days of skilled nursing home care and hospice care. But long-term memory care costs are not covered by the program.
On the other hand, Medicare Advantage plans may be able to provide some coverage for things such as home mods, adult daycare, respite care, meal delivery, and other services that cater to dementia patients but aren’t necessarily medical.
More information on Medicare coverage can be found here.
Medicaid is a state and federally funded insurance program that benefits low-income families and the elderly. Medicaid does not have any restrictions for where or how a patient can receive care. If they are eligible, they can get Medicaid coverage for in-home services, adult daycare, senior living facilities, and more.
For the most part, individuals in the later stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia can more easily get Medicaid coverage. Unfortunately, this is often due to them running out of assets to pay out-of-pocket costs for rent and other care, which triggers Medicaid assistance.
Although there is not a specific sector of financial assistance for dementia, veterans in this position can apply to their multiple programs to receive up to $2,200/month in financial assistance.VA Respite Care and Aid and Attendance are great options.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance is a less popular alternative to other financial possibilities, such as long-term disability and nursing home coverage. However, long-term care insurance can help people with many different health situations pay for elderly care.
Long-term care insurance provides individuals more options for assisted living and memory care beyond the public programs of Medicare, Medicaid, or Veterans Affairs. It’s important to note that signing up for a long-term care policy in your 50’s sets you up for success to get coverage down the road.
State Assistance Programs
Sometimes, states may offer non-Medicaid or non-insurance programs to assist individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s. This can really depend on your local organizations. Your best bet is to check out the closest Alzheimer’s Association chapter in your state and research their programs. This assistance may be in the form of grants or loans, depending on eligibility.
Elderly waivers can be a great way to offset the costs of many of the services individuals receive outside of their monthly room and board. People with dementia can apply for eligibility through the state and receive coverage for a variety of services including, but not limited to: transportation, meals, spa services, therapy, physicians services, dental work, and more.
Alzheimer’s Care Loans
Loans are another great option for individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid but still need financial assistance. For example, loans can be used to pay rent, bills, and other living expenses while caring for a family member with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
This option should be one of the last resorts, as it can be risky to borrow against your home or other assets. A reverse mortgage allows families to borrow against their home’s equity. The amount you receive is based on your age, the interest rate of your loan at that time, and how much cash value or equity you have in your property. You can use this money for anything like paying bills or hiring caretakers for a loved one with dementia.
The one stipulation is that the loan will be due one year after the resident moves out of their home. It can be a wise option for someone in the early stage of the disease with plenty of years until they move. But it is not recommended for those needing fast funds with a year or two left in the residence.
As you can see, there are plenty of options to help mitigate the high costs of dementia care. The key is to research what options are available in your state and then apply as soon as possible.
Make sure to read through insurance policies and other documents thoroughly to determine eligibility and fully understand the types of financial assistance being offered to you.
5 Steps to Get Approved For Financial Assistance
- Research programs in your state or through your insurance provider to determine which financial assistance plans are available.
- Fill out the application forms and submit any supporting documents, such as proof of income or health status.
- Keep your records up-to-date so that you can continue to get the help you need.
- If you have any questions, make sure to contact the program administrator or your insurance provider for clarification.
- Be patient— the process of getting approved for financial assistance can take some time.
Financial Help for Dementia Patients: Who’s Eligible?
To qualify for financial assistance, you will need to meet certain eligibility requirements based on your income, health status, and other factors. It’s important to carefully read through the fine print on any of these programs or assistance application forms to ensure you or your loved one are eligible. Factors that determine eligibility requirements include:
- Household income
- Retirement benefits
- Veteran status
- Health status
- Financial assets
Most programs will require you to fill out an application form, provide proof of income or assets, and other supporting documents. Your financial situation may not always be static— it’s important to keep your records up-to-date so that you can continue to get the help you need.
To learn more about eligibility requirements, benefits.gov is an excellent resource. Simply fill out their Benefit Finder Questionnaire and find out which benefits you or a loved one are eligible to receive.
However, your best option is to discuss all of the details and options with your local senior living community, like Sunflower Communities. We have a knowledgeable staff ready to go over financing options, assistance programs and even guide you through the elderly waiver process.
If you or a loved one are looking for dementia care options, contact us today!