The cost of caring for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients reached $236 billion in 2016. Additionally, the figure is set to continue growing, and the toll of coping with Alzheimer’s – the personal tragedy of diminished mental faculties and the financial stress of caring for an affected loved one – could push a family to breaking point. Therefore, children and partners have to make a difficult decision about when to look at outside care.
Most patients are able draw some financial assistance for Alzheimer’s and dementia care through Medicare and Medicaid, but in 2016, families paid a total of $46 billion out of pocket for various levels of care. Average community-dwelling beneficiaries with Alzheimer paid $28,911 each in 2016.
It’s a number which would give many family members a headache. For this reason, growing number of children and partners are choosing to forego paid at-home care or nursing homes to care for loved ones at home. However, with the median personal income at $55,775 as of 2015, it can be more expensive for most people not to work, particularly when other financial obligations, like mortgages, bills and childcare are taken into account.
Family members can look to reduce costs by looking at preventative care measures. One of the biggest expenses outside of nursing home and care facilities is hospital visits. They cost, on average, $11,834 a year for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, with 52% spending time in the hospital. Almost half of these visits are avoidable and due to patients being unable to take care of themselves at home, such as falls and trauma, pneumonia, and gastrointestinal illness from ill-prepared food. The pain and suffering and financial stress of the hospital can be prevented with appropriate care.
For many Alzheimer’s patients, a nursing home or care facility may not be completely necessary until the latest stage of the disease. Inpatient facilities are up to three times more expensive than at-home care services, and can be a stressful experience for those who feel they still have some level of independence and are strongly attached to their home.
At-home care is an ideal middle ground for patients who don’t yet require high-level round-the-clock care but need assistance with daily routines such as hygiene and toileting. It’s important to find a service with skilled professionals who are trained to care specifically for Alzheimer’s and dementia suffers.
One such service is caringpeopleinc.com, which utilizes behavioural therapy, medical care and housekeeping duties to provide the best possible one-on-one treatment for loved ones. Professionals establish a routine with the patient and providing consistent care based on physical health, communicative ability, mental faculties and past medical history to.
While Alzheimer’s can’t be ‘cured’, families can mitigate some of the effects of this illness through preventative care. As the personal expense of caring for Alzheimer’s and dementia continues to grow, it’s up to the children, partners and other relatives of loved ones to make some serious financial and personal decisions to ensure the best possible care.