[Updated: October 27, 2023 | Published: October 27, 2023]
Dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can be a challenging journey for seniors and their loved ones, both emotionally and financially. It’s essential to plan for dementia care in advance to ensure that you can access affordable services when you need them. Consider practical questions such as who will provide care, where you want to receive care, and how you will pay for it.
At Friendship Village of Dublin, we understand that finding the right care for yourself or your loved ones is essential. We are here to support you through this process. In this blog post, we offer valuable information on dementia, including essential facts, costs, care options, and other crucial details you need to consider when planning for care.
The Growing Prevalence of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. It’s a common and growing issue. Nearly one in 10 older Americans lives with dementia, according to a Columbia University study.
Every 66 seconds an American develops Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the lifetime risk at age 45 is one in ten for men and one in five for women. Today, over 6 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 13 million.
Financial Costs of Dementia Care
In 2023, Alzheimer’s and other dementias cost an estimated $345 billion. By 2050, these costs could rise to nearly $1 trillion.
The costs of long-term care are increasing faster than inflation or the annual returns on most investments.
Emotional and Financial Costs for Family Caregivers
In addition to their impact on seniors, cognitive conditions place emotional and financial burdens on spouses, adult children and other family members. Consider these statistics about family caregiving:
- Today, more than 15 million Americans are caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s.
- Family caregivers spend about 20 percent of their income on caregiver costs, according to a 2020 report by AARP.
- Nearly 47 percent of working caregivers report having to use up their savings, according to The Family Caregiver Alliance.
- About 53 percent of caregivers report a decline in their health due to caring for someone else, as reported by Caring Senior Services.
In 2021, people caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias provided an estimated 16 billion hours of unpaid help. This help was valued at $271.6 billion. The care period usually lasts around five years and can be stretched over a longer time due to the extended course of dementia.
An Adult Daughter’s Story
Kate Ferranti wrote a moving Huffington Post article about her family’s struggles with providing, obtaining and paying for her father’s Lewy body dementia care.
“While navigating his care needs over the past six years and contending with the emotions of watching him slowly deteriorate, worrying about paying for care is a constant,” she wrote.
As her father gradually lost his ability to attend to daily living needs, the family decided to search for an in-home care provider. They were shocked to learn that Medicare typically will not cover the cost of assisted living services provided in the home.
Instead, his wife was his unpaid caregiver for several years until her mental and physical health deteriorated. When family members could no longer provide care, the father moved into a memory care community.
“The cost of my father’s memory care is rapidly depleting their nest egg,” Feranti wrote. “It is not clear what will happen to them when the money runs out — none of the options are good, which is a terrifying feeling.”
Based on her family’s experience, she recommends that “… middle-class families should plan for aging, sickness and death, even though it’s hard to discuss. Having some basics in place – wills, powers of attorney, health care proxies, a trust for a home before a disease is too far along – is a good first step and way of starting a conversation.”
Dementia Care Options
Seniors and their loved ones have several options for dementia care. Below, we explore four of the most common.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Continuing Care Retirement Communities provide a wide range of care options for older adults. They offer different housing types, including independent living apartments, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing, all within one campus.
Many also offer maintenance-free living with activities, amenities, lifelong learning programs, dining venues and support services to help residents live life to the fullest.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities allow residents to move between different levels of care as their health needs change. For example, if someone moves into independent living and later needs assistance with daily activities or skilled nursing care, they can receive these services without leaving their home. This ensures they get the care they need without being uprooted from their community.
Friendship Village of Dublin is a special type of CCRC called a LifeCare Community. Through a Type-A LifeCare contract, our Residents enjoy lifetime access to a full continuum of care, including independent living apartments, our Waterford Place Assisted Living, Rowan House Memory Care and Alderwood Health and Rehab, at a predictable cost. Similar to when you buy insurance, you must meet certain financial and health qualifications to join a LifeCare community.
In-home care helps seniors with daily living activities like dressing, bathing and using the bathroom. This is an ideal option for those who want to remain in their homes and maintain their routines.
However, the costs of care are out of reach for many seniors. Medicare labels this type of in-home dementia care as “custodial” or “companionship” and holds that family members or unpaid caregivers can provide care.
New options, like our Friendship At Home membership program, coordinate and pay for continuing care at home up to assisted living and nursing home levels of care. But you can only become a member while you are relatively healthy and independent – and before a dementia diagnosis.
Assisted living is an option for seniors who need help with daily activities like getting dressed, eating and bathing. Trained professionals are available 24/7 to provide care.
Residents also enjoy activities that cater to various interests and abilities, promoting physical, mental, and social well-being.
Memory care is designed especially for seniors with dementia. Like assisted living facilities, memory care units offer round-the-clock care and supervision. Caregivers at memory care facilities assist clients with personal care tasks and daily activities such as socializing, shopping, and attending appointments.
The main difference is that they provide specialized services for people with memory loss. These include cognitive therapies and safety measures like secured exits and wander management.
Skilled nursing facilities are an option for seniors with dementia who can no longer be cared for at home, in assisted living or in memory care. These facilities provide a high level of medical care. The staff is knowledgeable and trained to manage cognitive and physical symptoms of dementia while ensuring resident comfort and quality of life.
Planning for Dementia Care
Planning for your future care is crucial, especially when dealing with a progressive condition like dementia. It can be helpful to meet with financial planners, elder law attorneys, and senior living professionals to develop a comprehensive plan. These professionals can assist you with managing your investments, will, trusts, and powers of attorney with long-term care in mind.
If you start planning while relatively healthy and active, you can protect your wealth and well-being with popular options like long-term care insurance and LifeCare contracts. These may help provide peace of mind to your loved ones by reducing their caregiving responsibilities.
Start Planning Today!
The sooner you explore your options, the sooner you can secure your future and gain peace of mind.
If you are interested in joining our premier LifeCare community or would like details about our innovative Friendship at Home program, we invite you to schedule a visit using the form below. Or, call 614.426.0334 to speak with one of our residency counselors.