Stroke survivors can have a double whammy – the later onset of Alzheimer’s disease!
Approximately 5.5 million people in the US have Alzheimer’s disease, leaving them with crippling out-of-pocket costs to the tune of $10,315 each year compared to $2,232 for those without a cognitive disability. This is in addition to the costs associated with stroke.
The majority of people with Alzheimer’s disease will eventually need long-term care services, including assisted living and memory support, which comes at a cost. If you’re taking care of a spouse or helping a loved one navigate the process of Alzheimer’s, here’s what you need to know about paying for quality care.
Medicare will pay for cognitive assessment and care planning services for those with Alzheimer’s. Other coverage includes inpatient hospital care and some of the doctors’ fees and medical equipment for those 65 and older — Medicare Part D also covers many prescriptions. While hospice care (in-home or at a facility) is covered, only the first 100 days at a skilled nursing home are; after that all costs are out-of-pocket. There are also Medicare Special Needs Plans (SNPs) available that specialize in care and coverage for beneficiaries with dementia.
If you have a low income and asset levels, you may qualify for Medicaid, which covers all or a portion of assisted living, nursing home, and home health costs. Most states also have home- and community-care options that allow individuals to live in their homes while receiving long-term care services.
If you are a veteran age 65 or over, you may be eligible for treatment in a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) nursing home, so it’s worth contacting our local VA office. Keep in mind that since space is limited, veterans with service-connected conditions will be admitted first. The treatment is generally free providing eligibility rules are met.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Though it’s a costly investment, long-term care insurance (LTC) pays for the cost of assisted living facilities (depending on the amount of benefits per day), custodial care, and some in-home care. Keep in mind that the premium you pay depends on your age when you purchase the policy and is fixed as long as the insurance company doesn’t raise its rates. Keep in mind that as with any insurance policy, the features and costs vary between one company to another, so make sure you do your homework before choosing the first one that catches your eye.
There’s always the possibility of cashing out your life insurance policy to free up some extra cash. You must determine whether you’re eligible by submitting your health records and insurance information in order to determine a payout. Typically, those 65 and up with a serious health or medical condition are eligible providing their existing policy as a face value of at least $100,000. Think hard before deciding whether or not a reverse mortgage is a good option. Keep in mind that while you don’t have to start paying back the loan during your lifetime, you could still lose your house to a tax foreclosure should you be unable to pay property insurance premiums. A reverse mortgage also means your abode won’t be inherited by your children.
Paying for care is only half the battle. Finding quality facilities health professionals to take care of you or your loved one can also be challenging. The same can be said for stroke. While the best advice is not too rushing the process, with stroke time may be of the essence.
First, determine whether residential care is necessary, which means considering a continuing care retirement community, assisted living facility, group home, or nursing home. Look for a facility that specializes in Alzheimer’s and/or memory impairment such as an assisted living facility with a memory care wing or memory care support. Services should be offered that directly benefit your loved one such as Alzheimer’s support and care programs, gated/secure building and community, 24/7 access to personnel, and assistance with activities of daily living.
Next, talk with doctors, social workers, and support groups about getting recommendations for facilities in your area. Create a list of questions and set up a time to tour the facilities. Make observations such as whether the staff is friendly (and how they interact with residents), do the patients look cared for, are the facilities clean, and does the place feel comfortable. Just randomly visit some rest rooms to see if they seem clean or is there trash. Inquire about medical care and costs before signing a contract.
Also, it might be important to consider final expense insurance. Not only will coverage help with funeral costs, but this type of insurance can address any medical bills or debt your loved one leaves behind. This option will give you peace of mind that all the financial obligations are taken care of after your loved one passes away.
Then you should consider yourself! If a continuing care facility, can you also live on premises, but in an independent apartment. Then you will be closer and can visit more conveniently.
Planning and thinking about the future is the key to dealing with both stroke care and Alzheimer’s disease, whether for yourself or a loved one. With some research and forethought, you can take steps to ensure your family is prepared for this stage in life.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Guest Written by Beverly Nelson