Thousands of people feel the effects of Alzheimer’s disease in California, either from living with the disease or caring for a loved one with the disease. More than 588,000 people are living with Alzheimer’s in California, which is nearly one-tenth of the United State’s Alzheimer’s patients. With the rapidly aging population, this number could double by 2030, giving California nearly 1.1 million Alzheimer’s cases. There are several Alzheimer’s assistance programs and plenty of resources available to help affected families.
There is an Alzheimer’s Association chapter in Orange County to provide help to Alzheimer’s patients and their families through education, research, support groups, caregiver information, and 24-hour help lines. There are around 40 facilities in the Anaheim area with Alzheimer’s care, including the Best of 2017 Senior Living on SeniorAdvisor.com: Golden Tuscany Care. There are also highly-rated facilities in Anaheim including Golden Flower Manor, Milky Way Guest Home II, Walnut Village, and Reylyne Manor.
In the United States, over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and the number of cases could grow to almost 16 million by 2050.
Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth leading cause of death in California.
The number of deaths from this disease has grown by more than 169 percent since 2000.
Nearly 1.6 million caregivers spent 1.8 million hours unpaid to assist a family member, friend, or loved one with Alzheimer’s support and care in 2015.
The amount of unpaid California Alzheimer’s care in 2015 equaled $22.2 billion.
The health care costs added to the stress of caregivers by a price tag of nearly $936 million in 2015.
There are different forms of care available for families to choose from such as in-home care with visiting medical professionals, day care programs, or live-in residential care at a facility with a memory care unit. Some memory care units are stand alone facilities or are a part of other nursing homes.
Alzheimer’s care requires active supervision and making the patient feel as comfortable as possible by trying to keep the environment consistent and recognizable. Patients need to be watched to be sure they don’t fall or wander, which are both common. Alzheimer’s patients also need assistance eating, and they need help to make sure they eat and drink enough each day.
The cost of Alzheimer’s care is soaring as the Baby Boomer population continues to grow. The Fiscal Times recently said that the cost of Alzheimer’s care had exceeded $226 billion in the United States. Cost per patient is hard to breakdown with the different costs per location, various care options with varying price points, and Alzheimer’s care can be included with other skilled nursing care in these surveys.
Genworth recently performed a 2016 Cost of Care Survey. The countrywide median monthly cost for nursing home care was $6,844 for a semi-private (or shared) room and $7,698 for a private room. For Orange County, the median monthly costs were more with semi-private rooms costing around $7,734 and private rooms averaging $12,471. The price tag for these rooms could increase to $10,394 and $16,760 per month.
Quality care comes with a high price tag, and patients can live with Alzheimer’s for a long time thus increasing costs. Families sometimes have to pay out of their savings or provide unpaid care. There are some ways to save money before you decide upon one of these. You can get the same quality care and save a bit by making a few adjustments.
By having a roommate in a nursing care facility, you can decrease your loved one’s health care costs significantly. Using the figures from the Genworth’s Orange County findings, semi-private rooms cost approximately $4,700 less a month than private rooms, which could save you nearly $57,000 a year! However, don’t let the savings blind you if your loved one would have issues having a roommate. Remember that your loved one would not only have to deal with a roommate but also the additional visitors. When deciding on a care facility, ask them about their policies and opinions on roommates for Alzheimer’s patients.
You can also have your loved one live at home and go to an adult day program for respite care while you are away or at work and help prevent you from getting burnout. The Alzheimer’s Family Services Center in Orange County offers an adult day program for persons in the earliest form of Alzheimer’s disease. The Connections Club provides therapies to assist with memory, off-site outings, and more socialization. They also have Social Day Care if someone has moderate or severe Alzheimer’s disease for direct and constant supervision.
Acadia Adult Services offers programs with supervised medical care that includes assessments, individualize plans, medication management, personal care, nutritional assistance, therapies, and counseling. Having a loved one live at home versus having residential care is a lot more affordable. However, you have to consider if you or someone else are willing to provide nighttime and weekend care.
If your parent or loved one bought a long-term care insurance policy, it should cover Alzheimer’s care. Talk to your insurance agent to determine policy limits, coverage, and any gaps in the policy. Make sure this payment is kept up on this policy to avoid a lapse; you can do this through automatic payments.
Long-term care policies save families money if there is a medical necessity requiring a lot of care. You may want to research a policy for yourself, so you don’t have to worry about a pre-existing condition down the road.
For veterans and widows of veterans, they may be eligible for the VA Aid & Attendance pension to help cover medical bills. To see eligibility requirements and to apply, visit one of the local offices in either Orange or LA County.
Low-income seniors can check into Medicaid to cover nursing home care. This federal-state program is an option for patients with minimal savings and no long-term care insurance. Your car and home will not be calculated into your assets to determine eligibility. For more information on Medicaid in California, check out their state page, Medi-Cali, or visit a local agency in Orange County.
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