Alzheimer’s affects thousands of people in Colorado, including caregivers. In Colorado, there are more than 67,000 people over the age of 65 living with Alzheimer’s disease. By the year 2020, that number could climb to 76,000 due to the aging population. There are several support groups and medical facilities equipped to handle patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
The Alzheimer’s Association has a local chapter in Denver. This Association provides education, research, support groups, caregiver resources, and 24-hour help lines for both patients and families. There are at least 15 skilled nursing facilities in or near Aurora that provide Alzheimer’s care, including these 2017 Best of Senior Living on SeniorAdvisor.com: Chelsea Place Memory Care and Juniper Village at Aurora. Also, these facilities also provide care and have 4 or more star ratings on SeniorAdvisor.com: Brookdale Aurora, Cardan Manor, and Ashley Manor.
More than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s in the United States. This number could increase to nearly 16 million by 2050.
Nearly one out of three seniors that die each year have either Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in Colorado.
The number of Alzheimer’s deaths in Colorado has increased by 85 percent since 2000.
239,000 caregivers spent nearly 272 million hours unpaid to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s in 2015.
The total value of this unpaid care was approximately $3.3 billion.
Medicaid paid $508 million for Alzheimer’s care in 2016.
You can select from various options for Alzheimer’s care including at-home care, day care programs, or live-in residential programs. If you choose at-home care, you can have a medical professional come to the house to help with care. For residential live-in care, a skilled nursing facility may have a separate wing for memory care, or there may be a separate facility that just concentrates on cognitive impairment assistance.
Whatever care you choose, you want the environment to be familiar and comfortable. Alzheimer’s patients need active supervision to prevent falls and wandering, which are both normal. Also, the Alzheimer’s patient will need supervision to ensure he or she is eating and drinking plenty. He or she may also need assistance eating.
The Baby Boomer is rapidly aging, increasing the costs of Alzheimer’s care. The Fiscal Times recently reported that Alzheimer’s care in the United States costs more than $226 billion. The cost is difficult to breakdown per person since prices vary per location, types of care, and Alzheimer’s care is typically grouped with other skilled nursing care if they are located in the same facility.
In the 2016 Cost of Care Survey by Genworth, the survey found the national median for nursing home costs to be $6,844 a month for a semi-private room and $7,698 a month for a private room.
The Denver area was a little higher than the national median with semi-private rooms averaging $7,559 a month and private rooms costing around $8,578 monthly. By 2026, these monthly costs could increase significantly to $10,159 and $11,528 respectively.
Alzheimer’s care is very expensive, and families could take a financial hit because patients can live for a long time with the disease and need this costly care, making the family tap into their savings or provide hours of unpaid care to just help. There are a few money saving opportunities that you can look into without having to lower your standards on quality of care.
Selecting to have a roommate in a skilled nursing facility reduces costs considerably. Using Genworth’s Denver-area figures, semi-private rooms cost more than $1,000 less a month than private rooms—that could be a tremendous savings of more than $12,000 a year! Remember that sharing a room might not work for every patient, so be sure to think about how your loved one would feel with another person living with them and additional visitors. Ask the nursing facilities their thoughts on shared rooms and about their policies.
If your loved one wants to live at home, you can send him or her to an adult day care program for respite care and supervision while you are at work or need a break. Alpine Adult Day Care provides care services for elderly and those with disabilities. They are easily accessible in the heart of Aurora. They offer fresh food every day, video monitoring, fitness activities, games, trips, games, and other entertainment to engage participants.
InnovAge offers All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) that provides a custom plan for every patient with health care, day programs, and more. They pick up in the morning and bring the patients back home. Choosing to use this method versus live-in residential care is another way to save significantly, but still, give your loved one quality care during the day. You will need to manage care during the night and on weekends.
If your loved one has a long-term care insurance policy, it most likely covers Alzheimer’s care. Talk to your insurance agency about the coverage, any limits, and all other conditions. You will want to make sure if this insurance is paid so it does not lapse; signing up for automatic payments will allow you to ensure payment is received on time. Long-term care policies can save families thousands of dollars, so now may be the time to consider a policy for your family.
For war veterans and widows of veterans, they may be eligible for the VA Aid & Attendance pension to assist with health costs. Contact the Denver Regional Benefit Office to learn more about this program.
For low-income seniors that do not have a long-term care insurance policy, Medicaid is a viable option. This federal-state program does factor your home or car as assets when calculating your eligibility. To learn more about Medicaid in Colorado, visit the state’s Medicaid website.
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