How Much Does Alzheimer’s Care Cost?
With nearly 44 million seniors currently suffering from Alzheimer’s and that number only set to grow as the senior population increases, memory care is becoming an increasingly important part of the senior care landscape.
Alzheimer’s brings a unique set of challenges that caregivers must take on and many families seek out facilities that specialize in memory care to meet those challenges. Like most senior care options, they’re not cheap.
The Shriver Report found that the average cost of Alzheimer’s care for each patient is $56,800, and 60% of that falls to the family to cover.
That gives you some idea of the kind of expenses you’ll face if a loved one gets an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, but ultimately a lot depends on the kind of care you choose. Many families try to cover much of the caregiving themselves (which can take a real toll on other parts of life), others move their loved one into a facility with full-time care, and others find in-between options that balance the costs against the time and energy commitment required of family members.
Here’s a rundown of your options in the senior care landscape and the kinds of costs typically associated with each. All the prices listed come from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care study.
What Type of Care Is Right for Your Loved One?
Turning to professionals to care for your loved ones can have many benefits. They’re properly trained in the best techniques to deal with patients and can be more present and alert than a family member trying to balance a full life with full-time care.
You have four options for senior care that each offer different levels of help and thus have different costs associated with them.
Adult daycare is, just as it sounds, a facility where you can bring your loved one during the day while you work. A staff of trained professionals will help care for them in that time, making sure they have meals, take their medications on time, and perhaps most importantly, get some social interaction during the day.
If loved ones are able to take on the care duties during the evening and on weekends – in short, during the times when people aren’t typically off at work – then an adult daycare can help fill in the gaps the rest of the time.
Because adult daycares aren’t in-patient facilities, they’re a far more affordable option than the senior care facilities that provide full-time care.
National Average for Annual Cost of Adult Daycare: $17,680
In-home healthcare is like an adult daycare in that it works well as supplementary care for families that are able to care for their loved ones some of the time, but not all day every day. The nice benefit of in-home care is that someone can come directly to the patient’s home. Since 87% of seniors have said they want to age in place, this option helps make that possible.
Since it’s one-on-one care focused on only your loved one, the costs are higher than an adult daycare facility that services a group of seniors at once.
National Average for Annual Cost of Home Health Care: $45,760
Assisted living offers full-time care within a facility a senior can ideally come to see as home. Each facility offers apartments that patients can rent out, social activities throughout the day, meals, and people on staff at all times trained to help residents out with all of the daily tasks of living – like getting dressed in the morning and taking their medications at the right time.
For families that can’t handle a loved one’s care without more constant help, assisted living facilities can step in and take over, while also providing seniors with a lot of activities and social interactions to keep their lives full.
National Average for Annual Cost of Assisted Living: $43,539
Nursing homes also provide full-time care, but with the added benefit of always having a trained healthcare professional on staff. When a senior reaches a point where their healthcare concerns require a level of monitoring that only a trained health professional can provide, then a nursing home becomes the best and safest choice.
Unfortunately, providing a higher level of full-time trained care means higher costs, but some nursing homes take health insurance, Medicare/Medicaid, or long-term care insurance which can help make the costs easier for a family to bear.
National Average for Annual Cost of Nursing Homes: $82,125
As much as possible, it’s smart for families to try to prepare for the financial realities of a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Look into long-term care insurance and gain some familiarity with the memory care options in your community and consider doing a cost-benefit analysis of senior care.
There’s not one right answer when it comes to figuring out the best senior care option for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Only your family and loved one can determine what’s best for you. The right care can make living with Alzheimer’s more manageable for both the patient and their loved ones.
The cost is so individual and really varies from state to state. New Jersey is very expensive and specialized memory care here runs $7-8,000 for AL level. I have seen for some individuals that get daily/hourly support, med management in the home early on in the combining it with some day center activities, they can sometimes avoid or at least delay the the transition to facility care.
Minimum wage for a live-in Home Care Aide in California is $240 a day. That comes to over $87k without payroll taxes.
Seeing these numbers is crazy to me. I cannot believe how expensive it can be to find support and care for a loved one. This definitely puts some things into perspective. Thanks for sharing this.