Dallas Memory Care

Alzheimer’s disease affects thousands of families in Texas. If you’re dealing with a diagnosis or caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you’re far from alone. In 2015, there were 340,000 senior Texans living with this form of dementia, and Alzheimer’s is expected to affect 490,000 older adults across the state within a decade. That’s not great news, but there are more resources now than ever before to help families, physicians, caregivers, and patients cope with the condition.

Dallas has an active chapter of the nationwide Alzheimer’s Association, which provides education, support, and advocacy for patients and families. The Metroplex is also home to dementia day programs and more than 3 dozen Alzheimer’s care communities, including 4 winners of the SeniorAdvisor.com 2016 Best of Senior Living Award: Weismer House, Arbor House, Brookdale White Rock, and Grace Presbyterian Village.

Facts on Alzheimer’s in Texas and in Dallas:

Alzheimer’s is a major public health and quality of life issue in Texas and across the country.

In 2015, 11% of adults over 65 in Texas had Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s was the 6th most common cause of death in Texas in 2012.

In 2014, 1.3 million unpaid caregivers in Texas devoted 1.5 billion hours of their time to helping a loved one, neighbor or friend with Alzheimer’s.

The dollar value of unpaid Alzheimer’s caregiving by Texans in 2014 was $18.4 billion.

The stress of caregiving raised the health expenses of those unpaid caregivers by $716 million.

The Greater Dallas chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association served more than 102,000 local residents in FY 2015 with information, education, safety programs, and early-stage support.

The Dallas chapter helped match 997 local Alzheimer’s patients with clinical trials between July 2014 and June 2015.

What is Alzheimer’s care?

Alzheimer’s care can take the form of in-home care by a specially trained provider, day care programs designed for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairments, or residential care in an Alzheimer’s or memory care community. These care communities can be freestanding or part of a larger nursing home complex.

In all cases, the emphasis should be on a comforting and familiar-seeming environment, careful supervision to prevent falls and wandering, and social activities that keep seniors engaged with their surroundings. Alzheimer’s patients must be monitored throughout the day to make sure they get enough to eat and drink, and they may need assistance at mealtimes.

What does Alzheimer’s care cost in the Dallas area?

The high cost of Alzheimer’s care has made headlines in recent years as the number of patients rises. In December 2015, The Fiscal Times reported that Alzheimer’s care costs topped $226 billion for the year in the US alone. Figuring the actual cost a particular patient or family will pay is tricky. Costs vary by location, and most surveys and statistics group Alzheimer’s care with other skilled nursing care.

The national median monthly cost for nursing home care in 2015 was $6,692 for a shared room and $7,604 for a private room, according to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey. In the Metroplex (including 13 counties and the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth), the median costs were lower: $4,745 for a semi-private room and $6,540 for private accommodations. By 2025, local costs are expected to increase to around $6,300 and $8,700, respectively.

Paying for Alzheimer’s care in Dallas

The cost of quality Alzheimer’s care and the length of time that patients can live with the disease mean that many families take a financial hit—by spending their own savings or providing unpaid care–to help their loved ones. Before going that route, consider how you might save money on care or find other ways to cover the cost.

Managing costs

A roommate can help cut costs for seniors who need to live in a dementia-care center. Based on Genworth’s Dallas-area figures, semi-private rooms cost almost $1,800 per month less than private rooms—a potential savings of $21,500 per year. Sharing is an option as long as your loved one can handle the presence of a roommate and his or her visitors. When you visit Alzheimer’s care centers, ask about their policies and recommendations for room selection.

For family caregivers looking after loved ones at home, adult day programs for dementia patients offer a respite care and supervision during the workday. Among the options available in the Dallas metro area are Encore Memory Care Day Stay and Friends Place Adult Day Services, both of which operate at multiple sites around the Metroplex. These services cost less than live-in Alzheimer’s care.

Funding Care

If your parent has a long-term care policy, it most likely covers Alzheimer’s care, including specialized day care. Talk with your agent so you know what the policy does and doesn’t pay for and what the payout limit is. Consider setting up automatic payments to keep the policy from lapsing, and take the time now to consider a similar policy for your own care later on.

Veterans and widows of veterans who served during a time of war (even if they didn’t see combat) may be eligible for the VA Aid & Attendance pension to help pay for personal care and skilled nursing care. In Texas, contact the VA’s regional benefits office for a complete list of eligibility requirements and to apply. You can also learn more about the A&A program here.

Medicaid covers more than half of the nursing home patients in Texas, and it’s the main option for older adults without long-term care coverage who can’t pay out of pocket for care. The federal-state program is for low-income seniors who have limited assets. Your primary home and car are not counted as assets when applying for Medicaid. To learn more about Medicaid in Texas, visit the Your Texas Benefits page or contact one of the 19 Dallas-area agencies the state works with to help people apply for state benefits.

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