Jacksonville Alzheimer’s Care

Alzheimer’s disease statistics in the United States are staggering. Over 5 million Americans are living with the disease according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Sixteen million people are expected to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s by the year 2050. The cost of caring for loved ones with this disease and other dementias is projected to increase to over $1 trillion by 2050. Out of the 5 million Americans with the disease, 500,000 of these people live in Florida.

Although newly diagnosed cases continue to increase, the support and resources available are numerous. The North Florida Regional Office of the Central and North Florida Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association offer support and education to patients, caregivers, and family members throughout all stages of the disease. Newly diagnosed patients can turn to the Chapter for a First Step Education program and support, both in person and online. The Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch is free and may help to offset some of the cost of treatment by finding clinical studies in the Jacksonville area.

Alzheimer’s care comes in many forms depending on the type of care needed for a particular stage of the disease. SeniorAdvisor.com listed 65 senior living communities in Florida as top-rated. Six of these facilities won the prestigious 2016 Best of Senior Living Award in Jacksonville: The Windsor at Ortega, Atria Park of San Pablo, Brookdale Mandarin Central, Cypress Village, Sunrise of Jacksonville, and Elmcroft of Timberlin Parc.

Alzheimer’s Facts Florida Residents Should Know

Residents of the Sunshine State should be aware of Alzheimer’s disease and its impact. It is a major public health issue and affects the quality of life for both patient and caregiver.

By the year 2025, it is projected that 720,000 senior citizens age 65 and older will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in Florida. This equates to a 44 percent increase in the next 10 years.

As of 2015, 12 percent of senior citizens live with Alzheimer’s disease in the state.

In 2012, more than 5,093 deaths were contributed to Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2014, there were more than 1 million caregivers devoting 1.2 trillion unpaid care hours. This equates to over $14 trillion in unpaid care.

Due to the physical, mental, and emotional stress that Alzheimer’s caregivers experience, the cost of health care for these caregivers has increased to $688 million.

What is Alzheimer’s Care in Florida?

Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia affect 50 percent of people over the age of 85 in this country. Alzheimer’s care services can take the form of in-home care during the early and middle stages, as well as adult day centers, assisted living facilities, and skilled nursing facilities, also referred to as nursing homes. These communities can be freestanding or attached to a larger facility.

In the early-stage of the disease, the patient is able to function independently. In the middle-stage, more responsibility will be required from the caregiver including helping the patient dress and meeting the demands of the patient losing the ability to communicate. This stage can last several months or years. In late-stage progression, the patient will need intensive around-the-clock care and may have difficulty eating and swallowing. The patient may lose the ability to walk and be confined to a wheelchair.

During any stage of the disease, it is critical that the patient is surrounded by familiar items and faces. Supervision and a routine are recommended as daily tasks become more difficult. Studies show that the later stages of the disease can be delayed by engaging the patient in games and other social activities. According to a recent review of 15 studies, cognitively stimulating activities improved the scores on memory and thinking tests, “equivalent to about a six to nine-month delay in worsening of symptoms.”

Estimating the Cost of Care in Jacksonville

The 2015 Genworth Cost of Care Survey reports the median rates for Alzheimer’s care in Jacksonville, Florida. Non-medical Alzheimer’s care services like a home health aide are quite affordable for patients in the early to middle stages. A home health aide in Jacksonville averages between $17 and $21 per hour. An adult day center may be a better option at a median rate of $64 per day.

Patients requiring more care, an assisted living facility with a single occupancy room averages $4,023 per month. For those patients in the later stages, a skilled nursing home will provide a personal care regimen. A semi-private room averages $252 per day or $91,892 per year. A private room costs slightly more at $105,850 per year. The actual cost of Alzheimer’s care in Jacksonville will be dependent on location and type of care needed.

Paying for Care

The local North Florida Regional Office of the Alzheimer’s Association offers support and resources to help manage the cost of care. Many senior citizens in Jacksonville use Medicare as their primary insurance to pay for Alzheimer’s care. Other options include retirement benefits, the VA Aid and Attendance for military and their spouses, and Florida’s Medicaid program.

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