Washington, DC Alzheimer’s Care
Alzheimer’s disease statistics in the United States are increasing every year with no signs of decline for this incurable disease. 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 climb to over $1 trillion by 2050.
In Washington, DC, over 9,000 people age 65 and older live with Alzheimer’s. The good news is that the projected numbers show Washington, DC as maintaining this figure compared to the lower 48 which will experience dramatic increases in newly diagnosed cases in the next 10 years.
The National Capital Area Chapter in Fairfax, Virginia serves the Washington, DC Area for the Alzheimer’s Association. This resource provides support and education to Alzheimer’s patients, family members, and caregivers. It features an online Caregiver Center, Early Stages Education program, and the Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch, a free clinical study-matching program that may help some patients manage the cost of treatment.
Alzheimer’s care can take many forms depending on the patient and the type of care required. There are many senior assisted living options in Washington, DC. Always research and compare the costs before committing to one.
Facts on Alzheimer’s in Washington, DC
Alzheimer’s affects the quality of life for patients and caregivers:
Every 67 seconds, someone in the United States develops the disease.
In the year 2013, 130 people died of Alzheimer’s disease in the District of Columbia. The mortality rate is 20 percent (per 100,000).
In 2014, there were 27,000 Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in Washington, DC devoting 31 million hours of unpaid care. This equates to $378 million of unpaid care.
Due to the stress caregivers experience, the higher health care cost of caregivers in 2014 in the District of Columbia was $26 million.
Types of Alzheimer’s Care in Washington, DC
Alzheimer’s care services can take the form of in-home care, adult day centers, assisted living facilities, and skilled nursing facilities, also referred to as nursing homes. These communities can be freestanding, combined, or attached to a larger facility, like a hospital.
Care should be based on the disease stage progression. In the early- stage of the disease, the patient is able to function independently with only small reminders. In the middle-stage, the patient will need more help, including dressing. 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 and bed throughout the day.
During any stage of the disease, it is critical that the patient be in familiar surroundings. Supervision and a daily routine are recommended as daily tasks become challenging. Studies show that the later stages of the disease can be delayed by engaging the patient in 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.”
The Estimated Cost and Payment Options in Washington, DC
Learning the median rates for common types of care can help families budget. Families may opt for in-home care during the early-stage and only resort to a skilled nursing facility when the disease progresses. An in-home health aide in the District of Columbia charges an average $22 per hour as reported by the 2015 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. An adult day center charges an average of $99 per day. The median rate for an assisted living facility with a single occupancy room with one bed is $7838 per month. Nursing home rates are higher than assisted living facilities. Both a semi-private room and a private room charge an average rate of $98,550 per year.
The National Capital Area Chapter can provide resources and ideas to help manage costs, including a clinical study option. Many senior citizens in Washington, DC use Medicare as their primary insurance to pay for Alzheimer’s care. As the nation’s capital and home to many military families, the VA Aid and Attendance benefit may be an option for those that served in the armed forces and their spouses. This benefit pays for personal care regardless of whether the patient is living at home or in a facility. Other options include retirement benefits and DC Medicaid.
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