Alzheimer’s disease touches the lives of thousands in Texas. You are not alone if you have recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or are caring for a loved one with the disease. In 2017, approximately 360,000 people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease in Texas alone. With a statistic like that, it’s nice to know that there are no more resources to assist families, doctors, caregivers, and patients with this disease.
Laredo is part of the South Texas Chapter of the national Alzheimer’s Association. This organization provides assistance for the family and patient through education, research, support groups, and 24-hour help lines. There are some facilities and in-home care near Laredo that provide Alzheimer’s care including Regent Care Center of Laredo, Brightstar of Laredo, Caring Senior Service, and Home Helpers.
Alzheimer’s is a great health and quality of life concern throughout Texas and the rest of the country.
More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number could increase to nearly 16 million by 2050.
Alzheimer’s was the 6th leading cause of death in Texas in 2014, and this is an 113 percent increase since 2000.
There were 1.4 million unpaid caregivers in Texas that provided 1.6 billion unpaid hours of their time to help a loved one, friend, neighbor, or other with Alzheimer’s.
The estimated monetary value of unpaid Alzheimer’s caregiving was $19.9 billion in Texas alone.
Caregiving is stressful and increased the health expenses for these caregivers by $815 million.
Approximately 1 in every three seniors has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia when they die.
Almost 23 percent of individuals in hospice care have a primary diagnosis of some form of dementia.
The San Antonio and South Texas Chapter assists those in the Corpus Christi and Rio Grande Valley and has various local programs available.
Alzheimer’s care can also be in-home care provided by a professionally trained provider, a day program specific to seniors with Alzheimer’s, or residential care in a memory care community. Alzheimer’s or memory care communities can be part of a larger nursing home facility.
Whatever the type of care, it is important that the environment is comfortable and familiar, there will be constant supervision to prevent falls and wandering, and activities to keep the seniors active and involved. Alzheimer’s patients need to be supervised throughout to manage what and when they eat, and they may require assistance eating during meals.
Alzheimer’s care is growing along with the cost. The Fiscal Times reported that the cost of Alzheimer’s care in the United States had exceeded $226 billion. It is hard to break down this cost per person from this total because prices vary per geographic location, the type of care used, and Alzheimer’s care is typically grouped in with all other nursing home costs in surveys.
The 2016 national median monthly cost for nursing home care was $6,844 for a semi-private room and $7,698 for a private room, according to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey. In Laredo, the median prices were significantly lower. A semi-private room averaged $4,532 monthly while a private room averaged $5,049. In ten years, local costs are estimated to increase to $6,300 and $7,000, respectively.
Quality care for Alzheimer’s can cost a lot of money, and patients can live with the disease for a very long time raising the expense even more. Some patient families are faced to pay from their savings and retirement accounts or look for unpaid care to prevent high costs. There are some ways to save money and not lower the quality of care.
Having your loved one share a room at a memory care community can reduce costs tremendously. Using Genworth’s Laredo figures from above, semi-private rooms cost approximately $500 less per month than a private room, which could save around $6,000 a year. Remember that not all patients can handle a roommate, which will also mean additional visitors. You know your loved one better than anyone else. Check with the nursing facility to check on their recommendations and their policies for shared rooms.
You can also save money by sending your loved one to an adult day program for dementia or Alzheimer’s for respite care while you are at work. These care centers take care of your loved one both physically and mentally, so you don’t feel as overwhelmed all the time. These services cost less than live-in Alzheimer’s care. The City of Laredo has a few adult day care facilities listed on their website.
If your loved one has a long-term care insurance policy, it should cover Alzheimer’s care costs. Talk to your insurance agency to discuss this policy including coverage, limits, policy gaps, and other stipulations. Be sure to keep up with payments or sign up for automatic payments to prevent any lapse in the policy.
Veterans and widows of veterans who served during a time of war 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 more information or to apply.
Medicaid covers more than half of the nursing home patients in Texas. Medicaid is a viable option to pay for Alzheimer’s care for seniors who do not have long-term care insurance or the money to pay out of pocket. The federal-state program is for low-income older adults who have limited assets, which does not include your home or car. To learn more about Medicaid in Texas, visit the Your Texas Benefits page. There are also 18 community partners in Laredo where you can get additional information in person.
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