More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. In Louisiana, there are 80,000 people over the age of 65 with this disease, which equals about 13 percent of the senior population. With the aging population, this total could increase to 110,000 by 2025. To assist patients and families with care and questions, there are several support groups, medical facilities, and other resources available.
The Alzheimer’s Association has a chapter in Louisiana offering patients and families support groups, caregiver resources, research for the disease, education, and 24-hour assistance. There are seven Alzheimer’s nursing home/memory care facilities in or near New Orleans, including these with a four-star or higher rating on SeniorAdvisor.com: Vista Shores, Peristyle Residence Honeysuckle House, Tranquil Living, Sunrise of Metairie, and Henican House.
Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease with a chance of that number increasing to 16 million by 2050.
Nearly one in three seniors die each year with either Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in Louisiana.
Since 2000, the number of Alzheimer’s deaths has increased 86 percent.
Approximately 231,000 caregivers spent around 2.6 million unpaid hours caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s in 2015.
The approximate value of this unpaid care is around $3.2billion.
Medicaid costs for caring for people with Alzheimer’s in 2016 was $657 million.
There are a variety of care options for Alzheimer’s patients such as in-home care, day care programs, and round the clock care at a residential nursing home facility. Some nursing homes have memory care units attached, while other memory care units may stand alone.
It is important to actively supervise Alzheimer’s patients. The environment also needs to be inviting with a familiar feel. Alzheimer’s patients may wander or fall quickly, so constant supervision is a must. Eating can be difficult for the patient both the physical act and remembering to eat and drink enough throughout the day.
Alzheimer’s care is growing and so is the cost with the aging population, mainly the Baby Boomer generation. The Fiscal Times reported on the price of Alzheimer’s care in the United States and stated that the cost had exceeded $226 billion. It is nearly impossible to break this down to a 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 with these types of surveys.
Genworth performed a 2016 Cost of Care Survey to provide information on the costs of long-term care to help people plan for the future. In the survey, Genworth noted that the nation’s median monthly costs for nursing home care was $6,844 for a semi-private room and $7,698 for a private room.
Good news is that New Orleans’ median monthly costs were lower than the national median with semi-private rooms costing averaging $5,171 a month and private rooms averaging $5,694 a month. By 2016, the monthly charge for these rooms could rise significantly to $6,949 and $7,652 respectfully.
Quality care for Alzheimer’s can cost a lot of money, and patients can live with the disease for a very long time costing more and more over time. Some patient families are faced to pay from their savings account and looks for unpaid care with the high costs. Luckily, there are a few ways you can save some money on care costs and not have to lower your standards.
Having your loved one stay in a semi-private room versus a private room can reduce costs tremendously. Using the figures from the Genworth’s New Orleans results, semi-private rooms cost approximately $525 less per month than private rooms, saving about $6,300 a year. Not all patients can handle a roommate along with additional visitors. You know your loved one better than anyone else. Also, check with a nursing facility to check on their recommendations and their policies for shared rooms.
Another possible cost savings is to use adult day care while your loved one lives at home. These care centers take care of your loved one both physically and mentally while you are away at work and give you a break, so you don’t feel as overwhelmed all the time.
JCC New Orleans offers an Alzheimer’s Care and Enrichment Program for respite care with a qualified staff in a safe environment. They engage participants in activities such as exercise, art, cooking, music, visits with preschoolers, and more. They also offer monthly caregiver support groups.
Greenwalt Adult Day Healthcare Center offers full-day services to those living with Alzheimer’s disease. Programs include nutritional meals, prescription management, exercise classes, wellness and health monitoring, counseling and support for caregivers, social activities including music and art, and intergenerational projects. PACA (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) manages Greenwalt, which is affiliated with Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans.
You need to remember that you will need to be ready to care for your loved one in the evening or on weekends or have help during those times, too, since Alzheimer’s patients need constant supervision for their safety and well-being.
If your loved one has a long-term care insurance policy, Alzheimer’s care would most likely be covered under this policy. Talk to your insurance agency to discuss this policy including coverage, limits, policy gaps, and stipulations. Be sure to keep up with payments or sign up for automatic payments to prevent any lapse in the policy. Long-term care policies can save families thousands of dollars on health care in the future. Now may be the time for you to check into a policy for yourself so you don’t have to worry about pre-existing conditions. This policy could help you stress less about finances later in life.
Veterans and widows of veterans may be eligible for the VA Aid & Attendance pension to assist with medical bills. For more information about eligibility or to apply, visit or call Louisiana’s Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
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. Cars and homes do not count as assets with Medicaid. For more information on Medicaid, visit Louisiana’s Medicaid website.
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