Alzheimer’s affects thousands of people in Virginia, including caregivers and those with the disease. In Virginia, there are more than 140,000 people over the age of 65 living with Alzheimer’s disease. By the year 2020, that number could climb 35.7 percent to 150,000 due to the aging population. There are several support groups, programs, and medical facilities equipped and ready to handle patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
The Alzheimer’s Association has a local chapter in Southeastern Virginia. This Association provides education, research, support groups, caregiver resources, family orientations, professional training, clinical trials, and 24-hour help lines for both patients and families. There are at least 20 skilled nursing facilities in or near Norfolk that provide Alzheimer’s care, including one of the winners of 2017 Best of Senior Living Awards on SeniorAdvisor.com: Commonwealth Memory Care at Norfolk. Also, the following facilities provide care and have high ratings on SeniorAdvisor.com: Province Place of Depaul, Mayfair House, and Colonial Home Assisted Living.
More than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s in the United States. This number could increase to nearly 16 million by 2050.
Close to one out of three seniors that die each year have either Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in Virginia.
Medicaid costs for caring for people with Alzheimer’s is estimated to be about $826 million.
In 2016, 458,000 caregivers spent nearly 521 million hours unpaid to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
The total value of this unpaid care was around $6.6 billion.
Caregiving stress has also increased the cost of health care for caregivers to $286 million.
You can select from various options for Alzheimer’s care including at-home care, day care programs, or residential programs. If you choose at-home care, you can have a medical professional come to the house for care assistance. For residential live-in care, a skilled nursing facility may have a separate wing for memory care. Some facilities have a standalone building that concentrates on cognitive impairment patients.
No matter the type of care, the primary goal is to have an environment that is familiar and comfortable to the patient. Alzheimer’s patients need active supervision to prevent falls and wandering, which are both normal. Also, the Alzheimer’s patient will need supervision to ensure he or she is eating and drinking enough throughout the day, and the patient may also need assistance eating.
The Baby Boomer is rapidly aging and so are the costs of Alzheimer’s care also increasing. The Fiscal Times recently reported that Alzheimer’s care in the United States costs more than $226 billion. The cost is hard to analyze per person since prices vary per location along with the type of health care. Also, Alzheimer’s care is included in a lump sum with all skilled nursing care.
In the 2016 Cost of Care Survey by Genworth, the survey found the national median for nursing home costs was $6,844 monthly for a semi-private room and $7,698 monthly for a private room. The Norfolk area was pretty much in line with the national median since semi-private rooms averaged $6,540 a month, and private rooms were around $7,726 monthly. By 2026, these monthly costs could increase significantly to $8,789 and $10,383 respectively.
Alzheimer’s care is very expensive. Alzheimer’s patients can live with the disease for a long time, causing families to take a financial hit. Some families may have to utilize savings or provide hours of unpaid care to reduce costs. There are a few money saving opportunities to consider that will not compromise the quality of care.
Selecting to have a roommate in a skilled nursing facility reduces costs considerably. Using Genworth’s Norfolk-area figures from above, private rooms cost around $1,200 more a month than a private room. By choosing a semi-private room, you could save around $14,400 annually. Don’t let the cost savings blind you as some Alzheimer’s patients may not do well with a roommate. Ask the nursing facilities about their experience with shared rooms and Alzheimer’s patients.
If your loved one wants to live at home, you can send him or her to an adult day care program for respite care and supervision while you are at work or need a break. Community VNA offers Adult Day Health Centers to assist adults with medical needs and provide social activities to keep the patient active and engaged. The community is safe and nurturing to give socialization while you are away. The Adult Day Health Center also offers physical activities and additional cognitive stimulation. Your loved one will also receive a hot lunch during the day.
Choosing to use this method versus live-in residential care is another way to save significantly, but still, give your loved one quality care during the day. You will need to continue constant care and supervision over the weekend and in the evenings.
If your loved one has a long-term care insurance policy, it most likely covers Alzheimer’s care. Talk to your insurance agency about the coverage, any limits, and all other conditions. You will want to make sure to pay this insurance premium on time so it does not lapse. Signing up for automatic payments will allow you pay a premium on time.
For war veterans and widows of veterans who served during a time of war, they may be eligible for the VA Aid & Attendance pension to assist with health costs. To learn more about eligibility or to apply for benefits, contact the local Norfolk Benefits Office.
For low-income seniors without a long-term care insurance policies or seniors with minimal assets, Medicaid is a viable option. When determining eligibility, your asset calculation does not include your car or primary home. To learn more about Medicaid in Virginia, visit the state’s Medicaid program website.
Find assisted living in Norfolk near you.