Alzheimer’s disease touches the lives of thousands of people in California, whether someone is diagnosed with the disease or is a caregiver for a loved one. In California, there are more than 588,000 people over the age of 55 living with Alzheimer’s, which is around one-tenth of the nation’s Alzheimer’s patients. With the rapidly aging population, this number could double in California alone by 2030, and the number of patients with Alzheimer’s could grow to 1.1 million. Numbers like this can be scary, but there is help along with resources for the families to help manage the condition.
The nation’s Alzheimer’s Association has a chapter in the Oakland/Bay area. This Association provides assistance for both families and the patient through education, research, support groups, and 24-hour help lines. There are more than a dozen nursing care facilities with Alzheimer’s care, including some highly rated facilities on SeniorAdvisor.com: Sunrise at Oakland Hill, Mercy Retirement and Care, Lakeside Park, Grand Lake Gardens, and Dimond Care.
More than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s in the United States, and this number will continue to grow to nearly 16 million by 2050.
Alzheimer’s disease ranks fifth in the leading cause of death in California, and the deaths from this disease have increased by 169 percent since 2000.
In 2015, approximately 1.6 million caregivers gave 1.8 million hours of unpaid hours to assist a family member, friend or loved one with Alzheimer’s care.
The amount of unpaid California Alzheimer’s care and support in 2015 was $22.2 billion.
The health costs of care added to the stress of caregivers by costing nearly $936 million in 2015.
There are more than 5,000 Californians and Nevadans that volunteering with the Northern California Alzheimer’s Association Chapter.
There are more than 150 support groups for Alzheimer’s in Northern California and Northern Nevada.
The vast majority of programs are free of charge.
There are different forms of care available including at-home care by trained medical providers, day care programs, or residential care at a memory care facility. Some of these facilities are part of other nursing homes or can have their separate facility or building for cognitive impairment assistance.
The goal and importance of this care should be to provide a soothing and recognizable environment under a watchful eye to prevent falls and drifting. It’s also important to include activities to keep the seniors in tune with their surroundings. Alzheimer’s patients need supervision during the day to ensure that he or she is eating and drinking plenty and may need help to eat.
With the rapid growth in aging from the Baby Boomer Generation, the costs of Alzheimer’s care is growing just as fast. The Fiscal Times stated that the cost of Alzheimer’s care has surpassed $226 billion just in the United States. It is hard to determine the actual cost per patient and household due to varying costs by location and type of care they receive. Alzheimer’s care can also be grouped with other skilled nursing care if they are located in the same facility.
Genworth conducted a 2016 Cost of Care Survey and found the national median cost for nursing home care per month was $6,844 for a semi-private room and $7,698 for a private room. In the San Francisco/Oakland/Bay Area, the median costs were significantly higher with semi-private rooms averaging $12,517 and private rooms costing an average of $15,193 monthly. By 2026, these costs could rise to $16,822 and $20,418 respectively.
Unfortunately, to get high-quality care for Alzheimer’s, families may take a financial hit, due to how long patients can survive with the disease. The family may have to pay out of their own pocket getting into savings or giving unpaid care just to help. There are a few ways you can save money to help lower the cost, and these savings don’t mean you have to lower your standards on the quality of care.
Just having a roommate in a nursing care facility can lessen costs considerably. Based on Genworth’s Bay-area figures, semi-private rooms cost nearly $2,700 less a month than private rooms—that could be a tremendous savings of $32,112 a year! However, sharing is only an option if your loved one can deal with having another person in the room and the roommate’s visitors. Ask your potential care centers their opinion on roommates and what their policies are for visitors.
If you want your loved one to live at home, you can have the patient go to adult day programs for respite care and supervision while you are at work or need a break. Bay Area Community Services specializes in working with seniors with memory disorders and runs a program for them to social and participate in guided activities
Alzheimer’s Services of the East Bay also has three Adult Day Health Care Programs. This facility is inexpensive and can give family members a break and the time they need to work. Using an adult day program will save a lot of money compared to live-in Alzheimer’s care, but there would still need to be caregivers during the evening hours.
If your loved one has a long-term care insurance policy, it should cover Alzheimer’s care. Discuss with your insurance agency about what coverage the policy has and see what the limits are. You will want to make sure this policy doesn’t lapse, which means paying on time. Long-term care policies can save families a lot of money, so you may want to consider getting one for yourself.
For veterans and widows of veterans, they may be eligible for the VA Aid & Attendance pension to assist with health costs. You can contact one of the Alameda County’s VA benefits offices to see the requirements for eligibility and how to apply.
Medicaid covers nursing home care and is a viable option for patients who do not have long-term care coverage and can’t afford to pay for care on their own. This federal-state program is for low-income seniors, and your home and car are not considered assets. For more information on Medicaid in California, visit Medi-Cali or apply at a regional agency in Alameda County.
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