Alzheimer’s touches the lives of thousands in Minnesota’s population. In Minnesota alone, there are more than 91,000 adults over the age of 65 living with Alzheimer’s disease. This number could rise to a staggering 120,000 by 2025 due to the rapidly aging population. To help families, there are several support groups, and there are several medical facilities equipped to handle Alzheimer’s patients.
The Alzheimer’s Association has a local chapter in Minnesota-North Dakota. This Association provides research, education, support groups, caregiver information, and 24-hour help lines for both patients and families. There are 19 skilled nursing facilities in or near Saint Paul that provide Alzheimer’s care, including these facilities that have received a four-star or higher rating on SeniorAdvisor.com: Southview Acres Health Care Center, Carondelet Village, New Perspective Senior Living, and Gracewood of Highland Park.
There are more than 5 million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. This number could rise to more than 16 million people by the year 2050.
One out of three seniors that die each year has Alzheimer’s or dementia.
In Minnesota, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death.
In 2015, 249,000 caregivers spent nearly 284 million hours unpaid to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.
The price tag of this unpaid care would total approximately $3.5 billion.
In 2016, Medicaid paid $767 million for Alzheimer’s care.
When deciding how to care for your loved one, you will first need to determine which type of care, such as at-home care with visiting medical staff, adult day care programs while living at home, or live-in residential programs at a skilled nursing facility. For nursing homes that offer Alzheimer’s care, most of them have a separate wing for memory care, or there are facilities that strictly focus on memory care.
The main goals of any Alzheimer’s care program are to make sure the patient feels comfortable in a familiar setting and they have active supervision to prevent falls and wandering. Also, the Alzheimer’s patient will need someone to ensure he or she is eating and drinking enough or assist with eating.
The Baby Boomer is rapidly aging and so are the demands for Alzheimer’s care, increasing the cost. The Fiscal Times recently reported that Alzheimer’s care in the United States topped $226 billion. It is hard to determine how much the average cost is per person because of the wide price range depending on geographic location, the different types of care available, and Alzheimer’s care is typically grouped with other skilled nursing care in these surveys.
Genworth conducts its 2016 Cost of Care Survey and found the national median for nursing home costs to be $6,844 a month for a semi-private room and $7,698 a month for a private room. The Minneapolis/Saint Paul area was slightly lower than the national median with semi-private rooms costing $6,813 a month and private rooms averaging around $7,428 monthly. By 2026, these monthly costs could soar to $8,889 and $9,710 respectively.
Alzheimer’s care is pretty pricey, and some families could face financial hardship dealing with the bills. Alzheimer’s patients tend to live for a long time with the disease and will continue to rack up the medical bills, causing some families to tap into savings or provide hours of unpaid care. There are some ways you can save money and not jeopardize the quality of care.
Having a semi-private room versus a private room could save on your medical bills. Using the Genworth’s Minneapolis data from above, semi-private rooms cost more than $600 less a month than private rooms, which could be a savings of more than $7,000 a year! You will have to consider your loved one and how they could handle a roommate and additional visitors. Discuss sharing rooms with the nursing home and see what their policies are.
If your loved one wants to live at home but you are gone during the day, you can send him or her to an adult day care program for medical and mental care.
Amherst Wilder Foundation offers an Adult Day Health program to improve the quality of lives of individuals who have memory loss and need care during the day. The staff is trained to care for Alzheimer’s patients. Wilder Foundation offers a safe and secure environment and quality care with a team health care approach, flexible scheduling, activities, and wellness programs. This Day Health program offers one of the most affordable ways to provide ongoing care for your loved one.
Choosing to use day programs versus live-in residential care will save you significantly while still giving your loved one quality care during the day. You will need to manage the care at night and on weekends.
A long-term care policy should cover Alzheimer’s care. If your loved one has a policy, talk to your insurance agent to find out the specifics of coverage, limits, and any other conditions.
You may also want to consider automatic payments to ensure the policy is paid on time to prevent a lapse in coverage. Long-term care policies can save families thousands of dollars in the long run. You may want to look into a policy for yourself and your family now to avoid financial hardship later.
For war veterans and widows of veterans, they may be eligible for the VA Aid & Attendance pension to assist with Alzheimer’s care costs. To answer additional questions, contact Minnesota’s Department of Veterans Affairs.
For low-income seniors without a long-term care insurance policy, Medicaid may be a practical option. This federal-state program does consider your home or car as assets when they determine your eligibility. To learn more about Minnesota’s Medicaid program, visit Minnesota’s Department of Human Services Medicaid page.
Find assisted living in Saint Paul near you.