Every day thousands of people are faced with Alzheimer’s disease in Florida either having the disease or caring for someone with it. More than 520,000 people over the age of 65 are living with Alzheimer’s disease in Florida. By 2025, the total could increase to 720,000, or 38.5 percent, with the Baby Boomer aging population. There are numerous programs and support groups available in St. Petersburg to assist the families, health care providers, and patients with Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Association has a local chapter for the Florida Gulf Coast. This organization offers support to Alzheimer’s patients and families through training, support groups, caregiver resources and education, and 24-hour assistance. There are nearly a dozen Alzheimer’s nursing home care options in St. Petersburg, including these highly-rated ones on SeniorAdvisor.com: Inspired Living at Ivy Ridge, Osprey Health Care Center, Grand Villa of Saint Petersburg, Bristol Court ALF, Brentwood Senior Living Community, Westminster Suncoast, and Access Adult Family Care Home.
More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and that number could increase to nearly 16 million by 2050.
Nearly one in every three seniors who die each year has either Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in Florida.
In 2016, approximately 1.1 million caregivers spent around 1.3 billion hours unpaid to assist a loved one with Alzheimer’s care.
The estimated value of this unpaid care is around $15.9 billion.
Health care costs for caregivers increased by $785 million.
Medicaid paid nearly $2.279 billion for Alzheimer’s care.
A family can select from a variety of care options for the Alzheimer’s patient including day care programs, in-home care with visiting health aides, or live-in residential nursing homes. Some nursing homes have standalone memory care units while others just have designated areas or wings for Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s care requires around the clock supervision. The caregiver also needs to ensure the patient is as comfortable with surrounding and create familiarity. Patients need to be watched actively to stop falls and wandering, which are both normal. Alzheimer’s patients also need someone to supervise their food intake to make sure they are eating and drinking plenty along with providing eating assistance.
The cost of Alzheimer’s care continues to grow because the Baby Boomer population is also aging. The Fiscal Times found that the cost of Alzheimer’s care in the United States is now more than $226 billion. It is hard to determine how much this means per person because of the various care options available with different costs, prices also range by geographic area, and Alzheimer’s care expenses are included with other skilled nursing care in these surveys.
Genworth conducted a 2016 Cost of Care Survey to help plan for the expenses of long-term care. They determined the nation’s median monthly cost for nursing home care was $6,844 for a semi-private room and $7,698 for a private room. St. Petersburg’s averages were higher with semi-private room costs averaging $7,574 monthly, and private room costs averaging $8,973 monthly. In the next ten years, the monthly price of these rooms could increase to $10,179 and $12,059 respectively.
Quality care is pretty expensive. Patients can live with Alzheimer’s disease for a long time costing thousands upon thousands a year. Some families tap into their savings or provide unpaid care for their loved one to reduce expenses. However, there are a few ways to save that without compromising the quality of health care.
Choosing a semi-private room in a nursing care facility can decrease your loved one’s health care costs tremendously. Using the Genworth’s findings from above, semi-private rooms cost approximately $1,399 less a month than private rooms, which can save about $16,800 a year. It is important to factor in whether your loved one could handle a roommate and additional visitors. Ask the nursing facility about their policies for shared rooms and see how your loved one feels about the additional company.
Another way to save money is to care for your loved one at home. You can find respite care at adult day care centers for when you need to work or even need a break. These programs provide supervised medical care along with engaging activities to keep your loved one active. Sea Breeze Adult Day Care Center offers memory activities, caregiver support, nutritional support, and a safe, secure environment.
Using an adult daycare facility and living at home saves a lot of money for care. With this type of care, you will need to consider care for the night and on the weekends. Alzheimer’s patients need active supervision and care for their safety.
A long-term care insurance policy would cover Alzheimer’s care if your loved one purchased this policy. Discuss with your insurance agent to examine the limits, coverage, and any gaps in the policy. It is also important to make sure to keep up with payments to avoid a lapse of coverage, so automatic payments are helpful to avoid forgetting to pay.
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 medical bills. For information on eligibility requirements and how to apply, visit the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs. You can also visit a local county office if you wish to apply or ask questions face-to-face.
For seniors who do not have long-term care insurance or the money to pay for nursing home care, Medicaid may cover this cost. Your asset calculation does not include your car and primary home for your eligibility. For more information on Medicaid in Florida, visit the government’s benefits website or visit a local office.
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