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Tulsa Alzheimer’s Care

Every day thousands of people are faced with Alzheimer’s disease, whether they are living with it or caring for a loved one with it.  More than 60,000 people over the age of 65 are living with Alzheimer’s disease in Oklahoma, which equals about 11 percent of seniors. By 2025, the total could increase to 76,000 because of the rapidly aging population.  There are a variety of programs and groups available in Tulsa to help families and patients with Alzheimer’s.

The  Alzheimer’s Association has a chapter in Tulsa, which provides support to both Alzheimer’s patients and families through education, support groups, caregiver resources, research, and 24-hour assistance. There are nearly a dozen Alzheimer’s nursing home care facilities in Tulsa, including these highly rated ones on Harvest Homes, Storey Oaks, Saint Simeon’s Senior Community, and Legend at Tulsa Oaks.

Facts about Alzheimer’s disease in Oklahoma

Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number could increase to nearly 16 million by 2050.

Nearly one in every three seniors die from either Alzheimer’s or dementia.

There has been a 79 percent increase in Alzheimer’s deaths since 2000 in Oklahoma.

Approximately 222,000 caregivers spent around 2.5 million hours unpaid to assist a loved one with Alzheimer’s care in 2015.

The total value of this unpaid care is around $3.1 billion.

Medicaid paid nearly $457 million for Alzheimer’s care in 2016.

What makes up Alzheimer’s care?

A family can select a variety of care options for the Alzheimer’s patient including day care programs, in-home care with visiting nurses, or full live-in residential nursing homes.  Some memory care units are separate facilities while some nursing homes just have different wings for Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s care around the clock supervision.  The caregiver also needs to ensure that the patient is as comfortable with surroundings as possible and supply things that invoke memory and familiarity. Patients need to be watched continuously to prevent falls and wandering, which are both normal.

Alzheimer’s patients also need someone to supervise eating to make sure they are eating and drinking plenty along with providing assistance to eat.

How much is Alzheimer’s care in Tulsa?

The cost of Alzheimer’s care continues to grow because the population is also aging with the Baby Boomer generation.  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 varying price points, and Alzheimer’s care is typically grouped with other skilled nursing care in these surveys.

Genworth conducted a 2016 Cost of Care Survey to assist with future financial planning for 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. Tulsa’s median monthly costs were below this median with semi-private rooms averaging $4,410 a month and private rooms averaging $5,703 a month. By 2016, the monthly costs of these rooms could increase to $5,754 and $7,441 respectfully.

Managing your bills

Quality care can cost a pretty penny.  Patients can live with Alzheimer’s disease for a long time costing thousands upon thousands a year.  Some families pay out of their savings or provide unpaid care for their loved one.  However, there are a few ways to save that does not affect the quality of care.

How to save money

Choosing a semi-private room in a nursing care facility can decrease your loved one’s health care costs tremendously.  With figures from the Genworth’s Tulsa findings, semi-private rooms cost approximately $1,300 less a month than private rooms, saving you $15,500 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.

You could also save money by having your loved one live at home and visit an adult day care facility while you or another caregiver are away during the day, also help prevent caregiver burnout.

Oasis Adult Day Services provides individualized care for Alzheimer’s patients with health monitoring, meals, therapy, social enrichment, and educational and memory activities.

LIFE PACE is a program with comprehensive senior health care.  They employ a team approach with medical, social, personal, and nutritional assistance.  They also provide caregiver support and assistance.

Using a daycare facility and living at home saves a lot of money for care.  With this type of care, you will need to provide care at night and on the weekends.  Alzheimer’s patients need constant monitoring and care for their safety.

Insurance coverage

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 policy limits, coverage, and any gaps in the policy.  

It is also important to make sure to keep up with payments to avoid a lapse in the policy, so automatic payments are helpful since you have a lot on your plate. Long-term care policies can save families money for medical care down the road, especially with a condition like Alzheimer’s.  

You may want to consider looking into a policy for yourself, so you don’t have to worry about putting a strain on finances later in life.

Veterans and widows of veterans may be eligible for the VA Aid & Attendance pension to assist with medical bills. For information on eligibility requirements and how to apply, visit Oklahoma Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

For seniors who do not have long-term care insurance or the money to pay for nursing home care, Medicaid may cover this cost. This federal-state program is a viable option.  Your car and home are not considered as part of your calculated assets for eligibility. For more information on Medicaid in Oklahoma, visit the State’s Consumer Assistance website or office.

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