Facing Alzheimer’s is never easy. The impacts of this condition can be felt in every area of life, and it can be hard to escape the added stress. While there is no easy fix for dealing with the repercussions of Alzheimer’s, there are ways to plan ahead to cope with and cover the costs of care.
Budget for Care and Insurance Costs
Regardless of whether you have a family history of Alzheimer’s, you should still make an effort to prepare for long-term care when planning for the future. Even without an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, long-term care is almost an inevitable part of every senior’s future, so it makes sense to include this kind of care in your financial planning. Doing so helps you avoid unpleasant surprises, like finding out that Medicare will not cover the care you need.
Contrary to popular belief, Medicare offers no financial support when it comes to long-term care. However, if you know this ahead of time, you can plan for other ways to finance these costs. For veterans, there may be additional benefits you can tap into. This may include using a VA long-term care facility or accessing financial resources to help you hire in-home care or modify your home. Another benefit of planning ahead is that you are more likely to afford long-term care coverage. This kind of insurance is not for everyone, but if you know you are at increased risk for Alzheimer’s and you are planning in your 50s, long-term supplements may be more accessible for you.
Though death can be difficult to think about, you should consider planning ahead for when that time comes. Burial insurance can ease the financial burden of loved ones when it’s time to make funeral arrangements. This type of insurance can cover funeral costs and help pay off debt, such as loans and medical bills. Before you purchase a policy, decide on a budget by thinking about the funeral arrangements and any debts you want to be covered.
Know How Alzheimer’s Care Needs Will Progress
Often, the need for long-term care is sudden for seniors. This can make it a little more difficult to find compassionate, affordable care. If you or a loved one is showing signs of Alzheimer’s and have had a medical diagnosis, you are in a position of being able to plan out your care more efficiently. That’s because Alzheimer’s typically follows a predictable path of progression. The level of care needed will follow this same path. During the beginning stages, Alzheimer’s patients can still take care of themselves, but they may have difficulty controlling emotions, staying organized, and interacting with others. At this point, seniors may just need a little extra help around the house with cleaning and other daily tasks.
As the disease advances, however, those with the condition can become a danger to themselves and will need constant care. This can mean living with a family member or hiring a home health aide to provide more stable supervision and assistance. In the final stages of Alzheimer’s, nursing homes or skilled-care facilities are a necessity, and unfortunately, death is also inevitable. Knowing this information can be heartbreaking, but it does help individuals and family members better prepare for the financial strains of Alzheimer’s.
Prepare Yourself and Your Family for the Emotional Costs
Bracing your finances for the costs of Alzheimer’s care can save you and your family a lot of headaches as time passes. The real costs of this devastating disease, however, are those that don’t impact your bank account. Knowing what is ahead can be disheartening, but watching the progression of Alzheimer’s in a loved one can be emotionally draining as well.
So, in addition to putting together a financial strategy, be sure to find ways to manage those complicated emotions. For patients, that may mean going to therapy, finding a support group, or looking for a constructive outlet for your pain and anger. It’s common for seniors to experience depression and anxiety after being diagnosed with the disease, but it’s crucial to your well-being that you seek self-care and support. Self-care is also important for caregivers and loved ones so that they can stay strong throughout this painful journey.
Alzheimer’s can leave individuals and their family members feeling helpless. However, you do have the power to plan for the costs of Alzheimer’s care and prepare for the years ahead. By doing so, you will give everyone peace of mind during a time already filled with pain.
Reference: This post is by guest writer June Duncan, caregiver and author of the upcoming book, The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers. Books can be purchased at her website, http://riseupforcaregivers.org/.