Deciding about long-term care for your loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease


What to consider when caring for someone with Alzheimer's

There is a lot to consider when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, and one of the things that needs to be considered is long-term care.

Why is Alzheimer’s so difficult on family members?

Children need time to adjust and learn how to care for their loved one who has Alzheimer’s. Finances may be strained due to the additional work needed to care for both a child and an older person with dementia and there are many other considerations. For families who have Alzheimer’s and wish to keep the opportunity for long-term care, the topic of “long-term care” can be a difficult decision.

A person who has Alzheimer’s may not want to live at home for a long time. In such cases, a nursing home or other facility would probably be an appropriate place for the person with Alzheimer’s to live if there are no caregivers available.

Is there financial help for Alzheimer’s patients?

When the decision is made to make a nursing home the person’s long-term place of residence, there are options for financing the care. There are a few different financing options available in this market:

Is Alzheimer’s care covered by insurance?

  • Long-term care insurance pays for necessary home care and nursing facility (nursing home) costs during the period of life when a person has Alzheimer’s disease. These may include assistance with bathing, dressing and feeding. The policy will also help with the cost of hiring a qualified person to provide this care.
  • Privately purchased long-term care insurance would pay the daily costs of having a person stay in a nursing home. This type of policy usually covers at least part of the cost for an adult child to stay with the person with Alzheimer’s. However, it will only cover costs that do not exceed the benefits paid by Medicaid.
  • The hope is that long-term care will be part of a person’s estate plan, but most states do not allow this. In fact, it may not be possible to make a long-term care plan if the decedent was living at home. This can create a situation where an adult child is forced to choose between Medicaid and having his or her parent institutionalized or stay at home.

Does Medicaid cover Alzheimer care?

  • Medicaid pays for some long-term care costs for people who meet specific requirements. But because of federal and state restrictions on these benefits, most people with Alzheimer’s do not qualify for Medicaid. One way that people sometimes qualify is if they are incapable of working and can no longer pay for any part of their care. However, there is a five-year waiting period for this benefit.

How to care for Alzheimer’s patient at home?

If a person with Alzheimer’s is choosing to remain at home, there are options for people to help pay for care. They may choose to hire a professional caregiver for short periods and then provide assistance with housing and daily living needs themselves. Or they can use in-home care services and pay for the costs from their own pocket.

Whatever the decision, it can be overwhelming to have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. The first step is to make sure that a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia has needed care.

The next step? Talk with your loved one, and don’t be shy about asking questions.

Planning ahead for long-term care is one of the most important steps you can take. Try now our interactive tool Should I Move My Relative Into Long-Term Care? It will guide you to determine your choices based on available options.