Financing 101 for Dementia Diagnosis

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Donna Mae Scheib

Financing 101 for Dementia Diagnosis

Posted by Donna Mae Scheib on December 18, 2018

Financing 101 for Dementia Diagnosis

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there is an estimated 5.7 million Americans that are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. The percentage of Alzheimer’s diagnosis has increased 123% between 2000 and 2015. As a prevalent disease in our society, it is important to set up a financing plan after a loved one is diagnosed with dementia.  The Alzheimer’s Association suggests three important steps to consider for seniors and their families to do after facing a diagnosis:

1.Create a Finance Plan

Begin by collecting important legal and financial documents such as:

  • Living Wills
  • Simple, Trust, or Joint Wills
  • Power of Attorneys including Medical, Durable, and Non-Durable
  • Bank account information
  • Deeds, titles, and mortgage papers
  • Monthly bills
  • Credited outstanding statements
  • Insurance policies
  • Stock and Bond Certificates
  • Social Security payment information
  • Retirement Benefit summaries such as a pension
  • Other sources of monthly income

Create a plan for daily living needs and their goals with their lifetime finances. Consider important factors such as:

  • Future caregiving needs
  • Types of assets and insurance
  • Age of the person with dementia and their long-term health outlook

Discuss hiring professional financial and legal advisors that can help with estate planning, preparing legal documents, and find potential resources for you that might not be well known. Be sure to hire someone with experience in elder care or long-term care planning.

2. Make a Long-Term Budget

As Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is a progressive disease, care factors and costs will most likely change over time as more care is needed for daily living. Creating a long-term budget will help to consider factors that might not be covered by insurance including

  • Prescription Drugs
  • Personal Care Supplies
  • In-Home Services
  • Full-Time residential care services
  • Adult day care services
  • A good resource for locating care costs in your area is alz.org/CRF

3. Take Action to Cover Costs

Providing long-term care and medical coverage for a loved one with dementia does not have to be done alone. Look into a variety of financial resources including:

Health care coverage

  • Private coverage through pension benefits
  • Medicare
    • The largest source of health care coverage for individuals 65 and older. Medicare does not cover long-term care or personal aides to help with daily living
  • Medicare Advantage
    • Offers services traditionally not offered by Medicare and normally has requirements of who you can be seen by and various hospitals and healthcare providers
  • Medigap insurance
    • This type of insurance can fill certain Medicare coverage gaps
  • Long-term care insurance
    • Be sure to thoroughly review various policies as they may differ and check to see if Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia is covered.
  • Life insurance
    • A person may be able to borrow from a life insurance policy for cash value or use something called a viatical loan where you are able to receive part of the policy’s face value to date. 
  • Veterans Benefits
    • If you served in the military, be sure to check for various government benefits that you may qualify for such as health and long-term care. Check with your local Veterans Association counselor.
  • Medicaid
    • For those who qualify they may receive medical and long-term care coverage

There are many other financial resources available to those diagnosed with dementia. Be sure to check within your community for public programs including:

  • Adult day care
  • Respite care
  • Meal programs
  • Caregiving support groups

Other retirement benefits and resources may be helpful and it also important to look into government assistance such as social security disability income (for those younger than 65 diagnosed with some form of dementia) and supplemental security income (for those that meet requirements of disability)

For those considering senior living as a place for help with memory care, check out Senior Living Link for more resources for options near you.

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