When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, most family members’ first thoughts are anger or sadness—not how they’ll pay for their loved one’s care. Unfortunately, this means many families are unprepared for the financial burden of memory care. As your loved one’s condition progresses, it will become clear how expensive it can be to get your loved one the care they need.
Especially if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s or dementia, financially planning for long-term memory care is the best option to ensure you or your loved one can live safely and comfortably.
The Importance of Financial Planning for Memory Care
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive condition in the country. On average, memory care is 20–30% more expensive than assisted living care, making financial planning a vital part of your loved one’s future.
Planning ahead for the costs of memory care allows your loved one to make decisions about their future care while they are still sound of mind. Knowing that they will be able to get the help they need in a safe, comfortable environment can significantly improve peace of mind and quality of life for both you and your family member. In addition, a solid financial plan and adequate savings can prevent or greatly reduce medical debt passed on to a spouse or children.
Many with conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia struggle to manage their own finances, even years before diagnosis. In the early stages of their condition, financial planning helps ensure your loved one has money for the necessities, like food and toiletries, as well as to pay the bills. In later stages, financial planning will be instrumental in getting your loved one set up in a quality memory care unit or finding someone to provide in-home care.
The Cost of Long-Term Memory Care
Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey estimates the cost of memory care in Minnesota is somewhere around $5,635 per month, but the true cost will depend on the level of care your loved one needs. Adult Day Health Care tends to be less expensive, while a private nursing home can easily double that cost.
As You Plan for Memory Care…
Whether you’re planning for long-term memory care for yourself or a loved one, there are several factors that will affect the cost. As you plan, consider using a document, like this one from the Alzheimer’s Association, where you can record your assets, income, and expenses to keep information organized. It can also be beneficial to meet with a financial planner to get professional assistance and advice.
Review Medical Insurance Plans
Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care but may help temporarily after a hospital stay if you meet the criteria.
Review Veteran Assistance Programs
If you or your loved one is a Veteran, the VA may cover a variety of services associated with memory care, like Home Based Primary Care and Adult Day Health Care.
For more information on obtaining memory care through the VA, go here.
Consider Long-Term Care Insurance
With a long-term care insurance policy, you or your loved one will pay a premium and be able to make claims if the need for long-term care services arises. Investing in long-term care insurance is a gamble, as there’s a chance your loved one won’t use it. However, for some older adults, like those with a family history of dementia, it may be the right option.
Before you purchase, always ensure you know your policy’s limitations and covered services.
Identify Financial Trustees
Which members of your family will be able to help with financial tasks, like making payments and managing household budgets? As you plan for long-term memory care, encourage your loved one to identify someone they trust to make financial decisions once they are no longer capable of doing so.
Know Your Assets
Encourage your loved one to trust someone, whether it’s you or a financial advisor, with the knowledge of their financial assets. As their condition progresses, it may become hard for them to recall these assets, severely undercutting your ability to pay for long-term memory care.
Choose the Best Memory Care Option
When it comes time to choose a memory care unit for your loved one, turn to the Good Shepherd Community. Our cottages provide a safe, cozy atmosphere for those living with memory loss, and our expertly trained staff provides supervision and medical assistance 24/7.