The McNamara Law Firm, PC – An Elder Law and Life Care Planning Law Firm
A recent report from the Alzheimer’s Association states that one in nine Americans age 65 or older currently have Alzheimer’s disease. With the baby boomer generation aging and people living longer, that number is increasing at alarming rates. Alzheimer’s, of course, is just one cause of dementia, so the total number of those with Alzheimers, dementia, or other cognitive impairment is actually much higher.
Caring for someone with a dementia illness is very expensive. As the disease progresses, so does the level of care the person requires, and so do the costs of that care. Options range from in-home care ($25.00 per hour) to assisted living facilities ($4,500.00 - $9,000.00 per month) to nursing homes ($8,100.00 - $25,000.00 per month). Costs continue to rise every year.
Care for a person with dementia can last years, and there are few outside resources to help pay for this kind of care. Health insurance does not cover in-home care, assisted living or nursing home facilities. Medicare covers very little, and only a limited number of days of skilled nursing care after a hospitalization, but not long-term care. MediCal, which does assist significantly with the high cost of skilled nursing facilities, is a financial needs-based program. Planning is typically needed to qualify for Medi-Cal, as the rules are complex. VA benefits for Aid & Attendance will help pay for some care, including assisted living, private caregivers, and residential care facilities for veterans and their spouses who qualify. But again, it is a needs-based benefit, and planning is often required.
For the most part, families are not prepared to pay these high care costs, especially if they go on for years. Accordingly, early planning is important. There are a number of legal options to help families protect hard-earned assets from the rising costs of long term care, and to access funds to help pay for that care. Top reasons people fail to plan are they didn’t want to admit care was needed; the timing of the long-term care need was unforeseen or unexpected; they didn’t want to talk about it; they thought they had more time; and they hoped the issue would resolve itself.
Waiting too late to plan for long-term care, especially for dementia, can throw a family into turmoil and crisis. Having the courage to discuss incapacity and/or dementia before it happens can go a long way toward being prepared and avoiding impoverishment. If you are dealing with a family member with a cognitive impairment, please visit www.themcnamaralawfirm.com, for more information or to schedule a consultation.