Quality of care is always the first consideration when it comes time for a parent or loved one to move into a memory care facility, but concern about the cost of memory care is never far behind. Memory care can deplete a savings account fairly quickly, even after years of careful financial planning.
There are several options available, and it’s important to consider each one carefully before making a decision.
What is a Memory Care Provider?
Most older people prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible, and most families do everything in their power to accommodate their wishes and allow their loved one to remain in familiar, comfortable surroundings.
Some people are able to manage at home for quite awhile, but all types of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are progressive with a gradual decline in memory, understanding and reason. At some point, families must make the difficult decision to move their loved one into a memory care facility where they can be safe and comfortable.
Memory care facilities offer housekeeping and laundry services, three nutritious meals and health monitoring. Some provide additional amenities such as cable TV, , recreational activities, security cameras, transportation, meal reminders and use of outdoor areas.
What is Memory Care?
Memory care is a specialized type of long-term care that meets the particular needs of people with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive challenges. Memory care facilities may be stand-alone, independent communities, or they may be a separate wing or floor in a nursing home or other long-term care facility.
Either way, memory care involves a high level of care provided by nurses and aides who undergo specialized training. Patients are supervised around the clock and they receive help, as needed, with dressing and other daily living tasks. Most memory care facilities strive to provide a pleasant, friendly environment.
How Much Will Memory Care Cost?
Memory care is expensive, but it’s difficult to pin down an exact number because costs varies so much from state to state. The price of memory care also depends on level of care and services provided.
For example, you may expect to pay $8,000 to $10,000 per month in New York, Pennsylvania and most other states in the southeastern part of the country, compared to $2,000 to $4,000 in most southern and midwestern states. Across the nation, the average cost of memory care is approximately $57,000. Some memory care providers charge a one-time fee ranging $500 to $1,500.
The best way to determine the cost is to call or visit memory care providers in your area.
How Can I Pay for Memory Care?
Personal assets are usually the first route for families dealing with long-term care of a loved one. Many people draw on various assets such as home equity, stocks and savings accounts. Social security and pensions can also be helpful in covering costs of memory care.
It’s a good idea to seek the advice of a trusted financial advisor before making a final determination about using personal assets to pay for memory care.
Medicare will pay for 100 percent of the cost of memory care for 20 days if care is deemed medically necessary, and 80 percent of medical care for an additional 80 days, but only after a three-night minimum hospital stay.
Medicare won’t pay when memory care is considered custodial. This creates a difficult problem for many families because people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease often need medical care initially, but soon require long-term, non-medical care.
Medicaid, funded by state and federal government, is an insurance program for low-income individuals. It is based strictly on financial need. In most cases, people who already qualify for Supplemental Security INcome (SSI), are automatically eligible for Medicaid.
Medicaid benefits for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease vary from state to state. In most, Medicaid covers long-term care for facilities that accept Medicaid funding. Many facilities set aside a certain number of rooms strictly for Medicaid patients.
It’s important to note that people must first “spend down” assets and income to qualify for Medicaid. However, “spousal protection” rules allow healthy spouses to maintain certain assets.
Long-Term Care Insurance is designed to help pay for care not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or standard health insurance. While long-term care insurance is helpful when memory care is needed, the expense is beyond the financial capability of many families.
It’s important to shop around before purchasing long-term care insurance because certain exclusions and limits may be involved. Many long-term care insurance policies require a waiting period before funds are available, and most have a lifetime maximum benefit.
If you’re thinking about purchasing long-term care insurance, seek direction from a trusted financial advisor. Don’t rely solely on advice from an insurance salesperson.
Veterans Benefits may assist with housing costs for people who served in the active military with an honorable discharge. Veterans programs include the Community Residential Care Program, which provides help veterans who don’t require skilled nursing or medical assistance. The program is available in about 1,300 memory care facilities across the nation.
VA Aid and Attendance is a separate program that provides financial assistance for disabled veterans who require extra medical help. Individuals must receive a VA pension, and they must be evaluated by Veterans Services.
Grants and Other Assistance: Your elderly loved one may be eligible for assistance from a Non-profit organization such as the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. Although assistance is limited, it never hurts to call and request more information. Look for phone numbers on organization websites.
If you have any questions about finances for memory care, contact Heritage Villas today!