Caring for Loved Ones with Alzheimer's
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Caring for Loved Ones with Alzheimer's: What to Expect & How to Pay

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Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease? Or, is there a family history and you are trying to prepare for the future? Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that requires special care to make those suffering feel safe, comfortable and able to enjoy the remaining years of their life. If you are a patient or a caregiver, here are some common questions you may have about providing care.

How Do I Pay for Long-Term Care?

This is likely to be the first question that comes to mind. Though you may already have a plan in place to cover health care costs, long-term care typically centers more on custodial care that health insurance and Medicare rarely cover. If you have life insurance, you may be able to sell your policy in order to get the cash you need. Finally, if you are planning for the years ahead and think you may need long-term care for Alzheimer’s or other issues, long-term care insurance is available to give you some peace of mind.

What Kind of Care May Be Needed?

There are quite a few care options available for those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Home care may be the best option for those in the beginning stages. Being in a familiar place with familiar faces can help ease confusion and allow individuals to still retain some independence. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s may involve the help of in-home health aids or adult daycare. Because of the way Alzheimer’s progresses and the impact on the safety of individuals and caregivers, it is very likely that a more dedicated care option will be needed at some point. Assisted living homes and nursing homes tend to be the best way to provide the intense care Alzheimer’s patients need in the later stages of the disease.

Should I Make Changes to My Home?

Many families will choose to provide care within a home for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. While home care does provide stability, there are also some safety concerns to consider. Seniors in general are prone to falls, which can lead to serious injuries. With this in mind, it is imperative to make changes around the home to prevent slips and falls. Slip-resistant mats are a must, as well as fall precautions in the bathroom where most falls occur.

Security is another concern for housing an individual with Alzheimer’s. You will need to make sure that locks are on all doors and windows. Use gates or doors to prevent access to potentially hazardous like stairs and utility rooms. You may need to use loan funds to complete these upgrades but some funding options are available for seniors.

Will Palliative or Hospice Care Be Necessary?

It’s never easy thinking about the end of one’s life. But one of the major differences between dementia and Alzheimer’s is that the latter is a terminal illness. The time a person lives after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can vary. Some people will have a few years while other can live for a couple of decades. In any case, palliative care or hospice care is likely to be needed at some point. Palliative care involves health care and therapies that ease the discomfort felt by a patient suffering from a terminal illness. This care can be provided at any stage, whereas hospice care refers to the care provided right at the end of life. Another difference is that Medicare will only cover portions of palliative care, but covers hospice care entirely.

Anticipating Alzheimer’s care ahead of time is the best way to be prepared for the costs, both financially and emotionally. Knowing what to expect will help you get through the rough times ahead and help relieve some of the stress of dealing with this life-changing disease.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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