Planning in Advance for Dementia Care Costs

The cost of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, or other form of dementia, can vary greatly depending on what type of care the person needs and for how long. If you, or someone you love, have been diagnosed with dementia, advance financial planning can help you determine how much money you have vs. what type of expenses lie ahead. Here are some financial planning tips:

Review insurance policies. Compare your loved one’s plan to the services needed. Does it cover her (or his) treatments, follow-up appointments, and medications? What about assistive devices (e.g., wheelchair, walker)? Does your loved one have long term care insurance? If so, review the plan to see if it covers home care in addition to facility care. It helps to know what coverage is available when considering treatment options.

Create a healthcare budget. Your loved one’s healthcare team can help give you an idea of what costs you can expect moving forward. Determine how much money is coming in each month vs. how much is being spent. Look at bank statements and retirement funds. Factor in items you may be able to sell for cash as expenses increase. For example, your loved one may no longer need a car, may have stocks she can sell, and may also have a home that can be sold when she can no longer live alone. Also, decide if you and/or family members have money you can afford to contribute.

Compare costs. Talk to an agency that provides Kansas City home health services to get a realistic idea of how much help you can afford. For example, in the earlier stages of dementia, part-time services may be sufficient. As the disease progresses, you’ll likely need more help. If you think facility care may be an option in the future, compare those costs to those of in-home care.

Work with your healthcare providers. Be honest about how much you can afford to spend. Ask about any Kansas City (or government) financial aid programs or free (or low-cost) community services that might be available to help.

Adjust your budget as needed. As dementia progresses, expenses increase. And there’s really no way to know at what point that will happen. So you’ll need to review your budget periodically to make sure you’re not overspending.

Get help. Alzheimer’s or dementia caregiving is tough enough without also being responsible for financial planning. So it may be helpful to hire a financial advisor to help you plan for upcoming expenses. A good financial advisor may also be able to help you find additional financial assistance.

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