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Planning for Care Costs

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Paying for care is a big concern as Alzheimer's progresses. Putting financial plans in place as soon as the diagnosis has been made can help you secure a healthy financial future.


Costs you may face

The average costs for long-term care services in the United States are:

$214 per day or $78,110 per year for a semi-private room in a nursing home

$239 per day or $87,235 per year for a private room in a nursing home

$3,477 per month or $41,724 per year for basic services in an assisted living facility

$21 per hour for a home health aide

$70 per day for adult day services

Source: MetLife Mature Market Institute. Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs: The 2011 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, and Home Care Costs. New York, N.Y.: Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 2011.

In order to plan for financial needs during the course of Alzheimer's disease, you'll need to consider all the costs you might face now and in the future. Since Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, the type and level of care needed will change over time.

Common care costs include:

  • Ongoing medical treatment for Alzheimer's-related symptoms, diagnosis and follow-up visits
  • Treatment or medical equipment for other medical conditions
  • Safety-related expenses, such as home safety modifications or safety services for a person who wanders
  • Prescription drugs
  • Personal care supplies
  • Adult day care services
  • In-home care services
  • Full-time residential care services

TIP: Care costs will vary depending upon where you live. Have a family meeting to discuss how much future care might cost and to make financial plans. Consider using professional legal and financial advisors for guidance.

Financial documents you'll need

Gather and organize financial documents in one place. Then, carefully review all documents, even if you're already familiar with them.

Financial documents include:

  • Bank and brokerage account information
  • Deeds, mortgage papers or ownership statements
  • Insurance policies
  • Monthly or outstanding bills
  • Pension and other retirement benefit summaries (including VA benefits, if applicable)
  • Rental income paperwork
  • Social Security payment information
  • Stock and bond certificates

At this point, it may also be helpful to identify which necessary documents are not in place. Professional financial and legal advisers can assist you with this task. You'll also need to learn about the legal documents needed to plan for long-term care.

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Financial needs and goals

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Bring family together to talk about putting financial and care plans in place. Discussing financial needs and goals early on enables the person with dementia to still understand the issues and to talk about his or her wishes. If others are available to help, encourage the sharing of caregiving duties. And discuss how finances might be pooled to provide necessary care.

In addition to planning for the cost of care, there are many ongoing financial duties to discuss, including:

  • Paying bills
  • Arranging for benefit claims
  • Making investment decisions
  • Preparing tax returns

Help Is Available

Need additional information about "Managing Someone Else's Money?" Download the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s free, four-part guide.

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Get professional assistance

Financial advisors, such as financial planners and estate planning attorneys, are valuable sources of information and assistance. They can help you:

  • Identify potential financial resources
  • Identify tax deductions
  • Avoid bad investment decisions that could deplete your finances

When selecting a financial advisor, check qualifications such as:

  • Professional credentials
  • Work experience
  • Educational background
  • Membership in professional associations
  • Areas of specialty

Make sure to ask the financial advisor if he or she is familiar with elder care or long-term care planning.

Help Is Available

Do you need assistance locating a financial advisor? Start with these resources:

Quick tips

  1. Talk about finances and future care wishes
  2. Organize and review important documents
  3. Get help from well qualified financial and legal advisors
  4. Estimate possible costs for the entire disease process
  5. Look at all of your insurance options
  6. Consider work-related salary/benefits and personal property as potential income
  7. Find out for which government programs you are eligible
  8. Learn about income tax breaks for which you may qualify
  9. Explore financial assistance you can personally provide
  10. Take advantage of low-cost and free community services
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