How to deal with the cost of dementia caretaking

The term dementia is used to describe a decline in a person’s mental ability that becomes severe enough to impair his or her ability to perform everyday activities. Dementia isn’t a disease in itself, but rather a group of symptoms that can be caused by a variety of diseases. Symptoms of dementia can include problems with memory, thinking, and language together with impairments to social skills and some behavioral issues.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, and it’s estimated that one in nine Americans 65 and older currently suffer from Alzheimer’s.  As the baby boomer generation ages and with people living longer, that number could triple by 2050.

Caring for parents or other loved ones with dementia can be very expensive when compared to providing care for someone without it. A person with dementia is going to require long term care, perhaps lasting for years. Unfortunately, there are few outside resources available to pay for this kind of care, and most families can’t afford the cost of providing that care in a facility. Health insurance doesn’t pay for assisted living or nursing care facilities or help with the “activities of daily living” or ADL — bathing, eating, transferring, dressing, toileting.

Those individuals with significant assets can afford to pay for skilled care. Home equity, retirement savings, and long-term care insurance are also options.  However, many families aren’t prepared to shoulder the tremendous costs required for the long term care that is needed.

The result? Family members are often pressed into service as caregivers for parents and loved ones suffering from dementia for as long as necessary, putting their own health and financial security at risk

The day-to-day

The key to relieving the financial as well as the emotional and physical stress on caregivers is through planning. By planning ahead, you can explore all the available options, investigate resources that could help offset some of the costs of care, and, most importantly, be part of the decision making process.

Asset protection planning for seniors is especially important because the threat of disability and the need for long-term care poses one of the biggest threats to their financial security. Creating an asset protection plan is imperative for dealing with the exorbitant costs of medical and health care services that will be required to manage dementia. 

An asset protection plan can protect your money for your benefit, the benefit of your spouse, and other loved ones. Your plan can also help you qualify for Medi-Cal assistance as quickly as possible. The assets in your estate can be reallocated to legal vehicles such as revocable and irrevocable trusts to safeguard them and to help ensure your eligibility for Medi-Cal assistance.

Looking long term

Preparing for dementia by creating an asset protection plan can help you and your family when dealing with dementia becomes a reality. Take the time now to take care of your legal planning for the future.

The Law Office of David W. Foley provides a wide variety of legal services for all of your estate planning needs including Power of Attorney, living trusts, and other vehicles of asset protection.

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