Alzheimer's Care Costs
Due its specialized nature, Alzheimer’s care costs can be high. However, there are many different care options available, some of which are more affordable than others. When considering these options, it is important to know how much you can expect to pay for different types of care settings.
Cost of Day Programs & Respite Care
Family members providing for their loved one’s Alzheimer’s care at home can benefit, both emotionally and physically, from a reprieve in their responsibilities. According to the 2010 MetLife Mature Market Study, the average cost of adult day care services nationwide was $67 per day.
Many assisted living communities with secured Alzheimer’s care and stand-alone Alzheimer’s care communities are also beginning to offer day services in addition to respite care. These day programs typically range from $60-$100 per day while respite care ranges from $100-$175 per 24-hour day.
Additional charges in these settings may include transportation to and from the care setting and supplies such as incontinence products.
Assisted Living & Stand-Alone Community Costs
In 2012, SeniorHomes.com conducted a cost survey of all communities on our website that offer memory care. Below is a table outlining the monthly rental costs for memory care communities in selected states across the U.S.
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In most cases, seniors experiencing mild to moderate dementia can receive appropriate care in an assisted living community. When formally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, however, seniors will require specialized care in order to ensure their safety and security. In order to maintain consistency in the lives of residents with progressive dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease, assisted living communities commonly offer Alzheimer’s care in a secured area of the building or in an adjacent building on the grounds.
According to the MetLife Mature Market Study, 68% of assisted living communities surveyed nationwide provide dementia and Alzheimer’s care for their residents. The study also found that the national average for Alzheimer’s care costs at an assisted living community is $4,762 per month or $57,144 annually.
Some communities specialize in Alzheimer’s care only, which ensures that all management personnel and caregivers are highly trained in providing this specialized type of care. With a building’s physical properties specifically customized for the needs of those suffering from dementia and/or Alzheimer’s, the rates for stand-alone Alzheimer’s communities tend to be approximately $1,000-$1,500 higher per month.
Alzheimer’s Care Costs at Nursing Homes
Some nursing homes (or skilled nursing facilities) provide dementia and/or Alzheimer’s care in a separate wing or unit. The 2010 MetLife Mature Market Study indicates that 35% of the nursing homes surveyed provide this type of care with average daily rates of $228 ($83,220 annually) for a private room and $206 ($75,190) for a semi-private room.
These rates reflect those paid privately as Medicare does not pay for long-term care expenses at nursing homes. However, if a resident spends down their assets and meets the eligibility criteria for Medicaid, Alzheimer’s care costs may be significantly lower in a nursing home setting.
Care Homes: The Less Costly Alzheimer’s Care Option
Care homes (residential homes licensed to provide care for approximately 4-6 residents) frequently offer the least expensive rates for dementia and/or Alzheimer’s care. While not all care homes offer this specialized type of care, their owners have greater flexibility in the rates they charge each resident and those rates tend to remain the same (or only slightly increased) throughout the duration of a resident’s stay.
Therefore, families exploring Alzheimer’s care within a care home setting can expect to pay approximately $500-$1,500 less per month than they would for care in an assisted living community. The cost of care can also be reduced at care homes due to the increased likelihood of the owner accepting Medicaid, particularly if the resident has paid privately for a specific amount of time.
Additional Cost Factors in All Settings
Regardless of the type of care setting, Alzheimer’s care costs are more commonly all-inclusive, which provides greater consistency in the cost over the duration of a resident’s stay. More specifically, residents receiving Alzheimer’s care usually do not pay a separate care rate in addition to the monthly base rate. However, additional charges may apply for supplies such as incontinence products.
In addition, residents can either reside in a private or semi-private room, with semi-private rooms offering lower rates and the benefits of companionship as privacy becomes less important to those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
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Written by gerontologist Sara Shelton.