Covering the costs of long-term dementia care

Healthy YOU | Memory Care Healthy Aging Primary Care
Long-term care insurance

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are progressive conditions. At first, you and your family will be able to help with daily activities like cooking, cleaning, personal hygiene and transportation. But as your loved one’s condition advances, you’ll need the support of long-term care professionals – and a plan for how to pay for it.

“You can use savings, retirement accounts and investment income to pay for long-term care,” says Denise Butler, MA, CSA, geriatric assessment clinic coordinator at the Riverside Center for Excellence in Aging and Lifelong Health. “But if these funds don’t exist or won’t cover the costs, there are other options.”

Butler says your options depend on your loved one’s finances and the state where they live.

Here are four more things she says you should know about covering the costs of long-term dementia care.

Medicaid may help

Medicare won’t cover ongoing in-home personal care or long-term stays in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. But, if your loved one qualifies, Medicaid will pay for some types of long-term care.

To be eligible, your loved one must meet the income requirements set by their state’s Medicaid program. Also, be aware that the types of long-term care covered vary by state.

Virginia has PACE

PACE stands for Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. This is a special Medicare program that is only available in some states. Virginia is one of them.

The goal of PACE is to provide your loved one with all the services and care they need at home so they don’t have to be moved to a nursing home. If your loved one qualifies, the program will help you coordinate their medical and personal care needs and may pay for some or all of the costs.

Depending on your loved one’s financial situation, there may or may not be a monthly fee to participate in PACE.

Veterans may qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit

If your loved one is a veteran or the spouse of a veteran, they may be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit. This benefit can help pay for any type of long-term care, including home care and assisted living and nursing home care.

To qualify for this benefit, your loved one must receive a veteran’s pension and meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Need another person’s help with daily activities like bathing, feeding and dressing
  • Need to stay in bed or spend a large portion of the day in bed due to an illness
  • Be a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability
  • Have limited eyesight

Other options exist – but consider them carefully

If your loved one isn’t eligible for any of the above, talk to a certified financial planner or elder law attorney. These professionals can help your family learn if other options, like a reverse mortgage or long-term care insurance, could help pay for care needs and if using those options would be sound financial decisions.

For more information on how to pay for long-term care, read 11 Ways to Afford the Assisted Living Care You Need from Consumer Reports.

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