Alzheimer’s disease affects far too many families, and the impact is felt on a number of different levels. In this post, we will share some key facts that will open your eyes if you have not explored the subject.
Facts and Figures
Everyone knows that Alzheimer’s causes dementia, but aside from the memory loss, there is another aspect that flies under the radar.
If you were to name the diseases that kill the most people in the United States, breast cancer and prostate cancer may come to mind. Without question, these diseases are dangerous threats, but Alzheimer’s causes more fatalities than these two cancers combined.
At the time of this writing, 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and experts expect the figure to increase to 13 million over the next 30 years. One out of every three seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or dementia that is caused by some other underlying condition.
This year, $355 billion will be spent to care for Alzheimer’s patients, and experts place the estimate for 2050 at $1.1 trillion.
Family members, friends, and neighbors typically provide assistance for people with Alzheimer’s. The figures that we cited in the last section come from the Alzheimer’s Association, and they also share some eye-opening caregiver statistics.
Over 11 million unpaid people are assisting elders with this disease right now, and they provided an estimated 15.3 billion hours of care last year. If it was paid care, the cost for this massive level of assistance would be about $257 billion.
On a human level, it can be physically and emotionally exhausting to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. There can also be a financial strain, and experts advise people to be communicative and willing to ask for help when they need it.
Eventually, the level of care that is required can exceed the capabilities of well-meaning family members. Under these circumstances, full-time residence in a nursing home will be the only solution.
Just over a third seniors will ultimately reside in nursing homes, and Medicare is the health insurance program that is designed to address the needs of senior citizens. When you put these two facts together, you may assume that Medicare would cover long-term care.
Many would say that it is not fair, but in fact, Medicare does not cover the custodial care that nursing facilities provide. The good news is that Medicaid will pay for long-term care if you can gain eligibility.
Since it is a need-based program, your assets cannot exceed $2000 in value, but your home is not considered to be a countable asset. This can make eligibility possible, but Medicaid can place a lien on the home after your passing if it is in your direct personal possession.
As a response, you could convey countable assets into an irrevocable Medicaid trust. You would surrender access to the principal, but you could receive distributions of the trust’s income until you apply for Medicaid.
Elder Financial Abuse
Another serious challenge that seniors face is elder financial abuse, and cognitive impairment has helped to fuel the phenomenon. Seniors that are not as aware as they once were are vulnerable, and unfortunately, people sometimes take advantage of their weakness.
The worst part about it is the fact that most of the abusers are family members and other people that know the victims personally. There are some legal steps you can take to mitigate your exposure, and it is better to be safe than sorry.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
Clearly, there is a lot to think about when you are looking toward the future, but it is wise to act within a well-defined framework. If you are ready to get started, we would be glad to help you develop a forward thinking plan that culminates in the appropriate passing of your legacy.
You can schedule a consultation appointment at our Essex Junction, Vermont estate planning office if you call us at 802-879-7133. There is also a contact form on this site you can use if you would prefer to send us a message.