No one in Kansas City can truly anticipate whether Alzheimer’s disease or dementia will be part of their future, but these conditions do occur with regularity, particularly if there is a family history. Obtaining care for those with these disorders can be inordinately expensive. Assisted living facilities, in-home health care and nursing home costs can add up to tens of thousands of dollars. 

A recent survey by the Alzheimer’s Association revealed that there are some common misconceptions about Medicare and insurance coverage. The survey reports that nearly 30 percent of respondents were under the incorrect impression that Medicare would cover nursing home care, and 37 percent did not know whether that was possible. Approximately 30 percent of those surveyed thought they had enough insurance coverage to pay for their long-term care needs. However, according to national statistics, only about 10 percent of individuals age 55 or older have long-term care insurance

For these reasons, it can help to plan early. For example, long-term care insurance policies may not be available to those who are already suffering from diseases like dementia; it is better to apply for such a policy before such a condition afflicts you.

Long-term care policies can be expensive, but there may be other options. Medicaid and veterans’ benefits may be available to some, for example.

In the end, it is a good idea to take care planning seriously earlier in life, before you actually need it, by which time it may be too late. Elder law attorneys may be good resources for those who need advice about care planning.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot, “The time to explore long-term elder care is before you need it, experts say,” Elizabeth Simpson, May 14, 2016

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