It's a series of little moments - dates misremembered, sentences slurred, a sudden hesitation during once routine activities. Your elderly loved one's mind seems trapped in a perpetual state of distraction, and you fear the possibility of Alzheimer's.
That fear is sadly well-founded, with Statistic Brain proving the broad targeting of this disease:
Total U.S. Population Affected by Alzheimer's: approximately 5 million
Percentage of Population Affected (Ages 65 to 74)
Caucasian: 2.9% affected
African American: 9.1% affected
Hispanic: 7.5% affected
Percentage of Population Affected (Ages 75 to 84)
Caucasian: 10.9% affected
African American: 19.9% affected
Hispanic: 27.9% affected
Percentage of Population Affected (Ages 85 and older)
Caucasian: 30.2% affected
African American: 59.6% affected
Hispanic: 62.9% affected
Alzheimer's impacts millions of individuals and their families each year, creating a need for superior disease education, treatments, and Memory Care.
What is Alzheimer's?
Within the brain are countless neurons, each delivering information and sensory experiences. As our bodies age, protein chains begin to form around these neurons, interfering with their natural synapse transfers. This interruption takes a devastating toll, weakening each neuron until it eventually fades.
This process triggers dementia, with the mind no longer able to function at its expected levels. Multiple symptoms then occur, as explained by the Alzheimer's Association:
- Memory loss
- Inability to plan or problem-solve.
- Difficulty completing routine tasks.
- Confusion or disorientation.
- Difficulty understanding spatial relationships.
- Difficulty in forming words (whether through speaking or writing).
- Poor judgment.
- Mood shifts.
These symptoms eventually become impossible to ignore, which is why Alzheimer's/Memory Care proves so important.
What is Alzheimer's/Memory Care?
Memory Care is a specialized medical program. It provides on-site support, supervision, and stability: three things that are key when dealing with Alzheimer's. Patients transfer to well-equipped communities. There they find semi-private rooms, private rooms, or even private homes that cater to their specific needs.
Trained professionals - including doctors, nurses, speech therapists, counselors, dietitians, and more - create custom plans for each individual. These plans are then set into motion, helping to promote a superior quality of life and slow the disease. This occurs through increased mental and physical stimulation, with patients immersed in highly social environments.
To ensure the comfort of each patient, Memory Care also addresses everyday needs. Staffers provide:
- Meal Plans
- Laundry Services
- Medication Monitoring
- Personal Grooming Assistance
- ... and more.
This comprehensive service ensures that all individuals are properly cared for.
What is the Cost of Memory Care?
All care comes with a cost and Alzheimer's support is no exception. Due to the precise nature of this field, individuals can expect to pay hefty sums throughout the year. According to a recent study from GenWorth, these sums may total:
National Median Daily Rate: $212
National Median Monthly Rate: $6360
National Median Annual Rate: $76,320
Five-Year Cost Growth Projection: 3.91%
National Median Daily Rate: $240
National Median Monthly Rate: $7200
National Median Annual Rate: $86,400
Five-Year Cost Growth Projection: 4.19%
These numbers showcase the considerable cost of Memory Care, especially for those who are without proper protection. It's essential that all families secure insurance coverage.
Medicaid provides long-term assistance for seniors, children, and those of low incomes. It applies this philosophy to Memory Care, connecting patients to certified nursing homes, community homes, and other state-funded options. It pays for most or even all of the expenses.
Medicare provides medical coverage for those 65 and older. Its Memory Care options include in-patient hospital treatments, prescription drug purchases, hospice services, and up to 100 days within a nursing home facility.
Many private insurance companies do not offer Memory Care policies. Instead, they have long-term care policies, which don't always qualify for the treatment of Alzheimer's. It's important, therefore, to verify the full terms of the coverage before signing.
Affording Memory Care proves difficult. Through Medicaid, Medicare, and private policies, individuals will find the costs lessened considerably.
Why is Memory Care so Important?
Alzheimer's isn't merely an illness. It's a pervasive force, affecting both mind and body, and it's rapidly spreading through the United States.
According to Alzheimer's.net:
- 1 in 9 Americans over the age of 65 has Alzheimer's disease, which translates to approximately 5.3 million people.
- By 2031 it's estimated that more than 3 million individuals over the age of 85 will have Alzheimer's. This number will greatly expand by 2050, when an estimated 7 million people over the age of 85 will have it.
- Alzheimer's is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, affecting 1 out of 3 seniors.
- Life expectancy instantly shortens after an Alzheimer's diagnosis, with most patients expected to survive only between 4 to 8 years.
- Those with Alzheimer's are 3 times more likely to be hospitalized than those without it.
These numbers prove troubling, especially when paired with statistics showcasing caregiver woes. According to the same Alzheimer's.net survey:
- 40% of primary caregivers report that their emotional stress is high or very high.
- 74% of primary caregivers report that they're highly concerned with the state of their own health while looking after loved ones with Alzheimer's.
- Many caregivers express anxiety over their positions, citing a lack of control or choice.
- In 2014 alone, primary caregivers reported $9.7 billion in Alzheimer-rated expenses, portions of which they paid out of their own pockets.
The effects of Alzheimer's expand far beyond the mind. They instead penetrate the daily serenity (and sanity) of all of those involved. Memory Care is essential, therefore, to alleviate the burden of this disease and provide much-needed support.
There is no cure for Alzheimer's. However, there is a way to lessen its effects, and this is through Memory Care. This program provides patients with the emotional and medical aid they need, and this helps to strengthen the mind against dementia. It's an essential part of the healthcare system.