AD and the Most Important Decision You May Have to Make

You’ve just been told that a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease. After the initial grief, shock, and bereavement, now what are you going to do? Think hard about the options: talk to your family, hire a caregiver, contact a nurse, move to a senior living facility, or take care of your loved one yourself. Remember the stats:

  • 1 out of 7 people with Alzheimer’s disease lives alone
  • 80% of those with Alzheimer’s disease are cared for by their family

As the disease progresses to the final stage, you will be forced to reconsider your options. Before you do anything, consult your physician, call the Alzheimer’s Association, and do your homework. A lot of information is available on this website, as well as on the Internet.

And don’t forget to consider all Long Term Care (LTC) options.

I live in Northern California. My mother has FTD and Alzheimer’s. Here is my experience:

  • A caregiver costs $15.00 per hour.
  • A full-time nurse costs $26.00 per hour (that’s $15,000 per month).
  • The cost of room and board in a senior assisted-living facility starts at $4,500.00 per month.
  • The average cost of Alzheimer’s care in a “memory” facility with a full-time nurse is $6,500.00 per month. And these fees do not include doctor’s visits, medication, health insurance, clothing, etc.
  • A trip to the emergency room by ambulance, including full testing and an examination by a team of emergency physicians, costs $25,000 per visit.

It never even crossed my mind to think about LTC. When my mother got sick, I started calling companies to get LTC insurance. I was told it was too late; my mother was too old and too sick.

Medicare does not pay for LTC.  Let that statement sink in: Medicare does not pay for LTC.

Medicaid will help pay for some care, but you’ll need to put up collateral (like a house).

Go check out one of the Medicaid nursing facilities and ask yourself if you could put your loved one in there. Some facilities are well-run, others are understaffed, under budgeted, and overly crowded. And, of course, there is a long waiting list to get a bed. There is no privacy. Residents share a room, a bathroom, and a shower. There is no dignity.

Have any doubts? Go visit several Alzheimer’s facilities in your area.  Do a walk-thru, read over the contract, talk to the residents, and talk to the caregivers. If your experience is anything like mine, you will be shocked and saddened by what you see and learn.

Ask the hard questions now. You will be rewarded many times over for being well informed and prepared.

I know, I live it everyday.

~ Jennifer


Whether you are looking for information for yourself or for a loved one, it is important to understand what long-term care is and how it pertains to you. There are many types of services and resources available in your community. Having a better understanding of long-term care will help you know which ones best serve your needs.

The National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information website and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services developed a website to provide information and resources to help you and your family plan for future long-term care (LTC) needs. We want to help you understand what long-term care is, how and where you can get information and services you need – now or in the future, and how to pay for services.

Please visit this resource and talk over the recommendations with your family and doctors:

http://www.longtermcare.gov/LTC/Main_Site/Index.aspx