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Planning for the Cost of Care for People with Alzheimer’s or Dementia

June 10, 2024

Alzheimer’s Disease is a growing health issue here in Maine. In fact, nearly 30,000 Mainers over the age of 65 live with Alzheimer’s, representing 10% of the population.  This disease can take a significant financial toll on the individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and their families.

Paying for care is a big concern for a person and their family when Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia is diagnosed. Putting a financial plan in place as soon as a diagnosis is made can help secure a person’s financial future.

Costs you May Face

To plan for financial needs during the course of Alzheimer’s disease, you’ll need to consider the various costs you might face now and in the future. Since Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, a person’s needs will change over time. While medical or other forms of insurance may cover some of these costs, they may not cover all.

Common care costs to consider include:

  • Ongoing medical treatment for Alzheimer’s-related symptoms, diagnosis and follow-up visits.
  • Treatment or medical equipment for other medical conditions.
  • Safety-related expenses, such as home safety modifications or safety services for a person who wanders.
  • Prescription drugs.
  • Personal care supplies.
  • Adult day care services.
  • In-home care services.
  • Full-time residential care services.

Care costs will vary depending upon where you live. Have a family meeting to discuss how much future care might cost and to make financial plans. Consider using professional legal and financial advisors for guidance.

Documents You’ll Need

Gather and organize financial documents in one place. Then, carefully review all the documents, even if you’re already familiar with them.

Important financial documents include:

  • Bank and brokerage account information.
  • Deeds, mortgage papers or ownership statements.
  • Insurance policies.
  • Medical and durable powers of attorney.
  • Monthly or outstanding bills.
  • Pension and other retirement benefit summaries (including VA benefits, if applicable).
  • Rental income paperwork.
  • Social Security payment information.
  • Stock and bond certificates.
  • Wills.

Take the time to identify which necessary documents you may not have in place. Professional financial and legal advisors can assist you with this task. You’ll also want to learn about legal documents needed to plan for long-term care.

Determine Needs and Goals

Bring family together to talk about putting financial and care plans in place. Discussing financial needs and goals early on enables the person with dementia to still understand the issues and to talk about his or her wishes. If others are available to help, encourage the sharing of caregiving duties. And discuss how finances might be pooled to provide necessary care.

In addition to planning for the cost of care, there are many ongoing financial duties to discuss, including:

  • Paying bills.
  • Arranging for benefit claims.
  • Making investment decisions.
  • Preparing tax returns.

Consider Your Resources

Consider all the private and government financial resources that are available to you when planning for care costs.
These may include:

Insurance, including government insurance programs:

  • Medicare or a supplemental insurance policy.
  • Disability insurance from an employer-paid plan or personal policy.
  • Group employee plan or retiree medical coverage.
  • Life insurance and long-term care insurance, which is usually not available for purchase after symptoms of Alzheimer’s appear.
  • Government help:
    • Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) for workers under age 65.
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
    • Medicaid.
    • Veterans’ benefits.
    • Tax deductions and credits, such as the Household and Dependent Care Credit.
  • Community support, including low- or no-cost support services, respite care, support groups, transportation and meal delivery.
  • Retirement benefits.
  • Personal savings and assets.

Get Professional Assistance

Financial advisors, such as financial planners and estate planning attorneys, are valuable sources of information and assistance. They can help you:

  • Identify potential financial resources.
  • Identify tax deductions.
  • Analyze your investment portfolio with long-term care needs in mind.

When selecting a financial advisor, check qualifications such as:

  • Professional credentials.
  • Work experience.
  • Educational background.
  • Membership in professional associations.
  • Areas of specialty.

Make sure to ask the financial advisor if they are familiar with elder care or long-term care planning.

Key Takeaways

  1. Talk about finances and future care wishes soon after a diagnosis.
  2. Organize and review important documents.
  3. Get help from well-qualified financial and legal advisors.
  4. Estimate possible costs for the entire disease process.
  5. Look at all of your insurance options.
  6. Consider work-related salary/benefits and personal property as potential income.
  7. Find out for which government programs you are eligible.
  8. Learn about income tax breaks for which you may qualify.
  9. Explore the financial assistance you can personally provide.
  10. Take advantage of low-cost and free community services.

For additional information and resources, visit the Alzheimer’s Association of Maine.

Please feel free to reach out to a member services representative for assistance with any of these matters or if you have other personal finance questions by emailing us at, calling 800-649-3495 or book a consultation here.

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