Tax season is a good time to look at cost of long-term care

Pamela J. Myers, Alzheimer’s Association NW and Central Ohio

        As Tax Day nears, families and individuals across the country are taking a closer look at their finances.
        One in nine Americans age 65 and older is living with Alzheimer’s disease – that’s more than 6 million Americans across the country. The disease not only takes a tremendous physical toll on diagnosed individuals, but the costs associated with the disease can be staggering and put a huge economical strain on families. Disease-related costs can jeopardize a family’s financial security, and many families and caregivers make enormous personal and financial sacrifices.
        The 2022 Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report found some staggering results:
        • In 2021, the lifetime cost of care for a person living with dementia was $371,621.
        • Average out-of-pocket costs for health care and long-term care services not covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance is nearly $10,000 annually.
        • Nearly half (48 percent) of care contributors must cut back on their own expenses – including basic necessities like food, transportation and medical care – to afford dementia-related care, while others must draw from their own savings or retirement funds.
        • Nearly two out of three people incorrectly believe that Medicare helps pay for nursing home care, or were unsure whether it does.
        To help families navigate these and other financial challenges, the Alzheimer’s Association recently launched a free online education program, “Managing Money: A Caregiver’s Guide to Finances.” Tips from the program include:
        • Plan early - There are many benefits of planning early when it comes to your finances – both for the caregiver and the person with the disease.
        • Start a positive discussion about finances - Bring in trusted family members or close friends for a discussion about what the person with the disease wants for the future.
        • Avoid financial abuse and fraud - Individuals living with dementia have a greater risk of becoming victims and may struggle with making good financial decisions.
        • Organize your finances - Conduct an inventory of your financial resources (savings, insurance, retirement benefits, government assistance, VA benefits, etc.). A financial planner or elder care attorney can help.
        • Create a backup plan - Designate a trusted back-up agent for the person’s power of attorney and consider designating responsibilities to more than one person.
        The new “Managing Money: A Caregiver’s Guide to Finances” education program will be available virtually via Zoom on Tuesday, April 19 at noon. It is being presented by the Central Ohio Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Call 800-272-3900 to register and receive login information. More opportunities to attend this program in person will be offered in the Toledo area starting in May.
        Pamela J. Myers, MAOM, BSN, RN, is the program director for the Alzheimer's Association, Northwest and Central Ohio.


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