The financial expenses of caring for someone with Alzheimer disease can be devastating.
For those of you who are entering into this journey, I would recommend consulting with an experienced Elder Care Attorney to have an overall evaluation of your financial situation. Your attorney can help you plan and watch out for pitfalls that you’ll want to avoid in the future. You’ll need to check on insurance policies, living wills, health care power of attorney, property titles, etc. You can find referrals for attorneys through your local Alzheimer Chapter (in North Carolina, www.alznc.org/) or senior resources organization. ( in Wake County, www.resourcesforseniors.com)
Today I want to mention Veterans Benefits. Even if your loved one did not serve for an extended period of time, he/she may still be eligible for some sort of assistance. The application process takes a long time, so check early and get the process started. For us, I applied for VA benefits several years ago. Jerry could have received medical visits, prescription medications and occasional respite visits, even glasses at a much reduced cost. At the time, we were still very attached to our own doctors, so we did not take full advantage of the VA services. However, once I placed Jerry in a facility, I began to panic about the cost. I was afraid our money would run out. Our situation is unique in that Jerry was very young, he was the primary income earner, he was not eligible for medicare or medicaid assistance toward the facility cost, nor did our private medical insurance policy pay for anything. EVERYTHING is private pay!
In a panic mode, I contacted the Veterans Administration in my area again. I was told about Aide and Attendance. All the information is online, but this kind gentleman explained, in a nutshell, what I might be eligible for. The qualifications are pretty specific. If you qualify, the veteran may be eligible for a monthly income to help offset the cost of caring for their loved one at home or in a facility. You can read about this online at www.va.gov/. Again, the process is long and laborious, but well worth it.
Now, I know from experience that the information can be overwhelming in the beginning stages of this journey. In fact, there were many days, I couldn’t read or absorb another thing. I was so confused at all the disjointed information being thrown at me from doctors, social workers, insurance companies, alzheimer organizations, attorneys, etc. It was too much! After all, when was I going to do the laundry, sweep the floors, fix the leaky faucet and prune my shrubs!
Just take a deep breath, tackle one or two things at a time, then go out for a bike ride. Try not to allow yourself to BREAK! Trust me.....it WILL work itself out in time.