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What Alzheimer's Disease Costs Caregivers

Alissa Sauer
By Alissa SauerNovember 14, 2016

A new survey has found that families who care for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia, will spend more of their own money on caregiving expenses than their counterparts who care for someone without the disease.

Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease costs and the financial burden that a dementia diagnosis can bring to a family.

Alzheimer’s Care Often Exceeds Other Types of Senior Care

This month marks National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Caregivers Month. While the emotional and physical burden of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is heavy and obvious, an extreme financial burden can be just as heavy, though less obvious.

A recent poll found that families who take on Alzheimer’s or dementia caregiving spend more of their own money on caregiving expenses than other families caring for a senior without dementia. The survey found that:

Nearly 18% of dementia caregivers spent at least $20,000 on caregiving expenses within the past year, compared to only 11% of caregivers caring for someone without dementia.

Alzheimer’s Disease Costs Grow as Disease Progresses

As Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia progress, the disease becomes more costly. People living with dementia eventually require 24-hour care and it becomes difficult for them to remain in their homes or with their families.

The 2016 Genworth Cost of Care Survey found that average cost for a semi-private room to be $82,125 while the average cost of a private room exceeds $90,000.

Additionally, Medicare does not cover “custodial care,” which is what most people living with dementia eventually require. This means that families or individuals must cover the care themselves or qualify for Medicaid. Dayna Steele, author of “Surviving Alzheimer’s with Friends, Facebook, and a Really Big Glass of Wine,” states:

“I felt like a money machine, but it was my mom and it was what I wanted to do.” She encourages families coping with dementia to confront the financial impact of dementia saying, “Quit avoiding the conversation,” she says. “While it’s hard to talk about money and potential future incapacity, it’s even harder to deal with silence around the topic.”

Does your family have experience caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia? What Alzheimer’s disease costs did they accrue? We invite you to share your stories with us in the comments below.

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Alissa Sauer

Alissa Sauer

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