Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease is the definition of “a labor of love.” And it’s the definition, too, of “constant change.”
At first, you may just have to help out in small ways. Later you may face more-practical issues, like changing door locks so your loved one can’t wander away, turning down the water heater to avoid burns, and making sure stove burners are turned off after cooking. Eventually, you’ll reach the point where you don’t feel comfortable leaving your loved one at home alone.
It’s inevitable that your relationship will change as you cope with the challenges. And it’s perfectly normal to experience anger, resentment, and grief as the person you love slips away.
In the United States, 70 percent of people with Alzheimer’s remain in their own homes, with the help of a spouse or other family member. Fortunately, if you’re the spouse or family member, there are services available to help you, such as support groups, respite care, home health support, adult day care, and hospice services.
Don’t wait to explore your options. Your local Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) chapter will help you find a support group, with others in the same boat.
Respite care programs provide temporary relief, utilizing substitute caregivers. These services may be offered by paid home-health aides or local volunteers. And they can give you a few precious hours out of the house.
Paying for Home Health Care
Medicare doesn’t pay for home health aides who provide custodial care – such as bathing, dressing, light housekeeping, grocery shopping, or even staying overnight when a caregiver needs a break. Unfortunately, though, this is the kind of home service a person with Alzheimer’s usually needs.
Many states have a Medicaid waiver program that will cover certain custodial services. To qualify, you’ll have to meet a Medicaid asset test.
To apply for a Medicaid home-based waiver, contact your state office on aging. They’ll do a medical assessment of your loved one, to determine the services required to keep her at home.
Developing a Care Plan
If 24-hour care is now required, home services probably wouldn’t be appropriate. However, if only limited services are required, the agency may approve a “care plan.” But you’ll have to meet income limits set by the state.
If you think this all sounds confusing… you’re right! But it doesn’t have to be. We can be your guide through the entire process, and through all the big decisions.
We’re The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates. We’re Elder Law Attorneys. And we’ve been guiding South Florida families through these processes for 33 years. In fact, we’ve guided thousands of families through the Elder Care Maze, from estate planning, wills, trusts, and powers of attorney to long-term care planning, asset preservation, and assistance with the VA or Medicaid.
We’ll be there for you… at every fork in the road. And we’re just a phone call away.
Caring For A Dementia Patient At Home