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November Ask the Expert

November 16, 2016

Ask the Expert:

Sarah Lopez, RN, BSN—Associate Administrator of Health Services at Peabody Retirement Community

Dear Sarah, my mother has been diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. I’m worried that she will need care that I’m not equipped to give her. What are my options?

Answer: I chose to answer your question for November because it was National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and it’s also a big concern facing so many adult children and spouses today. Unfortunately, barring medical breakthroughs, the numbers of seniors afflicted with the disease are expected to continue growing. An estimated 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease today, and the number of people age 65 and older with the disease are projected to triple to 13.8 million by 2050.

Before I get started, you and others may be interested in our Dementia Support Group at Peabody. Open to the public, it’s led by Pastor Sue on the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. in our Enrichment Center. All are welcome to attend.

Now, let me answer your question by first addressing the memory care solutions available to loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Then I’ll touch on ways to make care affordable, including VA benefits—since this month we’re also celebrating Veterans Day.

MEMORY SUPPORT SOLUTIONS

As you explore residential options for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, you’ll find communities providing dedicated memory care services typically offer care in an assisted living or skilled nursing setting, usually on a separate floor or wing. Living accommodations may vary, but when it comes to services, most offer structured activities led by a staff specifically trained to care for individuals with memory loss.

Memory Care Costs

Because memory care requires a larger staff-to-resident ratio and additional training to adequately care for residents, the cost is often higher than other communities. You’ll find the charges vary, depending on the level of care needed and, if applicable, the size of the room and whether the accommodations are semi-private or private.

Memory Care Services

Almost all memory care communities offer 24-hour supervised care and health management for residents. Services and amenities typically include the room, three meals per day, round-the-clock personal assistance with daily activities, medication management, housekeeping and laundry services, and social activities and wellness programs.

Smock Memory Enhancement Center

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about our dedicated memory care center for residents at Peabody. The innovative Frank and Laura Smock Memory Enhancement Center is a recognized leader in dementia care. Programming is built upon the Montessori approach to life engagement—where long-term memories are stimulated in creative and unique ways utilizing all the senses. Our social model to dementia care creates life engagement encounters through daily programming and services so that our staff is always finding ways to fully engage residents in this community.

MEMORY CARE PAYMENT OPTIONS

No matter which memory care solution you choose, the costs can put a financial strain on families if you don’t locate resources to help pay for it. Let’s explore them now.

Medicaid Benefits

When individuals lack the savings to cover long-term care, or their length of stay exhausts their financial assets, they may become eligible for assistance from Medicaid. Qualification requirements are based on a strict cap on savings and investments.

Veterans Administration (VA) Benefits

If your loved one’s memory loss reaches a stage where 24-hour nursing is required, The VA has set aside funding specifically designed to assist with aging veterans who require skilled nursing care. In fact, it has contracted with the Health Center at Peabody to cover the costs of long-term skilled nursing care for veterans who have served in the active military and meet very specific VA qualification requirements. Families of aging veterans also may be comforted to know the VA covers hospice care for qualifying retired service men and women.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Since long-term care insurance is a private policy, the coverage can vary dramatically. Often it is used to help seniors pay for both skilled and non-skilled care. If your loved one has a policy, we suggest you call the insurance company to find out if memory care is covered. We’d also be happy to help you research services covered under your plan.

Peabody Benefits

I can happily tell you that Peabody accepts most forms of insurance, including all the payment options we just discussed. Our healthcare network includes most carriers and will soon be in-network with United Healthcare.

At Peabody Retirement Community, we celebrate the ageless spirit every day—and one of the ways we do that is by offering exceptional memory care and payment options for families facing a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

To find out more, visit anytime at 400 West Seventh Street in North Manchester or give us a call at (260) 982-8616. Better yet, schedule an appointment and private tour using our contact form online at PeabodyRC.org.

More questions about this or other health topics?

I’m always happy to try to answer them. When something’s on your mind, we hope you know you can turn to Peabody Retirement Community.

About Peabody Retirement Community

On 33 acres of tranquil and pristine beauty in North Manchester, Indiana, Peabody is a continuing care retirement community offering a complete range of residential and healthcare lifestyle options including independent living, assisted living, rehabilitation, skilled nursing and memory care.  Here, the lives of senior adults are enriched through recreation, education, and culture in an atmosphere of grace, compassion, and respect.  To learn more, call (260) 982-8616, toll-free (800) 545-6220 or visit PeabodyRC.org.

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