The cost of Alzheimer’s is more complex than the numbers found in medical bills and nursing home care. Family members and other caregivers shoulder financial, physical and emotional burdens that are hard to imagine without experiencing it.
Alzheimer’s patients suffering from dementia require gradually increasing help and supervision. Nursing home care may eventually become necessary, but families often try to provide care at home for as long as possible.
According to a 2018 Alzheimer’s Association report, Americans provided 18.4 billion hours of unpaid care to loved ones with Alzheimer’s, valued at $232.1 billion, in 2017 alone.
The Cost of Alzheimer’s Care
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s can strike terror in the hearts of patients and their loved ones, because it is a horrible disease that slowly robs you of who you are. Often slow to progress, family members and friends know they will slowly watch their loved one slip away, even if they remain in good physical health.
What families do not always anticipate is the overwhelming financial cost and the toll it will take on their lives. The financial cost does not always come in the form of bills for care. It is often in personal sacrifices, taking more and more time away from a job or career to be with your loved one and provide the care they need and skipping or cutting back on the activities that help maintain your own health and ultimately incurring expenses for your own health problems. The physical and emotional toll of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can even cause the breakdown of your marriage and all of the financial problems that come with divorce.
According to the report, in 2017, Alzheimer’s and other dementia caregivers incurred $11.4 billion in additional healthcare costs due to the difficulty of providing care.
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