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Dementia diagnosis a good time to review aging parent's care plan

Discussing living arrangements with your aging parent may be a difficult conversation. There are some events, however, that make this discussion more urgent. With 5.3 million people in the United States over the age of 65 diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association, critical issues arise that warrant discussing. 

The impacts associated with this type of diagnosis are far-reaching and run the gamut from physical and mental to emotional and financial. Having a care plan in place for your loved one is one way to ease some of the stress associated with such a worrisome health issue.

Where is the money coming from?

In 2017, approximately $255 billion went into the care and treatment for those diagnosed with dementia-related ailments. Of that, Medicaid paid for about $179 billion. This left about a $56 billion gap paid out-of-pocket by patients and caregivers. Retirement accounts, pensions and savings accounts are often plundered to pay for continued care.

Where is the best care found?

Sitting down with your aging parent even before a dementia diagnosis is critical to ensuring you are both on the same page. If both of your parents are alive and one needs care, your other parent is going to need some serious mental, physical and financial support, especially if there is no preparation. Look at popular care centers in your area to get an idea about how much will need covering privately. The first stages of the disease may be manageable at home or with the help of an in-home nurse. There are many routes you can go to ensure your parent gets the care deserved at all levels.

It is scary to hear a loved one's diagnosis is Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. Estate planning tools such as trusts, powers of attorney and gifts may help your parents prepare for the expenses of the care they need.

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