How Dementia’s Financial Costs Take a Toll on Families

It’s no secret that Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia bring emotional hardship to families and loved ones. But, the Alzheimer’s Association – who surveyed 3,500 contributors of care – found that dementia’s financial costs also take a toll on families, bringing an insufferable financial burden to many family members.How Dementia's Financial Costs Take a Toll on Families

Take a closer look at the findings from the survey and learn how these findings may impact future financing options.

Caregivers Bear the Burden of Dementia’s Financial Costs

A recent report from the Alzheimer’s Association found startling evidence of dementia’s financial burden on family caregivers.

Vice President of Constituent Services for the Alzheimer’s Association, Beth Kallmyer, summed up the report stating:

“The cost of paying for care was putting people in a situation where they had to make really difficult choices around basic necessities things like food, medical care, transportation.”

The survey was based on the responses of over 3,500 Americans who were somehow contributing to the care of someone with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. Key findings of the report included:

  • On average, friends and family of someone with dementia spent over $5,00 of their own money on care expenses
  • More than 1/3 of financial contributors who had jobs had to quit or reduce their hours
  • Nearly 13% had to sell their personal belongings to raise money
  • Almost 50% of respondents said they needed to take from their savings or retirement
  • 2/3 of participants falsely believed the Medicare would help cover nursing costs or were not sure if it would

Dementia’s Emotional and Financial Impact on Families

Kallmyer says the survey was eye-opening, showing how unprepared people are to not only deal with the emotional impact of dementia, but also how to pay for their loved one’s long-term care.

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“It’s really a double whammy,” she says. “People are sometimes not able to work as much or not able to work at all in order to provide care, and then they’re paying money out of pocket on top of that.”

Dr. Pierre Tariot from the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix shared his thoughts, stating:

“It’s a challenge for almost every family that we see. We do see folks who are lucky and have considerable resources. But even for those families it’s a major financial obligation.”

He went on to say it was not realistic to expect every family to absorb the cost, predicting that society will need to eventually think of another way to fund care for seniors.

Has dementia’s financial costs taken a toll on your family? What tips do you have for other families during this time? Share them with us in the comments below.

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