Whether your loved one has recently been diagnosed or their symptoms are progressing, you may be wondering how to care for Alzheimer’s at home or when to seek in-home care services for dementia. Not only is your loved one likely to be more comfortable staying at home as long as possible, but long-term care facility residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are at greater risk of abuse than other residents (1).
There’s a lot to learn about home care for Alzheimer’s patients. How much does it cost? Does Medicare cover dementia home care? What are the different types of Alzheimer’s home care services? We’ll answer these questions and more in this ultimate guide to Alzheimer’s home care.
Types of In-Home Memory Care
In general, there are four different types of in-home memory care (2). Home care companies may offer one or more of the following services:
- Companion services: Help with visiting, supervision, or recreational activities.
- Personal care services: Assistance with dressing, bathing, eating, toileting, exercise, and other personal care.
- Homemaker services: Help with shopping, housekeeping, and meal preparation.
- Skilled care: Assistance with injections, wound care, physical therapy, and other medical needs by a licensed healthcare professional.
Home Health vs. Home Care for Dementia: What’s the Difference?
While home health and home care for Alzheimer’s sound like two terms for the same thing, the services are quite different. Home care includes non-medical care such as companionship, transportation, housekeeping, and assistance with activities of daily living.
Home health encompasses services provided by healthcare professionals such as wound care, injections, physical therapy, and other medical concerns.
While Medicare and private insurance may cover home health services, they often do not cover home care.
What Services Are Offered by In-Home Care Organizations?
In-home memory care may include things like:
- Supervision to prevent the person from wandering
- Companionship to prevent loneliness
- Light housekeeping, cooking, making sure they take medications on time
- Assistance with activities of daily living (such as dressing, bathing, toileting, and feeding)
- Transportation to and from doctor appointments or shopping
- Managing finances
Alzheimer’s Home Care Vs Nursing Home
When your loved one has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, home care and nursing homes each have their pros and cons.
Alzheimer’s Home Care Pros and Cons
Pros of home care for dementia:
- Home is familiar and comfortable
- Your loved one can develop a more personal one-on-one relationship with their caregiver(s)
- Typically less expensive than a nursing home
- Seniors can remain as independent as possible
Cons of dementia home care:
- Home may be less secure for seniors prone to wandering
- Your loved one may also need skilled medical home health care
Alzheimer’s Nursing Home Pros and Cons
Pros of a nursing home for Alzheimer’s:
- Maybe more secure for people prone to wandering
- Staffed with a variety of medical professionals
Cons of nursing homes for Alzheimer’s:
- Very expensive, especially for high-quality places
- Remove an individual’s independence
- Can be a difficult transition for anybody, especially those with memory issues
-According to one study, “(Long-term care facility) residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are at greater risk of abuse.”
How Much Does In-Home Alzheimer’s Care Cost?
Costs of in-home dementia or Alzheimer’s care vary depending on the type of care your loved one needs and where in the country you live. To give you a general idea, the national monthly median cost (for 44 hours a week of care) for a home health aide is $4,576 (3). However, the monthly median cost is only $3,241 in Louisiana and is a whopping $6,292 in Minnesota.
-The national monthly median cost (for 44 hours a week of care) for a home health aide is $4,576.
Does Medicare Cover In-Home Care for Alzheimer’s?
Medicare does not cover homemaker or personal care services if that is the only care you need (4). However, they may cover these services as part of an overall care plan if a doctor certifies that your loved one with Alzheimer’s is homebound and requires intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech-language pathology.
Supplemental Medicare or other insurance plans may cover care that regular Medicare does not.
How Do I Know If My Loved One Needs In-Home Care for Dementia?
Since Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are progressive, there will likely come a time when your loved one will fail to care for themselves properly. Here are some signs that your loved one may benefit from home care (5):
- Changes in behavior, such as failing to maintain personal hygiene or pay bills on time
- Disorientation and confusion that puts their physical safety at risk, such as wandering away from home or forgetting the rules of the road while driving
- Decline in physical health, such as losing weight because they forget to eat or aren’t taking medication properly
- Death or deterioration of their primary caregiver, such as a spouse
- Incontinence is a problem you may not want to handle on your own
-According to Dr. Elaine Healy, a geriatrician and vice president of medical affairs and medical director of United Hebrew of New Rochelle in New York, “Someone very independent may suddenly be apprehensive about driving, decline social invitations and become withdrawn.”
Finding the Right In-Home Alzheimer’s Care Services for You
Choosing the best dementia home care service can be stressful. Here are some questions you should ask as you search for the right memory home care service for your loved one (6):
- What type of employee screening do you do?
- Is your agency certified by Medicare to meet federal requirements for health and safety?
- Are you licensed by the state?
- Can your aides provide at least two references?
- Does the home health aide have a good attitude?
- How do you handle billing and expenses?
- What procedures do you have in case of emergencies?
- Will you get a written care plan before services begin?
Is your loved one ready for dementia home care? We can help you find the perfect Alzheimer’s home care to suit your needs.
If you are considering senior care options, please contact the caring staff at Agape Senior Solutions. We can help navigate the challenges of senior housing and senior care. Senior Care Placement Agency serving Douglasville, Villa Rica, Winston, Carrollton, Dallas, Temple, Marietta and Roswell GA. Call today
- Michael Mileski, Kimberly Lee, Curtis Bourquard, Belinda Cavazos, Kristopher Dusek, Kristopher Kimbrough, Linda Sweeney, Rebecca McClay, Preventing The Abuse Of Residents With Dementia Or Alzheimer’s Disease In The Long-Term Care Setting: A Systematic Review, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31695349/
- Alzheimer’s Association, In-Home Care, https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/care-options/in-home-care
- Genworth, Cost of Care Survey, https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html
- Medicare, Home Health Services, https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/home-health-services
- US News and World Report, 5 Signs It’s Time for Memory Care, https://health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/signs-its-time-for-memory-care
- Mayo Clinic, Home Care Services: Questions to Ask, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/home-care-services/art-20044609
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