We are always trying to understand the true cost of being a caregiver. In a previous post, we estimated that the aggregate of lost wages, pension, and Social Security benefits of those serving as caregivers to their parents is nearly $3 trillion. Even more shocking is that the total health care costs related to dementia care are more than $287 billion annually in the U.S alone. So how does this apply to you? If you are a caregiver for a loved one with dementia, you should expect some unexpected costs. The most significant driver in dementia costs is the fact that the disease is treatable but not curable.
We’ll describe the common costs you can anticipate for at-home dementia care below in more detail. Use this information to help you prepare financially or decide if there are other options besides home-care that meet your needs.
Common Costs for At-Home Dementia Care
To be financially prepared to care for a loved one with dementia, please make sure you are familiar with the answers to the following FAQ’s:
What are the out-of-pocket costs for caregivers? You can expect to spend at least $10,000 each year on various costs supporting your loved one, such as prescription drugs, personal supplies, adult care services, safety related expenses and more.
What are the out-of-pocket costs for your loved one? According to a 2015 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the average cost for your aging loved one will be $61,500 in out-of-pocket expenses annually. This is compared to $34,068 for those without dementia.
What are the costs of a dementia (or memory) care facility? The costs can vary but generally range from $3,165 to $5,800 per month (source).
What do professional at-home care services costs? The costs can vary based on your location and needs, but the average cost starts at $21/hour.
What are the estimated prescription drug costs? The average prescription drug costs for dementia care are $3,000 per year, which is three times what someone with Medicare pays (source).
How much do safety and tracking devices cost? Tracking your loved one can be done with a mobile app, a wearable GPS tracking device, and/or a remote monitoring device. You can find a list of the top mobile apps here.
What additional medical costs can you expect? Dementia care will typically cost more than more routine and time-limited care. You can expect increased costs associated with memory care training and additional caregiver support.
You need to be prepared for the costs associated with at-home dementia care as best you can. You can’t anticipate when and if this will happen to you, but understanding the costs will help you make the best decisions when it comes to your loved one’s care. To help pay for these costs, form a plan with the input of other family members as well as professionals. Keep in mind that someone with dementia can live for many years. Do the math and see what works best for everyone.