Q. I work during the day and care for my father in the evening. My 82-year-old father was just diagnosed with the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease. My father currently lives with my two teen children and me. I can’t afford daytime nursing care. What other cost-effective options do I have with respect to caring for my father during the day?
A. First a word about Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s often begins with a gradual, sometimes subtle loss of memory. You will likely notice some decline in your father’s ability to perform everyday tasks, some disorientation as to time and space, difficulty in learning, loss in judgment and changes to personality.
You need to be careful that your father’s condition does not rapidly decline requiring a higher degree in care. With this in mind, and assuming the level of impairment is minimal, it does not appear your father requires “nursing” care at this particular time.
Retaining A Caregiver Aid
From what you are describing, at this point in time, you might want to consider using a home caregiver, also sometimes referred to a home health aid. These people will oversee your father at your home, keep him company, make sure he is safe and prepare meals for him. While going outside formal healthcare services, which can save you a significant amount of money, you must be very careful in your hiring practices. The average aid without going through a formal nursing or health care out-service will cost you around $20.00/hr. However, be sure to perform a complete background check and work history on anyone you are considering hiring for this position. Since you are not going through a formal agency, you will be responsible for carrying your own liability insurance.
Community Adult Day Care
Another option that you may want to consider is adult day care. Currently, these Adult Day Care services enroll between 250,000-300,000 seniors every year, according to the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA).
Community Adult Day Care programs are available to those who need supervision in a safe environment, outside the home, during the day. Adult day programs keep normal business hours five days a week. Some even have weekend hours. The services typically provide recreational activities, meals and social events.
These community based organizations fill a crucial gap in the senior care market, essentially allowing seniors to delay the need for expensive assisted living arrangements or admission to a nursing home.
Affordability of Adult Day Care
These community-based programs are quite affordable, and for early stage dementia, can be an effective way of keeping your father in a safe and social environment for as long as feasible while keeping your elder expenses down.
The cost for Adult Day programs vary depending on your location and the specific services offered. The average daily rate for adult day care is about $75/day. However in some states the daily cost can be as much as $141/day or higher.
Most families who chose adult day care for their aging parent(s) end up having to pay for these services themselves. Unfortunately, Adult Day Care is normally not covered either by Medicare or Medicaid. However, if you have the Medicare Advantage Plan, you may be covered under Part C of that plan.
Alternative ways of covering these types of services is by purchasing long-term care insurance or, if need be, cashing out on your life insurance policy.
Services Provided By Most Adult Day Facilities
While no two Adult Day Care programs are identical, most offer transportation to and from your home and the center, nutritious meals, personal care, such as help with toileting, grooming, eating, and other personal activities.
Counseling Support For Family
Adult day programs usually also offer caregiver support groups, offer education on topics such as how to manage Alzheimer behavior as well as provide counseling support for you, as well as other loved ones who are close to your father.
Adult Day Services is a valuable service because it affords adult children who are caring for their parent with the opportunity to take time off from the demands of caring for an impaired parent.