More than 7 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. In 2022 alone, Medicare spent over $1 billion dollars on people with Alzheimer’s disease, and Medicaid spent over $60 billion dollars on nursing home care.
Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. When thinking about treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, many think about drug therapies. However, Judith Graham of the Philadelphia Inquirer explains that there are dozens of programs that can improve the lives of people living with memory loss diseases.
Judith Graham states that these programs are not just support groups, but “comprehensive dementia care” services that seek to assess needs, link families to resources, and create care plans. These programs are not widely known or broadly available due to low funding, especially compared to what the budget is for drug therapies. Additionally, there are low numbers of health care professionals trained in dementia care.
In 2021, more than 11 million unpaid and untrained Americans provided more than 80% of the care to family members and friends with dementia. These caregivers have proven to have a higher burden of psychological and physical stress when compared to properly trained caregivers. However, access to “comprehensive dementia care” programs can assist untrained caregivers with caring for their loved ones.
Research has also shown that these programs:
The hope in the future is for comprehensive dementia care programs to be widely accessible for those that need them. Currently, dementia advocates are lobbying Medicare to launch a pilot project to test a new model to pay for one of these programs. Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Association is advocating for a pilot project to be adopted “Medicare-wide” where comprehensive dementia care programs would receive between $175 and $225 per month for each patient enrolled. Which over 10 years would save Medicare and Medicaid about $21 billion dollars.
A few examples of current programs for dementia caregivers include:
Caring for the elderly and those with dementia is no easy task. Caregiving can be mentally and physically exhausting, especially with how little resources are available.
If you have any questions about home care for your loved ones, you can contact us. You can also check out the rest of our blog posts on our website.
Written by Madison Chalmers
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