Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and the Cost of Long Term Care

You don’t have to be broke to qualify for help.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia are common causes for families to seek long term care for a loved one. If you haven’t planned for the cost of long term care in advance, it can be devastating financially and overwhelming emotionally. If your family is experiencing the crisis of suddenly learning that a loved one needs costly long term care, Tamara Marshall at ZCWS can help you apply and qualify, for assistance from Medicaid to pay for the care, and preserve fruits of a lifetime of hard work and savings.

Researchers presenting at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2016 (AAIC 2016) in July introduced and described a new condition known as mild behavioral impairment (MBI) that may be a forerunner of dementia.

They also proposed a new MBI checklist that physicians and research professionals can use to help recognize and measure sharp changes in mood and behavior that may precede the memory and thinking problems of dementia. Eventually, a similar checklist may be used by caregivers and family members to document the nature and extent of symptoms, and measure changes over time.

MBI would be a clinical designation that precedes mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a diagnosis that is used to describe people experiencing some cognitive problems but who can still perform most daily functions. Individuals with MBI would typically be functionally independent and younger than typical dementia patients. For a diagnosis, changes in behavior and mood must be present for at least six months and be a change from the person’s longstanding pattern of behavior.

The checklist contains 34 questions in various categories of behavioral symptoms, including: becoming agitated, aggressive, irritable or temperamental; becoming more easily frustrated or impatient; hoarding objects; saying rude or crude things the person would not have said before; becoming suspicious of intentions or motives of others, often to the point of believing they are in danger or that others are planning to harm them or steal their belongings; becoming apathetic or more impulsive.

“While memory loss is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s, early symptoms such as anxiety, confusion and disorientation are often more common, troubling and obvious to family members,” according to Maria C. Carillo, PhD, chief science officer, Alzheimer’s Association. Studies have shown that a person with mild cognitive impairment who also experiences mood or behavior changes develops full-on dementia faster than one who does not have behavior changes and, over time, experiences worse symptoms.

We hope the information in this blog will help you start a conversation with physicians early to help identify, in advance, that the cost of long term care might be on the horizon for a loved one. Tamara Marshall can help you plan in advance, or take a weight off your shoulders when the crisis of a sudden need for long term care is overwhelming your family and threatening to drain a lifetime of saving. Contact Tamara for a free consultation.