An Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis is a long, difficult road to travel. Without a cure, there’s little you and your caregivers can do but buckle up for the ride. The greatest toll to be paid on that road is the emotional one, but the financial costs take a toll, too.

As Alzheimer’s chips away at a person’s mental capacities, they will eventually need around-the-clock care, often in a residential facility. In the United States, long-term care can run nearly $100,000 a year. Sorting out the financial aspects at the beginning of the Alzheimer’s journey can make things easier. Here, we provide three ways to help you understand the financial costs of providing Alzheimer’s care, and how to prepare for and even reduce those costs.

  1. Make a contingency plan part of your estate plan

We beat the planning drum a lot because, ultimately, being prepared makes all the difference. When we sit down with our clients to begin estate planning, we make sure to factor in any unfortunate events that could derail your retirement plans and savings, such as an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. In some instances, the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s or other dementias may not occur until years after a diagnosis, allowing you to keep working or enjoying retirement. With a contingency plan in place, you don’t have to worry about not having the money required for care when the time comes. What is vitally important is that you make these plans while you still have the mental capacity to do it.

  1. Home care vs. assisted living care

Deciding between in-home care or an assisted living or nursing facility is a personal decision and one unique to your situation. Each has its benefits and expenses. Home care allows you to remain in familiar territory, with the option of having a loved one be your primary caregiver. If you choose this route, your caregiver should prepare themselves to handle all the potential challenges of caregiving. You can also choose to have a professional in-home caregiver, which does incur an additional cost. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities may be the right option if your needs are too great to meet at home. Traditionally, home care is less expensive, with facilities often charging more to care for someone with Alzheimer’s. We advise you to research the various costs, and we can help you through this process.

  1. Paying with Medicaid

In 2016, Medicaid covered $41 billion of care for Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Having Medicaid help reduce some of your out-of-pocket expenses is a complicated process, but one where we excel. The first step is learning whether you qualify for Medicaid, which involves looking at your level of disability, your income and your assets. As we work together to plan your estate and your contingency plan, we will find that answer. As always, it’s important to visit this option early on before you need the money. That way, if the time comes when you need care, the ball is already rolling.

Discussing the unknown and what might happen to you or a loved one after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is not easy. Our team of attorneys specializes in helping families like yours through these talks so you understand your risks and options. Planning now before a dementia diagnosis takes its toll can ensure the financial costs don’t increase the emotional ones, too.