Q: As my husband's Alzheimer's disease progresses, I am unable to care for him at home like I did before. What is the next step?
You have lots of options to explore. You can look at bringing a non-medical aide (personal sitter/companion) in to help care for your husband. Non-medical care is private pay, meaning you can't use insurance to pay for it. You can also look at home-health care. Home care services range from personal care and dressing, mobility assistance, meal preparation, medication management and health care. Home health care is not a 24/7 fix, but could free up some of your time.
In addition, check in your area for respite groups. In my area, respite care is available once a week for four hours on certain days of the week. There is no cost and the Alzheimer's Association would know of any respite resources located in your area. Your local Area Agency on Aging, which can be found in the phone book, is also a great resource to assist in your search for elder care services. You can also check into adult day care, where you can bring your husband during the day, while your run errands, work or take some time for yourself. There is a fee for adult day care.
Long Term Care Options for Alzheimer's or Dementia
If none of these are an option, you can look into specialized Alzheimer's care at an assisted living facility or skilled nursing facility. Research the local senior living communities to see if any of them have an Alzheimer's unit, also called memory care, for your husband. As cognitive functioning declines, memory care offers a progression of care to include a higher level of supervision and security. Medicaid does cover some of the costs of long-term care, but a person must meet many eligibility requirements – and they vary greatly from state to state. If your loved one has long-term care insurance, the cost should be covered. Otherwise your loved one or the family will have to fund it.
If your husband is a veteran, he might qualify for Veteran's Aid and Attendance. It takes some research on your part, but there is financial aid available for veterans.
AgingCare.com can help you search for home care, adult day care, assisted living and nursing homes in your parent's local area. Visit the Find Care area of the website.
I'm wishing you strength, courage and happiness with your loved one in his days gone by.