Medicare And Dementia

Medicare and dementia sometimes go hand in hand with senior living.

Planning ahead will ease the heartache

There is a new book that explains what you can do to live well if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia. The book, called Better Living with Dementia, is written by Laura Gitlin and Nancy Hodgson.

The two have the experience to help others with Medicare and dementia planning and care. Gitlin is dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University and chair of the Department of Health and Human Services advisory council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Human Services.

Hodgson is a leading expert on care for people suffering with cognitive impairment.

Where to start

Among their recommendations is to put affairs in order early on. This would include:

  • Contacting an elder-care lawyer
  • Contacting a financial planner
  • Look into adult-care centers
  • Investigate caregiver services
  • Learn about nursing-home and assisted-living facilities

In other words, plan ahead.

Statistics show that around 70 percent of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia live at home. The authors stress that it is extremely important to ensure that the home environment is safe. They suggest bringing in a professional occupational therapist to identify potential problem areas.

As dementia progresses, the book recommends setting up a daily routine, which will lessen stress.

In advanced stages, dementia patients are known to wander, be aggressive and become agitated. At this stage, it may be necessary to bring in a caregiver who is trained to deal with these symptoms.

Medicare coverage for dementia

Medicare will cover some, but not all, of the costs associated with dementia.

Most coverage available for dementia is under Medicare Part B. This would include a cognitive assessment given by a physician and occupational therapy to improve the patient’s functions.

Some home healthcare, ordered by a physician, would include physical, occupational and speech therapy. Medicare will not generally cover custodial care for dementia patients.

Medicare will cover 100 days in a skilled nursing facility, as long as the patient’s improvement is reported. After that, no costs are covered. Nursing-home facilities or assisted-living facilities are not covered.

Medications that alleviate confusion and memory loss may be covered.

Above all, the two experts say, is to surround the patient with love and affection.


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