It is common to feel overwhelmed after you or a family member are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. Not only do you need to work through the emotions that come with this news, but it is also important to put together a care plan. Due to the progressive nature of Alzheimer’s and many other dementias, you will need to factor in the cost of care and determine who will provide care over the long-term.

Even though it is a difficult time, you can empower your family starting the planning process. Given that there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, many people choose to live life to the fullest after receiving a diagnosis such as taking long-desired vacations and checking off other “bucket list” items, while also planning for future care needs.

Checklist for Future Planning

At first, things might not seem much different compared to the life that was lived before the dementia diagnosis. But the person will require more care as the disease progresses. Here are a few things that should be considered:

  • Housing and Services: Discuss options for care at home or in a facility. If in-home care is chosen, consider using services available through reputable home care providers or adult day care programs. There are many Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE) that offer “memory care” which is specific to the needs of people with dementia. The costs of these options must be weighed carefully.
  • Paperwork and Legal Details: It can be helpful to hire an estate planning attorney to arrange for a comprehensive estate plan. If they retain decisional capacity, the person who is diagnosed with dementia can appoint a power of attorney for property and for healthcare. Ensuring that legal documents are up-to-date means that the family isn’t left without legal authority to handle the affairs of the person with dementia while they are living but lack capacity. It also helps to ensure a smooth handling of that person’s estate once they die.
  • Income and Benefits: A dementia diagnosis can be a financial stressor on the family. Look at potential sources of income, budget goals for care services, and possible access to long-term care insurance benefits. Some people work with a financial planner to project future costs of care and budget accordingly.
  • End-of-Life Care: As hard as it is to have this conversation, you should discuss end-of-life care wishes. The Conversation Project offers useful advice about how to address this topic. Determining final arrangements can provide the person with dementia and the family with peace of mind. Many funeral homes provide pre-planning services that can be catered based on the desires of the person and the customs of the family.

Support for Accessing the Best Care and Services

This kind of planning can be hard to begin when the family is emotionally distraught upon receiving a diagnosis. If needed, allow a little bit of time before attending to these tasks.

Also, don’t overlook the benefits that come from working with Aging Life Care Managers and other professionals who can guide these important decisions. If you need support with future planning for dementia or other progressive conditions, Windward Life Care is here to help. We assist families in finding the right resources in the area.

The population in San Diego County is aging, with many people exploring their options for housing and lifestyle in retirement. One option that is attractive to many older adults is the possibility of moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).

What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)?

CCRCs are sometimes called “life plan communities,” offering the support and resources older adults need as they move through the stages of aging. This support encompasses daily living assistance, such as dining options, housekeeping, transportation, recreational events,  and more. Additionally, wellness, fitness, and healthcare providers are provided as needed.  A robust activities calendar and resort-like amenities are other features of CCRCs that are attractive to many.

A full range of care options is available at most CCRCs, including everything from independent living to assisted living to memory care to skilled nursing care. The goal is to create a “one-stop” solution so that residents can age in place, even as their needs change.

Moving into a CCRC involves a significant investment of resources, so it is important for potential residents to make an informed decision. According to the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), “The decision to move into a Continuing Care Retirement Community or not represents one of the most important decisions a person can make in their lifetime. The relationship between a CCRC and a resident is expensive, lengthy, highly personal, and complex.”

Types of CCRC Contracts

When choosing a CCRC, a contract will be established with a promise of care for at least a year or more. The cost and services provided vary depending on the CCRC that is selected and the specific services offered through the contract. Basic contract types include:

  • Life Care: Structured with an annual monthly rate and includes a guaranteed promise of care for life. Services typically include both primary and acute care, as well as nursing home and assisted living care on-site when needed.
  • Modified: The contract is designed with entrance fees and monthly fees, as well as a promise of reduced rates for higher care for a specific period. This option tends to be less expensive compared to a Life Care contract, but the resident bears more of the risk of future care costs. The provider also shares the risk of future costs.
  • Fee-for-Service: Like the modified contract, this option includes entrance fees and monthly fees. Guaranteed access is promised for higher levels of care, but the services are offered at the current market rate, and the resident bears the full risk of these costs.
  • Rental: The rental contract is designed with a monthly fee determined by the level of care that is received.

Is a CCRC Right for You?

Are you shopping for a CCRC? It is essential to understand the pricing structure as well as the level of services that will be provided. Education about your options is the best solution to find the community that is a good fit for your needs. Many consumers also choose to work with an attorney to review CCRC contracts. Our team at Windward Life Care is here to help you find the right solutions for care and housing. Contact us to learn about the available services.