Help with Alzheimer’s Caregiving

(NIH) Caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease can draw on many sources of help for caregiving and financial support. Here are some places that provide general support and advice for Alzheimer’s caregivers.

General Support

  • The Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center offers information on diagnosis, treatment, patient care, caregiver needs, long-term care, research, and clinical trials related to Alzheimer’s. Staff can refer you to local and national resources, or you can search for information on the website. The Center, a service of the National Institute on Aging, can be reached at 1-800-438-4380 or www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers.
  • The Alzheimer’s Association offers information, a help line, and support services to people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Local chapters across the country offer support groups, including many that help with early-stage Alzheimer’s. To find support groups in your area, call 1-800-272-3900.
  • The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America provides information about Alzheimer’s caregiving and a list of services for people with Alzheimer’s. Services include a toll-free hotline, publications, and other educational materials. Contact the Foundation at 1-866-232-8484.
  • The National Institute on Aging Information Center offers free publications about aging in English and Spanish. They can be viewed, printed, and ordered from the Internet. Contact the Center at 1-800-222-2225 or visitwww.nia.nih.gov.

Government Health Insurance

Government agencies and private organizations provide health insurance and other kinds of financial support and services for people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

Medicare is a Federal health insurance program that pays some medical costs for people age 65 and older and for those who have received Social Security Disability Income for 24 months.

  • Medicare Part A covers hospital visits after you pay a certain amount and short stays in a nursing home for certain kinds of illnesses.
  • Medicare Part B helps pay for certain medical services, such as doctor’s fees, lab tests, x-rays, and medical equipment.
  • Medicare Part D covers some prescription drug costs.

For more information, call 1-800-633-4227 or visit www.medicare.gov

Medicaid is a combined Federal-State health insurance program for low-income people and families. This program will pay for nursing home care and sometimes long-term care at home if you meet financial requirements. For more information, visitwww.medicaid.gov

Other Government Benefits

Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) is a program that combines Medicare and Medicaid benefits. It pays medical, social service, and long-term care costs for frail, low-income people age 55 and older. PACE permits most people who qualify to continue living at home instead of moving to a long-term care facility. The program is available only in certain areas. To find out more, visit PACE.

Social Security Disability Income is for people younger than age 65 who are disabled according to the Social Security Administration’s definition. You must be able to show that the person with Alzheimer’s is unable to work, and that his or her condition will last at least a year or is expected to result in death. Visit www.ssa.gov/pgm/disability.htmfor details.

Social Security also has “compassionate allowances” to help people with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, mixed dementia, frontotemporal dementia/Pick’s disease, primary progressive aphasia, and other serious medical conditions get disability benefits more quickly. To find out more, call 1-800-772-1213 or visitwww.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is another resource for caregivers. This is a national program offered in each State that provides free counseling and advice about Medicare coverage and benefits. To contact a SHIP counselor in your State, visit The Ship National Technical Assistance Center

Help for Veterans

If the person with Alzheimer’s disease is a veteran, he or she may qualify for long-term care provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). There could be a waiting list for VA nursing homes. The VA also provides some at-home care. To learn more about VA benefits, call 1-877-222-8387 or visitwww.va.gov/health.

Other Sources of Help

The National Council on Aging, a private group, has a free service calledBenefitsCheckUp. This service helps you find Federal and State benefit programs that can help pay for prescription drugs, heating bills, housing, meal programs, and legal and other services. To learn more about BenefitsCheckUp, call 1-571-527-3900.

For more information, see Getting Help with Caregiving. You can order a print copy of this booklet by calling 1-800-222-2225 or visiting www.nia.nih.gov/health.

Finding Local Resources

Federal and States Programs (Other than Medicaid): Many communities have programs to assist people with Alzheimer’s disease in a number of different ways. One of the best ways to determine what government assistance is available is to contact your local Area Agency on Aging.

The local Area Agency on Aging may be able to connect you with services such as Meals on Wheels, transportation services to help get to doctors’ appointments, or support groups for people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, and other home care programs. These resources are particularly important if you choose to remain in your home.

Counseling and Support

Getting information and counseling from reliable sources, such as community organizations and support groups, can help both people with Alzheimer’s and family members adjust to the challenges of the disease and reduce stress.

Counseling can help you understand how a person with Alzheimer’s is changing, and help you figure out how to deal with those changes. By learning some tips from people who have experience with this disease, caregivers can be better prepared and less stressed as new challenges come up.

Support groups can connect you with people who are facing similar circumstances. Participating in groups or talking with someone on the phone can help reduce feelings of isolation.

Finding the right counseling for you and the person you are taking care of is an important piece of the care and treatment puzzle.

Finding Alzheimer’s Capable Care

As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, you may need to consider in-home assistance or residential care facilities. There are several easy-to-use tools to help you figure out your needs and find care assistance.

Deciding Where to Live

Staying at Home: Most people prefer to stay at home for as long as possible. Staying at home often requires two elements: 1) finding care providers who will come to the home; and 2) adapting the home to reduce obstacles that hinder care giving and make the home unsafe for a person with Alzheimer’s disease. In many cases, small changes to the home can make it possible to live at home longer.

Home- and community-based services

The Alzheimer’s Association External Web Site Policy has a list of services that may be included in home- and community-based services waivers.

Respite Care

The Alzheimer’s Association External Web Site Policy explains available types of care centers and resources to find care facilities.

Types of licensed residences in your area:

Residential Care: If staying at home is no longer an option, there are different kinds of facilities that take care of people with Alzheimer’s.

Citation

http://nihseniorhealth.gov/alzheimerscare/caregiversupport/01.html

http://www.alzheimers.gov/choosing_care.html

 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services