Tucson elder law lawyers work with many families that are touched by Alzheimer’s disease. Everyone has heard about this scourge on our nations elderly, but many people harbor misconceptions about it. They understand the fact that the disease can be devastating, but they are under the impression that a relatively small percentage of elders are impacted. Let’s look at the facts.
There is a very useful tool on the Social Security Administration website that allows you to access your life expectancy based on your age at any given time. If you use this calculator, you will find that the life expectancy for a man that has just reached his 68th birthday is 85 years. The figure is 87 years for a woman.
The United States Census Department conducts in-depth research with the data that they collect, looking at various different demographic trends. One of them is very relevant to this matter. Censuses are taken every 10 years, so the two most recent censuses were the 2000 version and the 2010 census. Between the last two censuses, the segment of the population that grew faster than any other was comprised of people between 85 and 94 years of age. As you can see, many people are living into their mid-80s and beyond, and if you expect to live into your mid-sixties, you will probably become an octogenarian.
The Alzheimer’s Association does a great deal of extraordinary work educating the public about the disease. Their website is a veritable treasure trove of important information. According to research that they cite, about 13 percent of all senior citizens have Alzheimer’s disease. The likelihood of contracting it increases as you get older. They have found that 40 to 45 percent of individuals that are 85 years of age and older are Alzheimer’s sufferers. To put the ubiquity of Alzheimer’s into perspective, someone develops the disease every 66 seconds in our country. At the present time, more than 5 million Americans are struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, and experts say that it will get worse before it gets better. By 2050, the figure may reach 16 million.
Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia, and most people are aware of this, but it is also a deadly killer. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. This disease kills more people than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined. When you digest all these facts, you can see that we should all be concerned about the potential impact of this disease during the latter stages of our lives.
The majority of senior citizens will need some type of assistance with their activities of daily living eventually, and in many cases, they can get help from family members and friends and remain in their homes. However, some people will move into assisted living facilities that provide environments that are ideal for those with mobility challenges that can still live independently in many ways.
Of course, there are those that will require the care that only a nursing home can provide, and this would certainly apply to people that have middle to late stage Alzheimer’s disease. If you paid into the program sufficiently throughout your working life, you will qualify for Medicare when you reach the age of 65 under the current guidelines. This government health insurance program will help with many medical issues, but it does not cover custodial care, which is the type of assistance you would receive in a nursing home.
It is not easy to get out a checkbook and pay for nursing home care out-of-pocket. Nursing homes are very expensive. Our elder law office is in Tucson, Arizona. According to the American Association of Retired People (AARP), you can expect to pay almost $91,000 a year for a private room in a nursing home in the state of Arizona. It is not uncommon for people to spend multiple years receiving this type of care, so these expenses could consume everything that you intended to leave to your loved ones after you pass away.
When it comes to coping with Alzheimer’s disease, you can tap into some valuable resources. As we have stated, the Alzheimer’s Association is quite active, and there is a Southern Arizona regional chapter. On the financial side of things, there are ways that you can brace yourself for potential nursing home costs. Medicaid does cover long-term care, but it takes careful planning to qualify. If you would like to discuss the details with a Tucson elder law attorney, give us a call at (520) 529-4000.