What is the True Cost of Alzheimer's Memory Care in Georgia?

More than 16 million Americans are unpaid caregivers for a loved one living with dementia. Although there’s no price tag, this care is far from free. Caregivers often experience burnout and depression. This human toll is very real and can undermine everyone’s quality of life — including that of the senior with dementia. Most seniors with dementia eventually need 24/7 care. That’s something no single person can provide, and paying for in-home care can quickly exhaust your loved one’s savings. Residential memory care offers a great alternative that includes plenty of activities and support. At the right senior living community, the true cost of memory care in Georgia may be lower than you think.

How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Georgia?

On average, a memory care community in Georgia costs about $4,000 per month. You’ll generally pay more in areas such as Atlanta and Savannah, while care in more rural regions tends to cost less. Higher-quality dementia care communities often charge more, but they offer services that can more greatly improve health and quality of life. Over time, this may actually help you save money, by reducing healthcare costs, for example.

The Hidden Costs of Home Caregiving

Home caregiving seems free at first glance, but it’s anything but. If you live in a busy metropolis such as Atlanta, you’ll spend much of your day fighting traffic as you drive to doctor’s appointments or shuttle yourself back and forth between your loved one’s home and your own. Some other costs to keep in mind include:

  • The costs of homeownership: If your loved one remains in their home, you’ll bear the many costs of homeownership, including maintenance, upkeep, and possibly a mortgage. If they move to your home, you may have to pay for renovations to make the home safer, and you’ll almost certainly incur higher utility and food bills.
  • The 2018 C.A.R.E. Study, which followed family caregivers, uncovered many hidden costs of caregiving. Sixty-seven percent of caregivers said they reduced their own living expenses to fund caregiving costs. They incurred an additional $273 in expenses per month, and more than one-third reported that caregiving ate up at least 20 percent of their monthly budget. More than half said they were not prepared for the financial realities of caregiving.
  • Caregiving can mean diverting money from savings to cover caregiving expenses, potentially delaying the caregiver’s own retirement and costing them thousands in retirement savings.
  • Some caregivers take time off from work or switch to part-time work so they can be more available to support a loved one.
  • Many caregivers abandon their hobbies and friends, spend less time with their children, exercise less, or sleep less to manage the challenges of care. These choices can have long-lasting consequences for one’s health and well-being.
  • The challenges of finding balance within a family. Families often have disagreements about the right care — or rely primarily on a single exhausted caregiver. Residential care eliminates this stress and can greatly reduce family conflict.

Cost vs. Value

It’s true that memory care is typically more expensive than family caregiving. But it also offers a better value. And if you are able to sell your loved one’s home to fund care, your out-of-pocket costs may be minimal. In return, you’ll gain an extraordinary value that can improve quality of life for both you and your loved one. The benefits of memory care in Georgia include:

  • More freedom for caregivers: Return to work and spend time with your kids. Then enjoy low-stress time with your loved one in a safe and nurturing environment.
  • Better health for your loved one: Memory care keeps residents physically and cognitively active.
  • Fewer worries about the future: In memory care, your loved one is safe and supported. So you don’t have to worry about how you’ll tend to their changing needs.
  • Support for caregivers: Communities such as Arbor offer support groups to help caregivers manage the challenges of loving someone with dementia.
  • A more fulfilling life: No caregiver can possibly tend to a loved one’s physical needs, keep them socially engaged, and remain on top of all the latest dementia research. Memory care in Georgia offers all of this and more, giving your loved one a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
  • More support than you can offer at home: No single person can monitor a person with dementia 24/7, let alone do so while providing stimulating activities and exercise. Memory care means no longer worrying about care for your loved one when you have to go on an outing, and no more guilt about not being able to provide them with adequate stimulation.

Paying for Memory Care in Georgia

Georgia Medicaid will fund assisted living or memory care if it is medically necessary. Many seniors with dementia qualify for Medicaid (even those with significant assets), because a person with dementia may be classified as medically needy. If you think you will need help funding memory care, begin planning early. Contact the Elder Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia for an attorney who specializes in elder-care issues, including Medicaid planning.

Long-term care insurance, certain employee benefit plans, and veterans benefits may also cover all or a portion of memory care funding. So it’s important to review any programs for which your loved one is eligible before they need to move.

If you prefer to pay for memory care yourself, know that senior living may be more affordable than you think — especially if you intend to sell your loved one’s home. Visit Arbor’s cost comparison tool for help comparing and assessing the costs of various living arrangements.

The Arbor Company’s Georgia memory care communities boast three decades of experience supporting seniors and their families. We know that dementia can be scary. We also know that it is not the end of a meaningful, deeply connected life. We’d love to show you how to support your loved one with dementia by letting us support your entire family. Give us a call to learn more about what we offer!

This blog was updated December 2020.

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