It can be extremely difficult to accept the news that you or a loved one has dementia. And to make matters even more overwhelming, you now have to make some hard decisions about what kind of care is going to be best for your situation.
Fortunately for residents of West Chester, the borough offers a variety of high-quality options for those in need of dementia care. In order to help you sift through the seemingly endless possibilities, here are answers to a few frequently asked questions about dementia care in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
What Is the Average Cost of Dementia Care in Chester County?
Pennsylvania is one of the more affordable states in the country when it comes to personal care, coming in as the 12th-most affordable in the nation, according to PayingforSeniorCare.com. Based on data provided by Genworth Financial, Inc. and the U.S. Census Bureau, the average annual costs for personal care in Pennsylvania total around $45,000.
Dementia care is going to increase those costs by an average of $800-$1,200 per month, with the cost of care depending on how much assistance is required. Because dementia is progressive, residents may need to be reassessed regularly to keep pace with their needs.
West Chester is one of the best locations for senior care in the state, with a historic and walkable downtown, access to parks and outdoor spaces, close proximity to Philadelphia, and plenty of available resources for seniors. The wealth of amenities means the cost of care in the borough averages around $4,875, slightly higher than the state average.
If you are considering in-home care, costs vary widely depending on the level of assistance required and whether you hire through an agency or independently. As of 2019, the average rate for home care in Pennsylvania is approximately $22 per hour, with dementia care likely involving additional costs.
Are There Financial Assistance Opportunities for Dementia Care in Pennsylvania?
Though the price of dementia care can seem shocking at first, when you consider both the financial and emotional costs of taking care of a loved one on your own, it can actually be a great value. Plus, there are several ways to reduce the financial burden, including Medicaid, long-term care insurance, and other state-sponsored support programs.
For those who qualify, Medicaid can help with the costs of personal care, although it’s important to note that not all communities accept Medicaid, and that beds reserved for Medicaid residents are usually limited. To figure out whether you qualify for public benefits and to receive help signing up, call a state health insurance counselor for a free consultation.
If your loved one has signed up for long-term care insurance, that should help substantially with the financial burden of personal care. However, if they haven’t signed up and need care imminently, it’s probably too late.
Aside from Medicaid and insurance, Pennsylvania also offers a handful of programs to ease the financial burden of senior care. The Pennsylvania Domiciliary Care program pays a fixed amount to help seniors who live in the homes of caregivers, while Pennsylvania’s Options Program offers benefits including personal care, home health, home modifications, durable medical equipment, assistive technology, counseling, and adult day care.
The Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly (PACE, PACE Plus Medicare, and PACENET) programs offer prescription assistance for lower-income, elderly state residents who do not qualify for Medicaid.
What Options Does West Chester Offer for Seniors in Need of Dementia Care?
West Chester has 31 nearby communities that offer dementia care, according to Caring.com, and Chester County has 162, some of which offer dementia care. The level of care varies widely depending on the community or care provider you’re considering. The best dementia care communities provide a high quality of life while taking precautions to ensure each resident’s safety, such as security measures to prevent wandering outside the grounds and design choices that decrease residents’ frustration with or agitation because of their dementia.
How Do I Choose the Right Care for Myself or a Loved One?
Not all dementia care options are created equal, and the best choice will depend on a number of factors. You should first evaluate the severity of the dementia and the level of monitoring required. For those with mild dementia, an in-home caregiver who can assist with daily activities such as taking regular medications may be sufficient. For more advanced cases, the best option may be a senior living community that offers dementia care, which can provide consistent monitoring and access to care providers who are well versed in caring for residents with dementia. The best way to figure out the best option for you or a loved one is by visiting a few different communities or meeting with several caregivers and asking plenty of questions.
What Are Some of the Benefits of Dementia Care as Provided by a Senior Living Community?
Dementia care provided by a senior living community is often the best option for someone with dementia because it allows the highest possible quality of life while ensuring safety and peace of mind. Residents are typically integrated into a supportive community where they can continue practicing hobbies and engaging in social activities, all while reducing symptoms such as aggression, anger, wandering, and depression.
Due to the progressive nature of dementia, if your loved one’s health declines further, most dementia care facilities will be able to easily adjust the level of care provided. Communities that offer that range of care are often preferable to a sudden shift from in-home care to full-time dementia care, which can be especially disorienting for someone with dementia.
Hopefully, these answers help to make this big decision slightly less daunting. For more insights into living well with dementia, check out The Arbor Company blog.