Dementia is a general term that refers to a disease that causes changes in the brain. The most common dementia disorder is Alzheimer’s.
People who suffer from types of dementia have behavioral and medical health needs that can be costly. Fortunately, there are options besides traditional health insurance or Medicare.
Types of treatment
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, patients with dementia often require a variety of treatment and care. Although there is currently not a cure for it, there are medication and non-drug approaches that can help with behavioral changes and symptoms. Some examples of drugs that a doctor may prescribe are
- Antidepressants for irritability and low mood
- Antipsychotic medications for agitation and uncooperativeness
- Anti-anxiety drugs for restlessness and verbally disruptive behavior
- Cholinesterase inhibitors for symptoms related to memory, judgment, thinking and language
Experts caution that doctors must monitor medication use closely. Some alternative treatment options include omega-3 fatty acids, coconut oil, coenzyme Q10, gingko biloba and coral calcium.
As dementia progresses, paid full-time care is often necessary. This may include home health care or a nursing home.
The costs of dementia care can build quickly, especially in the late stages of the disease, and this can quickly deplete Medicare benefits and individual income. According to Medicaid.gov, some people with dementia may be eligible for Medicaid, even if they are not considered low-income.
For those with a higher income, eligibility may fall under the medically needy program. To become eligible, the individual can spend their income on remedial and medical care that regular insurance does not cover. Once the expenses surpass the difference between income and Medicaid eligibility income, the individual can use Medicaid to pay for additional expenses.