Living with Dementia Brings Challenges - Quality Care Allows Better Quality of Life

When someone needs long-term health care, whether it is because of dementia or numerous other reasons, many people think life is over. Quality care promotes a better quality of life. Being prepared eases the family burden and protects savings.

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Living with Dementia Brings Challenges - Quality Care Allows Better Quality of Life
4 Min Read July 20th, 2022

Arthur English celebrated his 80th birthday in May 2022. He was a noteworthy film and commercial producer throughout his career, working on projects for major advertising agencies.

Later, Mr. English also spent time as a New York Waterways tour guide, meeting new people daily as he brought tourists along the Hudson River.

Despite his long and busy career, Arthur started to notice a decline in his memory, just like many others in his age group. He finally discussed his memory concern with his doctor. His physician diagnosed Arthur with dementia. 

I don't know where I am. This is a very strange experience. Up to that moment, I never, ever, heard the word dementia.

Arthur English

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a chronic brain disorder that affects memory, reasoning, and personality. It interferes with daily functioning. Dementia is a common problem; someone worldwide develops dementia every 3 seconds. There are over 50 million people worldwide living with dementia right now.

Many families also face a loved one with MCI - mild cognitive impairment. MCI is characterized by subtle changes in memory and thinking. It is estimated that 10% to 15% of individuals with MCI develop dementia later.

The impact of dementia affects families and finances, not to mention changing the lifestyle and quality of life of the person affected by the disease. 

Hundreds of Dementia Types Exist

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. The Alzheimer's Association says that one in three seniors will die with Alzheimer's or another dementia. 

Many people are unaware that Alzheimer's kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Families are often unprepared to deal with the declining health of a parent or family member, and a family crisis places pressure on everyone. 

Family Caregivers are Overwhelmed

More than 11 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer's or other dementias. These caregivers are untrained for this demanding job as they attempt to juggle caregiving responsibilities with their careers, families, and other commitments. 

"Having dementia is about learning how to compile your thinking; that's the beginning," English said.

As dementia progresses, the individual will require supervision and help with daily living activities that the rest of us take for granted. For many people with dementia, a long-term care facility that has experience in dementia care is the best option.

For Arthur English, the recommended facility was The Riverside in Manhattan's Upper West Side. Mr. English had initial episodes of not wanting to talk or be social, but his outlook changed as he spent time in his new environment.

Cathy Diamond is the Director of Recreation Therapy at The Riverside. Diamond encouraged English to paint, exercise, and be creative. 

This place in particular and her regimentation, of how to deal with people, you learn that, maybe I can paint. Maybe I can study music.

Arthur English

Quality Care Means Better Quality of Life

Under the proper care environment, those with dementia or other long-term health care needs can still live a quality life. English also served as the Resident Council President at The Riverside.

"When people say you have dementia, there's as many forms of dementia as our stars. For some people, it can be a space voyage. And I call it, in a very specific way, multi-‘dementia'-nal," English said.

It is our honor as health care professionals to provide the best support to our patients and residents, and to offer the finest amenities and programs.

Jake Hartstein, Administrator of The Riverside. 

"If it weren't for this facility, and for someone who motivated me like the sun by giving me light, I would not be here."

Arthur English

Available Resources

LTC NEWS offers several guides that help families find quality care options. This guide details assisted living and memory care - Assisted Living and Memory Care Facilities | LTC News

Long-term health care is not cheap, especially for quality care providers at home or in a facility. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator illustrates these costs nationwide based on your location. You will see the current and future cost of long-term care services where you live - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News.

The cost of care does vary depending on your location and the type of services you require. Most families are not prepared for the tremendous cost of quality care services. Even for well-to-do families, it can be a financial disaster. 

Traditional health insurance, including Medicare and supplements, will only pay for a small period of skilled services. The problem is most long-term health care is about an individual getting help with everyday living activities or supervision due to dementia - types of care not covered at all. The financial responsibility will be yours unless you have planned ahead. 

Don't expect Medicaid to be your answer unless you have little or no income or assets. 

LTC Insurance Offers Access to Quality Care Services

Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for types and levels of long-term health care. Unfortunately, you can only purchase coverage when you have relatively good health. You cannot buy LTC Insurance when you need it. Most people obtain Long-Term Care Insurance in their 50s, sometimes younger, as part of retirement planning.

As we get older, we experience changes in our health. Some people have mobility problems. The various forms of dementia will impact many people forcing them to need supervision and other care services. 

Some people need long-term health care just because of the frailty of aging. Aging happens, and being prepared will make the aging process easier on those you love. Most surveys show that people want access to quality care, preferably at home. Most people say that they don't want to be a burden on their loved ones. 

Indeed, most people want to protect their lifestyle and legacy and not lose their hard-earned savings. You can avoid the crisis by making arrangements, ideally before you retire.

Long-Term Care Insurance is affordable for many people. Your age and health are some of the factors that go into insurance costs - How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost? | LTC News.

Arthur English and his family are happy he is getting the quality care he deserves.

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About the Author

Linda Kople is a freelance writer with a personal family history in long-term care. She specializes in aging-related topics such as caregiving, health, and retirement planning. Her experiences and interests drive her to explore and write about the various aspects of aging and health issues.

LTC News Contributor Linda Kople

Linda Kople

Contributor since October 31st, 2017

Editor's Note

Long-Term Care Insurance means access to quality care. It also means choice. You get to choose the type of care, including care in your home. LTC Insurance also means income and asset protection. Care costs are exploding nationwide - your guaranteed tax-free benefits will ease the financial stress.

People need long-term health care services due to changing health, aging, and the impact of aging. Dementia is one of many reasons people will need long-term health care sometime in the future.

The consequences of your future aging affect your family and finances. When you own an LTC Insurance policy, you have a solution that gives you control and more independence. However, you cannot wait until you are older and need help. You must plan beforehand. 

Have Questions About Long-Term Care Planning?

You might have questions about long-term health care planning, and LTC NEWS provides the answers for many of the most asked questions here - Frequently Asked Questions | LTC News. Find all the resources available on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Find the cost of care where you live by using the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News.

Get Expert Guidance 

Long-term care is very specialized, and few insurance agents and financial advisors have the expertise. Find a specialist who represents the top companies, as premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. Leading specialists will often have over 500 clients with Long-Term Care Insurance.

A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Experts recommend seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the right coverage. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right coverage at the right price. 

Loved Ones Need Help Now?

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Are Reverse Mortgages Helpful?

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well. 

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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