Financial Concerns Related to Long-Term Care

Parkinson’s disease (PD) requires significant care, particularly in the later stages of the disease as symptoms progress and the person with PD needs help with every area of daily living, including feeding, dressing, personal hygiene, transferring in and out of bed, and medication management. Long-term care can mean a number of things, including an assisted living facility, nursing home (skilled nursing facility), or an in-house aide that helps with dressing, bathing, and cooking. Long-term care can be expensive, for example:

  • Assisted living: In 2016, the average cost for assisted living in the United States was $3,600 per month. However, people with PD often require more care, and estimates may be closer to $4,100-4,600 per month.
  • Live-in care: People with advanced PD need care available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Live-in care ranges from $3,000-6,000 a month, depending on where one lives.1

Options for long-term care

There are several avenues for getting help with the cost of long-term care, including:

  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Insurance is available for long-term care, although individuals should evaluate the costs of the insurance versus the costs of care. These policies are usually triggered by a significant need for care and assistance. Some long-term care insurance policies cover in-home care, while others only cover skilled nursing facilities. In progressive diseases like PD, the types of services covered can be exhausted fairly quickly, and the benefits and maximums should be carefully evaluated.2
  • Medicaid: Medicaid is a service that is provided by the federal and state governments to provide coverage for health care services to people with low-income, as well as people with disabilities and those who receive federally assisted income maintenance payments, such as Supplemental Security Income. Medicaid will cover nursing home care, offers waivers for home-based care, and covers personal care attendants or paid caregivers.
  • Social Security Disability Income (SSDI): Also known as Disability, SSDI can provide financial assistance to people of working age who are unable to work because of their health condition. While SSDI doesn’t directly pay for long-term care, the financial assistance can help pay for it. Learn more at https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/.
  • Veterans Affairs benefits: For current and retired military personnel, the VA provides services, whether the PD is connected to their service or not. Learn more at http://www.parkinsons.va.gov.
  • Melvin Weinstein Parkinson’s Foundation (http://www.mwpf.org) provides financial assistance to eligible individuals with PD. Funds are available to assist with home health care, as well as medical equipment, such as walkers, wheelchairs, and canes.
  • Parkinson’s Wellness Fund (http://parkinsonswellnessfund.org/) provides grants to individuals with PD and their caregivers for health care services. The grants are given in vouchers that are good for services through a network of professionals that provide care.1
Written by: Emily Downward | Last reviewed: March 2017
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