October 27, 2017
Placing a loved one in a care home is a difficult decision under any circumstance, but dementia often leaves family members with no other choice. That choice is made even more difficult by the limited choices for care homes, according to a new survey.
The UK-based company Which? found that almost half—48 percent—of those surveyed said there was no availability in at least one of the local care homes they had considered for themselves or their loved one. As a result, 17 percent said they moved their loved one or themselves into a home they had reservations about. Sixteen percent ended up in a home that was far away from family.
“These findings echo what we hear every day through our helpline—time and again we are called by families of people with dementia who’ve been refused places at care homes because their needs are ‘too complex,’ said Alzheimer’s Society senior policy officer Dominic Carter.
Carter said they often get calls about dementia patients given four-week eviction notices. “One woman told us her husband was shown the door after seven weeks at a care home because he was viewed as ‘challenging and the manager did not have enough staff available to provide the one-to-one support he needed,’ said Carter.
However, he acknowledges that care homes are “between a rock and a hard place” when it comes to dementia patients, who can require more intensive care. “They can’t sustain their businesses if local authorities don’t have big enough budgets to cover the care home’s costs,” said Carter. “The only way to give people with dementia the care, security and reassurance they deserve is for the government to inject more money into social care.”
In the U.K., it’s estimated that dementia home costs are between £600-1,200 a week, and good quality dementia care in the home costing at least £20 per hour. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, the majority of people with dementia fund their care, unless they have assets of less than £23,250.
In the U.S., the median cost of an assisted living facility is $3,750 per month. A private room in a nursing home is $8,121. Government programs like Medicare only cover 100 days at an assisted care facility, and only those with assets under $2,000 individually qualify for coverage, or around $116,000 if their spouse is still at home. Right now, 5 million people are living with Alzheimer’s; experts expect that number to rise to 16 million by 2050.