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Options Are Limited For Persons With Dementia Under 65

The prospects of alternative living options for people with dementia who are under the age of 65 are not plentiful. Although there are assisted living communities offering memory support for prospective residents under the age of 65, the pay source is strictly private. I have been faced with situations where the prospective resident has been in their early 50s and had severe Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, the family lacked the funding to pay privately at an assisted living community. I had no other option except to assist the family with placing the individual in a nursing home that would accept Medicaid.

As a senior living advisor, I must persuade my customer’s to accept options that are less than optimal because there is nothing else available. In the following Real Life Story, I had the long term solution to my prospect’s problem, but the individual is still contemplating other arrangements.

REAL LIFE STORY My client’s sibling is only 51 and has early onset dementia. The individual was living alone in an apartment quite far away from the rest of the family. The person had worked at the same job for many years until it was apparent that the symptoms caused poor job performance. The person was dismissed from the job. The person had a monthly income of less than $900. The person also had a 90 pound dog that needed to be cared for. Yet, the individual could perform all of the activities of daily living. A recent neuropsychological report stated the person was capable of holding down a job with repetitious tasks. However, her sister was worried about her care on a long term basis and safety issues.

I immediately referred the family to the one facility in the western suburbs of Chicago that could accommodate supportive living for individuals under the age of 65. However, a prospect needed to be receiving social security disability income and Medicaid in order to qualify for Admission and pay for their care. The price of a shared suite at this community would have been $2,999 a month if a resident paid privately. My prospect’s sibling had applied for both on her behalf. However, a further requirement was that a resident needed to have a physical disability in order to be admitted.

The prospect indicated that the sibling was having trouble with walking. She had arranged to have her own private physician evaluate her sister. I instructed the prospect to have the Doctor note there were physical symptoms causing problems with this person’s gait, thus justifying admission to the community. My prospect said she was not going to, “make up symptoms” to justify the admission. I have to admit that I was a little puzzled with her reaction after she indicated her sister was having difficulty walking. I explained that her age and lack of funding would disqualify her for admission to a retirement community, many of which begin admissions at age 55. The only other suggestion that was viable included rental of an affordable apartment and hiring a caregiver to look in on her. The vote is still out.