The cost of long-term care is bankrupting us. According to the 2015 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will require some form of long-term care services during their lives. Twenty percent of them will need institutional care for more than five years.

Nationally, the average cost to live in an assisted living facility is $43,200 per year. If someone needs nursing care, the average is $80,304 per year for a bed in a room with another patient and $91,248 per year for a private room. When memory care is needed, the cost varies widely but is always higher. The life expectancy for someone with dementia is 4 – 8 years.

These rates will wipe out most families’ savings. And, once the family runs out of money, Medicare and Medicaid must step in to cover the cost of care. With 5.3 million people with dementia in 2015, the cost of long-term care to our governments is in the billions already.

We need a way to treat dementia more cheaply, which means keeping people at home longer. The DAWN Method helps families do that. It makes dementia care into something any one of us can do for someone we love, with far less stress, because when we meet the emotional needs caused by dementia, behaviors become more manageable.

At DAWN, we see behaviors as symptoms—predictable and healthy responses to losing memory and the rational thought processes. When people have cognitive impairment, they feel afraid because they are unable to make sense of the world around them, and fearful about being unable to care for themselves. They also are frustrated and angry about not being able to do things they could easily do before. Left in fear and anger, they will act out.

The DAWN Method teaches families and caregivers how to identify the emotional needs prompting the behaviors. If we meet our loved ones’ emotional needs, they stop being difficult and become pleasant to live with. If we can work and live with dementia, it’s not necessary to put our loved ones into care facilities, which means we can avoid the crushing cost of institutional care. It’s that simple.

My book is now written and edited and I’m working to get it published. My purpose in writing it is to make the DAWN Method available to everyone. I’m also working to develop a set of online classes. For now, if you live in the Inland Northwest and are interested in taking classes in the DAWN Method, contact me at judy@thedawnmethod.com and we’ll set it up. I’ve also taught the classes using webex.com.

At DAWN, we want every caregiver to experience less stress, and every family to be able to avoid—or at least put off—the crippling expense of long-term care.

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