If you or your aging loved one has physical or cognitive issues that have progressed beyond what an active senior living, assisted living or retirement home can provide, it is time to consider nursing home care. Although they are similar, there is a difference between senior living facilities that offer 24 hour residential care and perhaps some assisted living services for their residents, and full-service nursing homes that are staffed by registered health professionals.
Sometimes referred to as a convalescent home, a nursing home is used by older and/or infirm adults who do not need to be under hospital care, but cannot manage their personal needs living in their own apartment, condo or home. The nursing staff at a senior nursing home facility are responsible for caring for the patient/resident’s personal, physical and medical needs. Nursing homes usually have both nursing aides and licensed professional nurses on hand 24/7.
Nursing home services typically include nursing care, round-the-clock supervision, three healthy meals a day and assistance with everyday personal care activities. Often rehabilitation services, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy, are part of the service offerings.
Long-term care offered at nursing homes can be very costly. Each state has various price points, and it varies whether you are seeking private or semi-private nursing home care. Researching the various options available often blindsides aging seniors and their families when the time comes to consider a move. How you pay for it depends on your financial situation and what kind of senior living services, amenities or assistance you require. As a general guideline, the average yearly cost of a semi-private room is around $82,000 and a private room is around $92,000. Sometimes this is an all-inclusive rate, and sometimes it’s more a la carte.
Ideally, you’ll have savings including pensions and investments to help pay for this. Some government health insurance programs like Medicaid can help low income seniors with nursing home expenses, but will make you pay down your assists before those benefits kick in. Note, Medicare does not include long term care beyond a short-term nursing home stay after hospitalization. If you have it, some veterans benefits might kick in to help with these senior living expenses, as might certain programs and services through the Older Americans Act.