As Maryland’s biggest city, Baltimore has plenty to offer its residents. From parks and historic sites to a thriving harbor area that boasts upscale shopping and delicious seafood, Baltimore residents are never at a loss for things to do. In recent years this cultural epicenter has gained popularity amongst retiring baby boomers, and the cost of nursing care in the city is on the rise. Luckily, there are plenty of ways that locals can save on long-term care.
According to The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Total Number of Residents in Certified Nursing Facilities, and AARP’s Long-Term Care in Maryland:
In 2004, under 22,000 patients lived in Maryland nursing homes.
Ten years later, in 2014, citywide nursing facilities cared for more than 24,000 residents.
Maryland’s state Medicare program spends the majority of its dollars on nursing services, with almost 90% of the program’s budget paying for care in a licensed facility.
About a third of Maryland nursing homes are rated above average when it comes to health inspections, while more than half are rated average or better.
As with other local health services, Baltimore residents can expect to pay a premium for quality nursing care. As of 2016, residents paid an annual median of $128,480 for a room in a Baltimore area nursing home. Sharing semi-private quarters with a roommate cost slightly less, at a median of $113,150 per year. Nationwide, a private room in a nursing home cost residents just over $82,000 per year, while a semi-private room ran around $92,000 annually.
While nursing homes in Baltimore may seem expensive, their costs are in line with prices in nearby cities. Private care in a Frederick nursing facility cost residents a median of $128,663 per year in 2016, which was just slightly more than the cost of care in a neighboring Baltimore area complex. The price of skilled nursing care is expected to rise by 6% to 7% in the next five years as Baltimore becomes more popular amongst retirees. Later, we'll discuss ways that you can save on the rising costs of nursing care.
If you are no longer able to live safely on your own, it may be time to start thinking about nursing care. Baltimore is home to dozens of nursing homes that offer every level of care for their residents, from limited custodial assistance to full 24-hour supervision. A variety of health professionals work together to provide individualized care to each patient living in a nursing home. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are able to assist with bathing, grooming and personal care as well as provide skilled medical services under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN). The goal of your nursing staff is to make your stay as comfortable as possible while you receive treatment, whether you’re undergoing a short-term recovery or receiving long-term skilled care.
Living in a nursing home, older adults don't have to worry about those pesky chores and activities that take time and effort each day. The nursing staff helps out with the cooking and cleaning so that residents can concentrate on the important things in life. Residents are able to enjoy three delicious, balanced meals each day without ever having to set foot in a kitchen. Individualized meal plans are available for seniors who have to stick to a special diet.
Nursing homes offer much more than just daily care for their residents, they offer an entire lifestyle. Patients are able to maintain an active social life as they take part in regularly scheduled activities and group get-togethers. Seniors can stay sharp by joining their friends for a game of cards, keep active by participating in yoga and dance classes, or relax and enjoy a spa day. Many nursing homes also serve meals in a communal dining area, allowing neighbors to catch up and relax as they enjoy homemade food together. There’s no need to put your life on hold as you receive care in a nursing facility.
With so many nursing homes to choose from, it can be a daunting task to single out the perfect one. There’s a lot to take into consideration, from the living accommodations to the daily menu. It’s a good idea to write out a list of questions that you’d like to ask staff members and current residents as you tour local nursing facilities, such as:
Is your facility licensed?
What health services do you offer?
Is there a Registered Nurse on staff at all times?
Is the closest hospital easily accessible?
Are residents satisfied with the care that they receive?
How is the quality of the food served?
Do you accept Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance?
Are you worried about how the rising costs of nursing care will affect you and your family?
As you age, it becomes more and more likely that you will need long-term care services in the near future. It’s a good idea to plan ahead so that you don’t take a financial hit if or when you need skilled long-term care. The best way to prepare yourself for the cost of nursing care is to take out a long-term care insurance plan that offers extensive coverage of nursing services. You can contact the Maryland Insurance Administration to learn more about private long-term care insurance.
Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to plan ahead when it comes to medical care. If you find yourself facing unexpected nursing care costs with no way to pay your bills, you may be able to leverage your home for some quick cash. If you are making a permanent move into a residential living community, you can sell your house and use the proceeds to pay for room and board. Senior homeowners who are not ready to sell their property may be able to take out a reverse mortgage instead to help pay for long-term care.
Some seniors qualify for financial assistance through state and federal government programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare will pay for a limited number of days in a nursing home after surgery or a hospital visit, while Medicaid helps to pay for skilled long-term care through Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS). You can learn more by speaking with a representative at the Baltimore County Area Agency on Aging. Senior veterans can apply for government assistance through the federal VA Aid & Attendance pension. Contact the Baltimore VA Benefits Office for more information.
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