California is an expensive place to live, and it is not surprising that nursing home care is also higher than average. In fact, it’s hard not to get sticker shock when you see the average prices of nursing home care. There are various types of communities with different price tags to help you stay within your budget. Here is some information on finding the right nursing home at the price best suited for you or your loved one.
In 2014, there were 15,600 nursing homes with 1.4 million residents in the US.
California has the second highest nursing home population after New York.
As of 2015, there were approximately 100,808 nursing home residents in California or 8 percent of the total US nursing home population.
Nursing home costs could consume up to 246 percent of the annual median household income for seniors.
Nursing home care prices vary with the location and type of home. According to Genworth Financial, the 2016 national median rate for a semi-private nursing home room was $82,128 per year, and the price for a private room was $92,376. As you probably guessed, the San Diego/Chula Vista area is higher than the national average. In the Chula Vista area, the average rate for a semi-private nursing home room was $87,600 per year, while the private room averaged $119,355.
Costs vary between homes depending on locations and amenities. There are dozens of options around Chula Vista and surrounding areas such as San Diego.
All nursing homes must have a registered nurse on staff and provide 24/7 assistance with medical care such as medication disbursement, wound care, and scheduling therapies like physical and occupational. Certified nurse assistants (CNA) provide most daily patient care under the direction of the supervising RN. They are typically the ones who will communicate with the patient’s family.
Most nursing homes specialize in long-term care, and some also have memory care in a separate wing. A nursing home may also be a place to stay to recover from a hospital stay or surgery. There are short-term rehab facilities such as Fredericka Manor. Most nursing homes also offer end-of-life, hospice services for the family and the patient.
Nutrition is very vital for each patient with different dietary needs such as diabetic, low-sodium, or kosher. Typically, residents are served meals in a large, shared dining room. However, patients can request room delivery. CNAs assist residents who need help with eating.
Each nursing home has an activities director to ensure engaging activities to keep residents active. Some of these programs include dances, games, movies, outings, exercise programs, and crafts. There are usually various religious services available along with an in-house chaplain to assist the families and residents with spiritual needs.
Many communities provide salon services in-house or allow you to bring a small pet for companionship. Be sure to get a list of all the services available, so you can compare facilities that have the resources you want. You can also find more luxury options such as Sunrise at Bonita. Nursing homes will also help you or your loved one with laundry, housekeeping, and transportation to doctor’s appointments or other errands.
When selecting a nursing home facility, you will want to visit each community to compare. Find out about each community’s staffing, licensing, activities, programs, meals, and spiritual support. Another valuable resource is the state inspection report, which you should request on your visit. If there are any violations or complaints, ask how they plan to address these concerns. For more questions to ask, take the U.S. News question guide with you.
Take the time to get the feel of each community. Talk with current residents, families, and the staff. Visit during mealtime and eat the food. See what you think and how the caregivers interact with the residents during meals. Ask for a breakdown of costs so you can see which services are extra.
Contact the California Department of Aging for more resources and information on programs available.
One significant way to save money with nursing home care is to choose a semi-private room instead of a private room. Using Genworth’s 2016 figures from above, this could be a savings of nearly $31,800 a year.
Whether you choose a private or semi-private room, you are probably still worried about how you will pay for this care. If you or your loved one have a long-term care insurance policy, it will cover the nursing home care expenses. Talk to your agent and make sure you understand the policy’s coverage, limits, and other terms. Make certain the policy is paid on time to prevent a lapse in coverage. Don’t worry if you don’t have long-term care insurance; there are other options available to assist with paying for these expenses.
Low-income seniors without many assets may qualify for Medicaid. Wartime veterans along with their widows may be eligible for the VA’s Aid & Attendance pension to pay for medical expenses. For more information on this program or to apply, contact a local California VA Service Office or call CalVet at 800.952.5626.
If you or your loved one owns a home, you may be able to get a reverse mortgage to pay for your medical bills. Reverse mortgages give you money based on the equity in your home. The US Housing and Urban Development Department offers more information and guidance.
There are some life insurance policies that allow you to cash out your policy early. The California Department of Insurance offers additional information on life insurance policies.
Before deciding to use a reverse mortgage or life insurance policy, discuss the implications with your tax advisor, lawyer, or estate planner. There are fees, taxes, and other conditions that may impact your decision.
Find assisted living in Chula Vista near you.