Columbus, the state of Ohio's capital, is home to shopping, restaurants, museums, sports teams, and attractions, as well as over 40 different nursing home options for seniors. The plethora of diverse options, combined with the lower than average rate of quality care, make it a great place to find the right facility for you.
74,828 seniors were nursing home residents in 2014.
Ohio ranks 5th in the nation for the number of people living in nursing homes.
Despite a large number of residents, Ohio seniors pay less than the national average for nursing home care and are 24th in the nation for the average rate.
Ohio residents ages 85 and older are at the greatest risk for needing care. By 2030, in Ohio that population is expected to grow by 45 percent.
Columbus residents can expect to pay well below the national median for nursing home care. Our country had a median rate in 2015 for private rooms of $91,250, and $80,300 for semi-private rooms annually. In Columbus, seniors paid $75,920 for private and $71,905 for semi-private care on average.
The cost to an individual senior will vary based on the facility and their fee structure.
Long-term care skilled nursing facilities like nursing homes will have a registered nurse on duty 24 hours a day. Assisting that nurse will be a staff of certified nurse assistants. This team will be responsible for handling residents daily medication, helping them to follow their prescribed care regimen, administering would care, and scheduling specialist appointments, if necessary. The CNA’s will report directly to the RN, as well as the family of the patient on any observed changes or progressions with the patient.
Long-term care facilities will often times have care options for seniors affected with dementia or memory loss. Short-term facilities cooperate with local hospitals offering care to patients after a hospitalization before they are ready to return home. Resources like Hospice are available to seniors and their families for comfort and care when managing a life-ending illness.
Daily nutritional needs are provided by the nursing home culinary staff and can include provisions for seniors who need special accommodations like a low-sodium, kosher, vegetarian, or diabetic-friendly meal. Seniors enjoy their meals in a dining hall and have assistance with eating from CNA’s, if needed. In some cases, meals may be delivered directly to patient rooms as well.
Beyond physical health, mental and emotional well-being are important in a nursing home and activities directors will coordinate events and programming to enhance the experience. These could include birthday or holiday celebrations, music, game nights, movie nights and more. Spiritual residents may have access to a chaplain for religious encouragement, and may have the option of participating in weekly religious services or study groups.
Pet-friendly facilities, like Mayfair Village, allow pets to live with residents. Some facilities offer special amenities like a beauty salon or barber shop on the premises. Other facilities like Willow Brook Christian Home have a selection of restaurants and menu options for a high-class dining experience. Activities directors at some locations may even organize day trips to nearby shopping or attractions for seniors able to travel.
A tour is one of the most valuable deciding factors in finding the best nursing home care for you. Visit the facility and ask questions about licensing, staffing ratios, activity schedules, meals and menu options, and spiritual support. Obtain a copy of their most recent inspection report by the state and look for any areas that were identified as needing improvements. Inquire about what corrections have been made since the report.
Request a meal in the dining hall to better understand the mealtime interaction, experience for the residents, and quality of the food. If it’s permitted, chat with current residents, staff, and visitors about their experience with the property. Gather complete information on the costs of the nursing home, what is included in that price, additional options, and their applicable fees. Following the tour, make a short list of your top prospects and visit the Ohio Department of Aging website for additional resources. Check out the links to their complaint history, past state inspection reports, and other regulatory information to help you make your final decision.
If a roommate is an option that appeals to you, consider a semi-private room to save some money. In Columbus, you can expect a savings of around $4,000 annually by choosing a semi-private living option. Roommates can also make the social transition into a nursing home easier for new residents.
Whether semi-private living is your best bet or not, it’s also important to decide the best way to pay for nursing home care. Long-term care insurance is a policy that will cover nursing home expenses. With an active policy, it’s important to continue making payments to receive the full benefits. Call your provider for a summary of benefits, terms, conditions and exclusions. Traditional insurance won’t cover the cost of long-term care, but there are alternatives to funding nursing home care.
Seniors in need of nursing home care who have a low-income and can’t afford to pay can apply for Medicaid. In Ohio, over 80 percent of nursing home fees are paid by the program. Another option for a veteran during an active duty wartime, or their widow, is to apply for the VA Aid & Attendance pension. The regional benefits office in Cleveland can review the full criteria for eligibility and assist you with the application.
Senior homeowners can consider a reverse mortgage on their home to assist with the cost of care. You may also want to explore taking the cash value of a life insurance policy to obtain funds. Both examples would require a discussion with a financial planner, tax professional or attorney to ensure you fully understand the tax and financial impacts and obligations. Visit the Ohio Department of Insurance for resources on life insurance, and check out the US Department of Urban Development for helpful tips on reverse mortgages for seniors.
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