Nursing home care costs are expensive, and many Americans are not prepared to handle this cost. Even in an affordable area to live such as North Carolina, nursing home costs are rather pricey. You may have expensive tastes, but have more of a modest budget. There are options to fit your lifestyle and have affordable, quality care. You can find ways to save money without jeopardizing you or your loved one’s care.
In 2014, there were approximately 15,600 nursing homes in the US with around 1.4 million residents.
North Carolina is rated 13th in the US with the number of residents in nursing homes.
As of 2015, there were approximately 36,700 North Carolina nursing home residents, accounting for 3 percent of the US population.
In a recent study, it was found that nursing home costs could use more than 246 percent of the annual median household income for seniors.
The cost of skilled nursing care varies significantly over geographic locations. According to a recent survey by Genworth Financial, the 2016 national median rate for a semi-private nursing home room was $82,128 per year in 2016 while a private room averaged $92,376 annually. North Carolina’s cost of living is typically right in line with the national average or slightly below, and this is also true in regards to the cost of nursing home care. In Greensboro, the average rate for a semi-private room nursing averaged $80,282 per year, while the semi-private rate was around $89,516.
As with any other service, it’s always wise to shop around to find something that meets your budget. You may find that moving outside of city limits may mean lower prices.
Nursing home care provides medical monitoring by a registered nurse around the clock to help with health needs such as medication, caring for a wound, care management, and scheduling physical and occupational therapies. In addition to nurses, certified nurse assistants (CNA) work directly with the patients daily to provide the needed care and support. The RN supervises the CNA, and the CNA will also monitor and report a patient’s progress to the family.
In addition to concentrating on long-term care for residents, some communities also have Alzheimer’s or memory care units. Brighton Gardens of Greensboro offers memory care and is one of SeniorAdvisor.com’s 2017 Best of Assisted Living Award winners. If you were just in the hospital or had surgery, you may need short-term or rehab care, like Blumenthal Nursing & Rehab. Most nursing homes offer hospice care or end of life care to assist families and help keep patients comfortable.
Meals are prepared to follow each diet restrictions that include diabetic, kosher, low-sodium, vegetarian, and more. All meals are nutritionally balanced to give proper nutrients for seniors. Residents can either eat in the community dining room or their rooms. Staff members can assist residents who need help eating.
Nursing homes provide more than just medical care; they also offer activities to keep residents active. The nursing home activities director creates a full calendar with fun including holiday parties, local performers, music and dances, games, movies, and more. Most nursing homes have a chaplain on staff to work on the spiritual health of patients and families. There are also various religious services available or religious study groups for residents.
If you are interested in gardening, there are community gardens at Friends Homes. Some communities provide day outings, transportation, on-site salon care, and on-site dentist and podiatrist care.
It is important to visit each facility you plan to consider at least once. Spend time there and have a meal, participate in an activity, and talk to the staff and residents. Ask the residents how they feel about the community. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find a community. When you visit the nursing homes, be sure to ask about licensing, hours of care each day, amenities available, and a breakdown of costs. AARP assembled a list of questions to help you with your nursing home interviews.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services allows you to search nursing home providers for any fines and survey results.
If you are looking to cut costs, one significant cost savings is to choose a semi-private room and have a roommate. You will notice tremendous savings. Based on the Genworth median rates for Greensboro, you could save nearly $9,234 a year. A roommate could help your loved one get accustomed to the new community quickly and could provide friendship when you aren’t able to visit.
There are other ways to pay for nursing home care. If your loved one has a long-term care insurance policy, it will typically cover skilled nursing care. Be sure to ask your agent to review the coverage, limits, and gaps in the policy. Avoid lapse in coverage by paying on time through automatic payments, which ensures timely payments. If you or your loved one do not have a long-term care policy, don’t worry as there are other options to pay for this care.
Low-income seniors with minimal assets may be eligible for the government program, Medicaid. Veterans who served during a time of war along with their widows may be eligible for the Veteran Affair’s Aid & Attendance pension. To learn more about this program and to apply, contact the North Carolina Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
If you or your loved one owns a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to pay for your medical bills. Reverse mortgages give you cash for the equity in your home. The US Housing and Urban Development Department provides more information and guidance. There are some life insurance policies that allow you to cash out your policy early for money.
Be sure to discuss implications of a reverse mortgage or cashing out a life insurance policy with your tax advisor, lawyer, or estate planner because there are fees, taxes, and other conditions you have to consider.
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