Nursing home care is very expensive, and the cost to live in New Jersey is not cheap either. It’s no surprise to think that nursing home care will be higher than the nation’s average. You can lower costs in various ways, but you will need to find a community that suits you or your loved one’s budget. You can still find quality care at an affordable price in Jersey City.
As of 2014, there were 1.4 million nursing home residents living in the 15,600 nursing homes in the US.
New Jersey ranks 8th in the US with the number of nursing home residents with a population of approximately 44,900.
Nursing home residents in New Jersey account for 3 percent of the US nursing home population.
Nursing home costs average about 246 percent of the annual median household income for seniors.
Depending on your geographic location, nursing home care costs can vary significantly. The Genworth Financial 2016 Cost of Care Survey found the 2016 national median rate for a semi-private nursing home room was $82,128 annually, and a private room averaged at $92,376. New Jersey is more expensive than the national average. In the Jersey City area, a semi-private room averaged $123,735 per year, while a private room averaged an astonishing $142,168 annually. It’s hard not to get sticker shock when you see these numbers, and this is why you need to shop around.
There are a variety of options available at different costs depending on amenities and location. You may want to consider a community outside of the New Jersey City limits to help lower costs.
Nursing home care provides medical monitoring by a registered nurse at all hours. The nurse also provides assistance with health care such as disbursing medication, caring for a wound, and scheduling therapy. Certified nurse assistants (CNA) provide daily care to patients under the direct supervision of the nurse. The CNA monitors and reports the patient’s progress to the family.
Nursing homes provide various kinds of care including memory care for Alzheimer’s or dementia patients. Facilities, like Alaris Health at the Atrium, provide psychological care for Alzheimer’s patients. If you were just in the hospital or had surgery, you may need short-term rehab care, like at Regency Heritage Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Most nursing homes offer end of life care to keep patients comfortable.
Diets are critical to seniors. Many have dietary restrictions like diabetic, kosher, low-sodium, vegetarian, and more. Nursing homes accommodate all these nutritional needs. Residents can either eat with others in the dining room or their rooms. Staff members are available to assist those that need help to eat.
Nursing homes are more than medical care facilities. They offer activities and entertainment for residents. These programs include crafts, holiday parties, dances, games, exercise programs, and educational programs. The nursing home activities director keeps a filled calendar, so residents aren’t bored. Most nursing homes have a chaplain on staff to work to provide spiritual counseling.
For those residents who wish to have a pet, some nursing homes will allow them to bring their pet. Several communities also offer on-site beauty services, dental care, podiatrist care, transportation, and local outings.
It is important to visit each facility at least once. Go during mealtime to taste test the food. View their activity calendar, and ask residents how they like it there, which is the best way to find out how you feel about a place. When talking to the director during the tour, ask about their licenses, amount of care, and ask to see a breakdown of a monthly bill. Find out what services cost extra. Here is a list of questions from AARP to assist you during your visits.
You can review state licenses, surveys, and any other complaints through the New Jersey Department of Health. If the nursing home has a complaint or violation, be sure to ask how they plan to fix the problem.
One tremendous way to save money is to choose a semi-private room with a roommate. Using the Genworth median rates for Jersey City, you could save nearly $18,400 annually! A roommate could help your loved one feel less lonely and get acquainted with the nursing home community quicker and easier.
Even with these savings, nursing home care is still extremely expensive, and you are probably wondering how you or your loved one will pay for nursing home care. If your loved one has a long-term care insurance policy, it will cover skilled nursing expenses. Meet with your agent to review coverage, limits, and see if there are any policy gaps. Avoid lapse in coverage by paying on time. If you don’t have a long-term care insurance policy, don’t worry as there are other options to pay for care.
Low-income, minimal asset seniors may be eligible for the government program, Medicaid. If you are a veteran or a widow of a veteran who served in a time of war, you may be eligible for the Veteran Affair’s Aid & Attendance pension. To learn more about this program, eligibility, or to apply, contact the New Jersey Department of Veterans Affairs by visiting their office or calling the Benefits Hotline at 1.888.8NJ.VETS.
For seniors who own homes, a reverse mortgage may be an option to pay their medical bills. Reverse mortgages pay cash based on the equity in a home. The US Housing and Urban Development Department provides more details and guidance.
You can also look into cashing out a life insurance policy early. Before you decide on either a reverse mortgage or cashing out a life insurance policy, discuss the effects with your tax advisor, lawyer, or estate planner because there are fees, taxes, and other conditions involved.
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