Louisville Kentucky isn’t all derby hats and mint juleps. It’s also home to a robust network of highly rated nursing homes, which makes it a great place for seniors to consider for retirement. With the annual average cost of nursing home care in the area just below the national average, Louisville and its surrounding area has over 50 properties to choose from.
Nursing homes in Kentucky had 23,386 residents in 2014.
Kentucky is the 23rd ranked state in the nation for seniors living in nursing homes in 2014.
The average annual rate for nursing home care in Kentucky is ranked 31st compared to the rest of the nation.
Kentucky seniors ages 85 and older are the population most likely to need care. By 2030, in Ohio, that demographic is expected to grow by 50 percent.
Seniors in Louisville and greater Jefferson County can expect to pay, on average, right around the national median for nursing home care. Nationwide in 2015 nursing home residents paid $91,250 for private residences and $80,300 for semi-private rooms for the year. In Louisville and Jefferson County, seniors paid a median of $85,958 for private and $80,118 for semi-private housing.
The actual cost you’ll incur will vary based on the property, their amenities, and their fee structure.
All nursing homes will have a registered nurse on staff 24 hours a day to provide care to residents. The RN is supported by certified nurse assistants and together they administer care that could include: wound care, daily medication, assisting patients with following care regimens prescribed by their doctors, and scheduling specialist appointments with physical or occupational therapists. CNA’s report daily care, changes in resident’s condition, or other observations directly to the RN in charge, and the patient’s family.
Memory or dementia care wings are commonly part of long-term care facilities and are often housed on separate floors or areas of the property. Facilities designed for short stays, like in the case of someone recovering from a recent hospitalization are also available and are commonly referred to as short-term care or rehabilitation facilities. Seniors who have been diagnosed with a life-ending illness, and their families, can seek assistance from Hospice in most nursing home settings.
Meals are an amenity included in standard nursing home care, and kitchens are able to provide menu options for a variety of nutritional stipulations including diabetic-friendly meals, heart-healthy low-sodium, kosher, and vegetarian. Meals are served in a common dining room and staff are available during mealtimes to assist residents with eating should they require it.
Life-enhancing activities like arts and crafts, sing-a-longs, movie nights, board games, performances by local music or dance groups, and holiday celebrations are coordinated by the activities director at the nursing home. In addition, a chaplain may be available for personal discussions as well as to lead worship services and study groups throughout the week.
If you are an animal lover, some nursing homes like the Forum at Brookside will allow your small pet to live with you. Other properties may have additional perks, like The Altenheim, with their park-like grounds and landscaping. In many cases, properties will have beauty salons or barber shops on the premises, and some may even offer adult day trips to local shopping centers or attractions for seniors able to travel.
Visiting potential properties and taking a tour can provide valuable insight into the nursing homes you may be considering. Bring a checklist and be sure to ask about their meals, activities, staff to patient ratios, and state licensing. They should be willing to provide you with a copy of the last state inspection report, and you should review it for any red flags. If there were areas for improvement, ask a manager what has been done to fix the issues.
Most facilities will allow you to join them for a meal in the dining hall to sample the menu and have a chance to observe the staff and residents during meal times. Take the time to talk with on-duty staff, other residents, and even their visitors about their experiences with the facility. Leave with detailed information on the monthly costs, services included in those costs, and services available for an additional fee.
The Kentucky Department of Aging and Independent Living has a number of excellent resources, and researching your top facilities should be your next step. Visit their website to access records of any complaints against the facility, previous years inspection reports and other regulatory information.
A simple way to save on annual nursing home care costs is to choose a semi-private room. In Louisville, this can save upwards of $5,800 annually. Many seniors who elect to have a roommate also find it easier to socialize and get to know others in the community.
Semi-private living may or may not be for you, but you will still need to decide how to finance your care. If you are one of the over 7 million Americans with a long-term care policy, your nursing home care will be paid for by the insurance. Be sure to double check your coverage and limits, and keep the policy paid up to avoid a cancellation of coverage. Without long-term care insurance, you still have other options to pay for nursing home care.
Low-income seniors in need of long-term care can apply for assistance from Medicaid. The state of Kentucky invests over 90 percent of its available Medicaid funding into nursing home care. Alternately, if you are a military veteran who was actively serving during a time of war, you may be eligible for the VA Aid & Attendance pension. If you are a widow of a soldier, you may also qualify. Applications and eligibility requirements can be obtained by reaching out to the regional benefits office in Louisville.
If you have a spouse who is still living in a home you own, a reverse mortgage may be an option for you to access additional funds. You may also want to explore cashing in a life insurance policy to gain access to those liquid dollars. For either of these options, be sure to reach out to a trusted financial professional, tax advisor or attorney to ensure you understand all the details and any additional financial obligations like taxes or penalties you may incur. Check out the Kentucky Insurance Department’s Annuity and Life Insurance Buyers Guide for general information about life policies and cash value, and log on to the US Department of Urban Development for resources on how seniors use reverse mortgages.
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