Nursing home care is notoriously expensive, and the bills continue to rise. There are probably a lot of other ways you or your loved one would like to spend money rather than paying for nursing home care. Good news is that there are a variety of options to fit all budgets without compromising the quality of service. There are ways to save money and fund this care, so you or your loved one can have Cadillac service even with a Kia budget.
In 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.
There are approximately 44,900 New Jersey nursing home residents, which equals about 3 percent of the US nursing home population.
Nursing home expenses can average and consume about 246 percent of the annual median of a senior’s household income.
Nursing home care costs vary across locations. Recently Genworth Financial performed the 2016 Cost of Care Survey and reported that the 2016 national average rate for a semi-private nursing home room was $82,128 annually, while a private room averaged $92,376. Newark rates are significantly higher than the national rate. In the Newark area, a semi-private room costs about $123,735 per year, while a private room averaged a surprising $142,168 annually. With prices like this, you can see it is important to compare and shop around since these are averages.
There are a variety of options available with varying costs. You can select a broad range of amenities and select various locations. You may want to consider a nearby community outside of the city limits to reduce expenses.
Nursing homes provide medical monitoring by a registered nurse around the clock. The nurse provides medical help with medication, wound care, and scheduling therapy. In addition to nurses, certified nurse assistants (CNA) work directly with the patients to provide daily care. The RN supervises the CNA, and the CNA will also monitor and report patient’s progress to the family.
Nursing homes provide a variety of care options, and some communities offer a memory care unit for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients such as Little Nursing Home. If you were just in the hospital or had surgery, you will most likely need short term or rehab care at facilities such as Branch Brook Park Manor. Most nursing homes also offer hospice for end of life care.
Meals are prepared to follow each various diet restrictions including diabetic, kosher, low-sodium, vegetarian, and more. Residents can either eat in the community dining room or their rooms. CNAs can also assist patients who need help to eat.
There are various activities to keep residents active. These programs include events such as outings, games, exercise programs, crafts, holiday parties, and dances. The nursing home activities director ensures the calendar is full. Most nursing homes also have a resident chaplain to offer spiritual counseling to patients and families.
Some communities will allow small pets. Other popular amenities include day outings, transportation, on-site salon care, and on-site dentist care.
When choosing a nursing home community, it is important to visit each facility at least once. You will want to get the feel of a place, and you can do this by having a meal at the facility, participating in an activity, and talking to residents to get their thoughts on the care and community. When you meet with the director for the tour, ask about their licenses, amount of care, and ask to see a breakdown of a monthly bill. Get a breakdown of services in the monthly bill and a list of extras. AARP provides this list of questions to help you organize your thoughts.
You should also review state licenses, surveys, and any other complaints through the New Jersey Department of Health. If there is a violation or complaint filed against the nursing home, find out how they plan to address the situation.
You can save a significant amount of money by choosing a semi-private room. Using the Genworth median rates for Jersey City, you could save nearly $18,400 annually! A roommate may help your loved one feel less lonely during times you are unable to visit. A roommate may also help you get more familiar with the nursing home community faster by introducing you to others and showing you the ropes.
Nursing home care is still extremely expensive, and you still need to figure out how to pay for these costs. If you or your loved one has a long-term care insurance policy, it will cover skilled nursing costs. Discuss this policy with your agent to familiarize yourself with the coverage, limits, and stipulations. It’s important to pay on time to prevent a lapse in coverage, so you may want to sign up for automatic payments. If you don’t have a long-term care insurance policy, there are other options to explore to pay for the cost of care.
Low-income seniors that have minimal assets may be eligible for the government program, Medicaid, to pay for health care. Veterans and widows of veterans that served during war may be entitled to the Veteran Affair’s Aid & Attendance pension. For more details on this program or to apply, contact the New Jersey Department of Veterans Affairs by either going to 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 for health care costs. Reverse mortgages provide money based on the equity in a home. The US Housing and Urban Development Department provides more details and guidance to help you understand this program.
You can also consider cashing out a life insurance policy early. Before you decide on either a reverse mortgage or cashing out a life insurance policy, talk to your tax advisor, lawyer, or estate planner because there are fees, taxes, and other stipulations to consider when making this decision.
Find assisted living in Newark near you.