When considering your long-term care needs, you need to understand all of your options fully. Assisted living can be customized to your needs and happen in a variety of ways. Omaha is home to hundreds of assisted living facilities as well as providers that can help you in your home. To choose the right option for you, here is a guide to the current and future costs of assisted living care as well as how to pay, save money, and what to look for when you choose your care.
Assisted living are services for seniors that don’t need constant supervision, just some help with daily activities. In other words, you don’t need a nursing home, but you do need help with your daily chores. Assisted living services can include:
Help with personal grooming like getting dressed, taking a bath, or even just combing your hair.
Getting in and out of bed or getting into a wheelchair.
Assistance with meal preparation, including shopping for ingredients and preparing the meals.
Household chores like dusting, sweeping, mopping, laundry, and general upkeep.
Transportation to necessary medical appointments or errands like grocery shopping around town.
Medication reminders and reminders to complete any therapy that is needed.
Most non-medical services come with assisted living services. You can also decide where you would like to get help with your daily tasks. There are in-home care providers like home health aides or homemakers that can come to you to provide for your needs. You can also choose to move into an assisted living facility.
Assisted living facilities usually have private or semi-private residences and group dining rooms and fitness centers. Other amenities might include a swimming pool or daily outings depending on the community. Some facilities also offer a variety of attention, or a continuum of care, and can take care of you through all the stages of your senior years.
Nebraska has 288 licensed assisted living facilities and over 12,000 beds.
Omaha is home to over 40 of those facilities.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) oversees all facilities and provides regulations that each community must adhere to keep operating.
According to the NDHHS, residents cannot be admitted to an assisted living facility if they require complex nursing care, are a danger to themselves and others, or if their condition is not stable.
Nebraska has an assisted living assessment to determine if you qualify for this kind of care.
Both types of assisted living in Omaha tend to be a little higher than the national averages. In 2016, the national average for an assisted living facility was around $43,539 per year. In Omaha, that price jumped to $48,000 per year.
In-home costs were also higher in Omaha. A homemaker cost $52,624, and a home health aid cost $53,768 annually. Those are significantly higher than the national averages at $45,760 and $46,332 respectively. These numbers are also expected to increase over the next five years at anywhere from 1% to 5%.
These costs might look high but remember they are just averages. There are places in Omaha that are lower than these prices and if you look around you can find a provider that fits your needs and your budget.
It can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task to find the right assisted living care for your needs. As you start to compare options and do your research, it’s a good idea to have a list of questions to ask each provider and facility. Don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as possible because you want to know what you’re getting for your money and make sure you get the care you need.
Here are just a few sample questions:
Is there a continuum of care and if so, what does it include?
Will the cost of care change as my health needs progress?
Are you allowed to have visitors?
Do I have the opportunity for a private residence? Will that change as my health changes?
Ask to see the service provider’s consumer disclosure to learn about all policies, services, and fees.
Will my care plan be written out so anyone who helps me can give me the care I need?
Will my needs be assessed periodically to know if my plan needs to change?
Can I see a copy of the resident’s agreement?
Does this facility accept long-term care insurance?
Are there any programs to help cover the costs of these services?
Can I use outside services providers if necessary or will the facility include everything?
Can I purchase renter’s insurance?
Is there an emergency plan and procedure?
Am I allowed to have overnight guests?
Can I have a pet and if so, is there a fee?
Are utilities included in my cost of living?
Which services or amenities cost extra?
(Questions above are adapted from Assisted Living Federation of America’s Guide to Choosing an Assisted Living Community.)
Many seniors might think that they won’t be able to afford assisted living whether it’s at home or in a facility, but there are several ways to save some money. The first thing you need to determine is which route is more cost-effective, in-home care or moving to a facility. Yes, in-home cost averages are higher in Omaha, but that isn’t the only factor. If you’re still paying your mortgage, your house needs a lot of repairs, or you can’t keep up with all of the work, selling your home, and moving into a facility might make more sense. On the other hand, if your house is paid off and not difficult to maintain, in-home care could be a better choice.
A roommate could be another way to cut costs if it’s a route you’re willing to take. First, make sure the facility you choose allows roommates and then give the whole situation a trial run. As long as both of you are comfortable living with each other and both agree to the terms of the lease, this can cut your costs in half.
Finally, if you are a very low-income senior, you can ask if the facility you’re interested in will work on a sliding-scale rate. This means that you will pay a fee based on what you can afford. Many facilities that are non-profit will at least consider this request, but they might not always accept.
If you qualify for Medicaid or VA benefits, those funds can cover the cost of your care. Many assisted living facilities also accept long-term care insurance. If you already have a policy, check the coverage to be sure you can use it for your care and understand all payout agreements.
If you own your home, you can sell that and use the funds to pay for your care or possibly rent it out and have a steady stream of income. You could also consider a reverse mortgage to free up some funds, but you will need to meet with an HUD-certified counselor to understand all the risks.
Find assisted living in Omaha near you.