As one of the nation’s oldest cities, Richmond has a rich culture and history that make it an attractive place to retire. Seniors looking for nursing home care in the area may not know what to expect in terms of cost, and while the average annual fees are higher than the national average, it’s far from the most costly in the nation. The area offers a plethora of highly rated facilities, many with above average scores on annual health inspections, giving you many options when searching for nursing home care to fit your budget.
2014 saw 28,457 residents in nursing homes in the state of Virginia.
Virginia has the 14th highest population of seniors utilizing nursing home care in the nation.
Seniors ages 85 and older are the demographic most likely to need nursing home care. In Virginia, the number of residents in that group is expected to grow by 40% by 2030.
Medicaid funds approximately 75% of the long-term care in the state of Virginia.
Richmond residents can expect to pay very close to the median nationally for nursing home care. As a nation, we saw rates of $80,300 for a semi-private and $91,250 for a private room on average in 2015. In Richmond, the averages were higher, $88,480 for a semi-private and $96,991 for a private residence.
Annual costs will fluctuate depending on the facility, and many have amenities available at a-la-carte to help to best manage the costs with your budget.
While facilities will have some differences, there are many common factors required of nursing home facilities. A registered nurse will be on duty 24 hours a day to provide care for residents including administering medication, assisting them in following their care regime, wound care, and scheduling occupational or physical therapy appointments. Certified nurse assistants will assist the RN and work daily with the residents to provide care, and to communicate with the family as needed about the patient's conditions and changes they observe.
Dementia care is commonly found in long-term care facilities, and will usually be housed in a different wing or building. Some nursing homes provide short-term care for patients released from a hospital stay that need daily assistance before they return home. In the case of a life-ending illness, Hospice is available to seniors and their loved ones for support and guidance. Nursing homes provide meals to residents, and the kitchens are able to prepare food appropriate for a variety of special needs including diabetics, kosher diets, vegetarians and low-sodium diets. A common dining hall is where residents will eat though in some circumstances meals will be delivered to patient rooms. Seniors who need assistance eating are assisted by CNA’s during mealtimes.
Quality of life is important in a nursing home, and activities directors are on staff to program things to do to enhance the emotional and mental well-being of the residents. Activities could include movie or game nights, sing-a-longs or musical activities, performances from local schools or troupes, pet therapy, or celebrations for birthdays or holidays. Religious counseling services may be available through a chaplain at the nursing home, and they may also conduct spiritual services or study groups.
If you have a small pet, many facilities like The Village at ManorCare will allow them to live with you on-site. Other properties, like the Laurels of University Park, may offer additional amenities, like a therapy gym. Many properties will organize field trips for residents who are able to travel, and may also offer beauty or barber services at a discount to residents.
Determining which property is best for you should start with a tour of your top prospects. While visiting the facilities, collect information on their licensing, staff, typical daily activities, meals, and spiritual support. Obtain the current state inspection report and check for any red flags. Inquire about improvements made to areas identified as deficient.
Eat a meal in the dining hall to experience the menu for yourself, and pay attention to how staff and residents communicate and interact. Use current residents, their family or visitors, and on-duty staff as a resource and chat with them during your visit. Ensure that you leave the property understanding the monthly costs, what is included, and additional fees for services and amenities.
If you have a property or two that you favor, visit the Virginia Division for the Aging website to do more research. Here you can find links to their inspection report history, any complaints the facility has received, and other helpful regulatory information.
Semi-private rooms are a great way to enhance socialization for a new resident in a nursing home community, and they can save money. In Richmond, seniors can expect to save around $8,500 annually by having a roommate.
Roommate or no, it’s important to have a plan as to how you will finance your nursing home care. A long-term care insurance policy is one of the best ways as it will cover the majority, if not all of the costs. Contact your insurance agent for all of the details on what is included, and any terms and conditions you may need to be aware of. Don’t forget to make payments on the policy so that you will continue to receive the coverage. Without a long-term care policy, seniors have a few other options that may assist with covering the cost of nursing home care.
Medicaid is the funding source for approximately 75 percent of nursing home care in Virginia. Seniors in need of care with a low-income and low assets can apply for assistance through the program. Another program to apply for, if you are a wartime veteran or the widow of one, is the VA Aid & Attendance pension. There are a number of eligibility requirements, so contact your regional benefits office in Roanoke for details and to apply.
A tax professional, financial planner or an attorney specializing in senior assets may recommend that you consider a reverse mortgage on your home, or cashing in a life insurance policy to pay for your care. In these instances make sure you fully understand the tax liabilities and other obligations. Check out the Life Insurance Consumer’s Guide from the Virginia department of insurance for more information on cash values of life insurance, and the US Department of Urban Development for information on reverse mortgages for seniors.
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