Nursing home care isn’t known for being inexpensive, but in a part of the country like Wichita that boasts wide open spaces and a low cost of living, nursing home pricing is more affordable than the average in the rest of the nation. With over a dozen facilities to choose from, you have a good chance of finding a perfect fit for what you’re looking for that is within your budget.
Kansas had 18,046 residents living in nursing home facilities in 2014.
Kansas seniors over the age of 85 are most likely to need nursing home care, and this is expected to grow 45% by the year 2030.
Kansas is ranked 26th in the US for the number of seniors using nursing home care.
Though they are midway in the numbers rankings, Kansas seniors have one of the lowest daily rate averages for nursing home care in the nation.
While nursing home care has a reputation for being costly, Wichita has some of the lowest rates in the country. Nationally, seniors can expect to pay, on average, $80,300 for a semi-private room and $91,250 for a private room based on a 2015 study. In Wichita, however, those costs were $63,510 and $70,810 respectively.
What an individual will pay each year can vary depending on the property and living situation you choose. There are over a dozen options with different pricing tiers and amenities available in the Wichita area.
As the highest level of care for seniors, nursing homes are staffed all hours of the day and night with a registered nurse. In addition to the RN on staff, those living on the property will have daily assistance with tasks like following their prescribed care regimen, taking daily medication, wound care, and scheduling physical or occupational therapy, if necessary. Daily care is usually provided by certified nurse assistants who work under the RN and are responsible for communication between the patient, the RN, and the patient’s family members. This can include notes on any progression of their condition or changes they may see.
Many long-term care facilities have resources to offer dementia and memory care within another wing or area of the facility. Additionally, nursing home options exist on an outpatient basis to offer short-term care for those who need assistance when recovering from a recent hospital stay. Most nursing homes will have a hospice resource to offer support and services for seniors and their family when they are experiencing a life-ending illness.
Daily nutritional services are provided as part of nursing home care, and the kitchens are equipped to meet a resident’s dietary requirements. Meals will be nutritionally balanced and can be tailored for those with diabetes, who need low-sodium, kosher, or vegetarian options. Meals are normally eaten in a dining hall, and CNA’s will help residents who need assistance eating. In some instances, meals can be provided in the room of an individual resident.
Activities directors are a staple of nursing home communities, and they coordinate programming and activities for residents. Some examples could be game nights, movies, performances from local schools of music or dance, pet therapy animal visits, sing-a-longs, and holiday themed parties. Chaplains are available to meet with residents and their families for consultations, and in some cases may lead worship services or religious study groups for seniors interested in that programming.
Pet lovers have nursing home options that will allow them to have an animal on the property, including Kansas Masonic Home. Additional ammonites like a nail or hair salon on the property are sometimes available, and will offer a discounted rate to residents. Many activities directors will plan day trips for residents to enjoy. Some facilities will offer expanded amenities, like Presbyterian Manor, who has recently undergone a large expansion and renovations to provide luxurious common areas and upgraded living spaces for their residents.
Finding the right property should begin with a tour of your top facilities. The tour should give you a chance to ask questions to fully understand the details about the facility, including their licensing, meals they provide, daily activities, staffing levels, and spiritual support. Ask management for a copy of a recent state inspection, and question any areas of the report that were flagged. A manager should be able to tell you what they’ve done to make improvements and fix any problems.
If it’s allowed at the facility, talk with current residents, their family members, and staff members you encounter during the tour. Ask to have a meal in the dining area to experience the quality of the food and to see the interactions between the nursing staff and residents there. Determine what services the nursing home offers as part of the normal rate, if there are extra services available, and what they cost.
Once you have your list of top housing prospects, use the resources available through the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services to do more research on the nursing homes on your list. Their resources website hosts great information, including links to recent inspection reports, complaint reports, licensing and other helpful regulatory information.
Many seniors elect to have a roommate rather than a private room to save money on their nursing home care. According to the Genworth survey figures from 2015, a Wichita nursing home resident could save, on average $7,300 annually by electing a semi-private room option. Having a roommate can help with interaction and socialization as well, giving residents a friend within the community.
With or without a roommate, you may still be wondering how you will afford the cost of nursing home care. The preferred method would be through a long-term care insurance policy. If the senior has such a policy in effect, contact the insurance agent or carrier to get a summary of the terms and limits of the policy. Be sure to continue making monthly payments so that the coverage stays in effect. If you are without a long-term care policy to help with the costs, there are other avenues that could assist with funding.
Medicaid is available to low-income seniors with limited assets in Kansas. The program provides 2/3 of the funding for nursing home residents, and an application is required to receive benefits. Wartime veterans, and their widows could also take advantage of assistance via the VA Aid & Attendance pension. To qualify, seniors will need to have served active duty during a federal wartime. The regional benefits office in Wichita can assist with the full eligibility requirements and help you apply.
Another financial option to finance nursing home care is to take out a reverse loan on your home. You could also consider cashing in an existing life insurance policy. In each instance there are tax liabilities and an impact to your overall assets and long-term financial planning, so be sure to reach out to a financial advisor, tax advisor, or attorney to understand the impact to your specific situation. For more general information on reverse mortgages for Seniors, visit the US Department of Urban Development website. The Kansas Insurance Department offers additional guidance for seniors who may be considering cashing in a life insurance policy to help pay for their long-term care.
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