Costs of senior care vary widely, based on the location of the care and the type of care. The first steps are to find out if the senior will continue on Medicare or need to switch to Medicaid. Here are some guidelines and tools for finding senior care costs to enable family caregivers to plan ahead.
Medicare: senior care health insurance for all seniors in the U.S.A. unless they have few assets and a low enough income to qualify for Medicaid which then replaces Medicare. Medicare does NOT pay for long-term senior care, but only for short stays in a nursing home after a hospital stay. Learn more about Medicare's benefits.
Medicaid: very low-income seniors may qualify for Medicaid which has more benefits to pay for medications and long-term care, although the choices are limited based on Medicaid providers. Medicaid is funded by both the state and federal government and because of this, each state's Medicaid qualifications vary slightly. Caregiverlist provides the "by-state" Medicaid qualifications. Usually no more than $2,000 in assets are necessary to qualify financially along with a low monthly income. However, there is a spousal poverty prevention built into Medicaid which will allow for one spouse to maintain the home and car and some assets, while allowing the other spouse to spend-down to qualify for Medicaid. This is usually necessary when someone has an age-related disease such as Alzheimer's disease and will need long-term care around-the-clock. Medicaid will pay for nursing home care ongoing.
As all seniors who are not on Medicaid must privately pay for senior care, here are the senior care options:
- Senior Home Care by Licensed Senior Home Care Agency
- Assisted Living Community
- CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community)
- Nursing Home
- Supportive Living*
Submit a request for services and rates of senior home care agencies near you to receive a price quote. It is important to understand that senior home care must be provided by a senior home care agency in order to protect the senior and the family, as the agencies professionally train the caregivers and have all necessary insurances such as worker's compensation insurance, professional liability insurance and provide for payroll taxes. This insures that the senior and their family are protected from elder abuse and financial fraud. Many states have passed laws to require professional health care organizations to only refer to licensed senior home care agencies because hire-direct caregivers present opportunities for financial fraud and elder abuse and the elder abuse departments have become so overwhelmed with these cases that they want to educate consumers to stay away from hire-direct senior caregivers. Senior care can be difficult and professional caregivers have proper training and the support of a care team. Read more about hire-direct senior care fraud here.
Assisted Living communities vary widely. Some independent living communities will also provide all the benefits of assisted living. Reach out to a company like Senior Living Experts who provides Registered Nurses and Social Workers to assist families with understanding the costs and services of assisted living and takes the senior on tours of communities to determine the best solution.
CCRC's, or Continuing Care Retirement Communities require a significant down payment (many times seniors will sell their homes and use the proceeds as the down payment) and then the senior has the advantage of knowing they can stay in the community, transfering from apartment to studio to nursing care room, as needed, and being able to stay even if they should run out of money and go onto Medicaid (full time caregiving can be $80,000 a year).
Nursing homes usually are an extension of a hospital stay. Find the costs of nursing homes nationwide along with their ratings in Caregiverlist's nursing home directory.
Supportive living communities are available in some areas of the country such as Illinois. Usually there is a financial requirement to qualify and a senior must still be active when they move in. You can learn about customized senior living programs that have been developed in your area through your Area Agency on Aging, and you can find their contact information for each state nationwide in Caregiverlist's "by-state" directory.
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