The Office of Geriatrics and Extend Care which is under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system, makes certain Long-Term care services available to veterans based on a priority ranking system, with highest priority given to those with severe service-related disabilities. VA-funded Long-Term care may be worth investigating, especially for veterans with service-related disabilities and/or low incomes and assets. Keep in mind, however, that in addition to the priority ranking system, the availability of Long-Term care services from the VA may be subject to funding limitations and may vary by geographic area.
What Long-Term Care Costs
The cost of long-term care depends on where you live and the kind of care you receive. There are generally three kinds of long-term care: nursing home care, assisted living facility care, and in-home care. Nursing home care is the most intensive kind of care, and usually costs the most. Assisted living facility care is for people who do not need nursing home care, but who are unable to remain in their own homes. Home health care is the least expensive kind of care, and is generally for those who can still function well on their own, as long as they have some assistance from a home care worker.
Nursing Home Care
You might want to consider using your savings to cover the cost of your long-term care needs. Unfortunately, even the most well laid out plan is subject to unexpected challenges. In 2011, the national average cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home was $86,040 annually. With an average stay of 2.4 years, that’s more than $206,496 per average stay.
Major metropolitan areas can be expensive for nursing home costs. An average nursing home in the New York City metropolitan area costs are between $96, 180 to $112, 356 annually; Washington, D.C. costs $108, 000; Hawaii costs $116, 760; the Massachusetts area costs $117, 480; New Jersey costs $106, 440; and the Pennsylvania area costs $91, 680.
WAEPA says that the cost of nursing home care will likely rise dramatically over the next thirty years, reaching $275,000 per year.
Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living facilities (which can also be called Assisted Care Communities or Domiciliary Care) are a fairly new form of residential care intended for people who do not require skilled nursing care, but who cannot live on their own safely because they need assistance with their daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, or taking their medications. These types of facilities often bridge the gap between living at home and moving to a nursing home.
Assisted living facilities cover a wide range of possibilities, from group homes in which residents share rooms to luxurious private apartments. While services vary widely, a typical package may include a 24-hour on-call staff to help residents with bathing, toileting, dressing, and so forth; a call button in each unit for emergencies; help with managing medications; laundry and housekeeping services; meal service in a dining hall; and recreational and social activities.
Residents who develop health conditions that require closer monitoring may need to move from an assisted living facility to a nursing home.
The cost for assisted living facilities typically runs from approximately $2,000 to $5,000 or more per month. The cost of a facility will depend on its geographic location, the housing environment, and the extent of services provided. Some assisted living facilities offer Alzheimer’s care, but others do not.
Home care is another option for those who are unable to live at home completely independently. Home care can be an attractive option for those people who are able to function relatively well on their own, but who may need visits several times each week from a home care nurse, nurse’s aide, or home worker who can help with chores and other needs. People who require lengthy, daily visits may find it more cost-effective to move to an assisted living facility.
The average annual cost for at-home Long-Term care is currently approximately $20,000. Depending on the number of visits you need and your geographic location, that cost can be substantially higher.