The need for long-term care can be brought on by illness or serious injury. In some situations, the need for assistance with daily activities often leads to long-term care need. Unfortunate for seniors, the cost of long-term care continues to climb in our country. According to some industry surveys, the average cost for a private room in a nursing home is more than $90,000 a year. Nursing homes in Dallas are not exempt from this increase. While Medicaid may be available to some, are there any nursing home alternatives?
Running a nursing home is a business
What many people forget is that, like a hospital or medical practice, a nursing home is a business. That means one of the goals of a nursing home is to make a profit. Many of us don’t realize just how expensive long-term care is until it’s time to consider care for a family member. It can be a huge shock. As nursing home profits rise, so does the financial burden on families of nursing home residents. According to one report, the cost of being a resident in a nursing home has gone up 4% each year for the past 5 years.
Long term care costs in Dallas
According to one site, there are 35 nursing homes in Dallas, with the average cost of $148 per day. That equates to more than$54,000 a year. The average cost statewide in 2015 was estimated at $3,545 / month, with the most expensive options located in Amarillo, Austin, Dallas-Ft Worth and Midland where the monthly cost averages between $4,000 – $4,500. It should be noted that the cost of nursing home care varies widely across the country. For example, the median cost for a year of nursing home care in Oklahoma was $60,225; while in Connecticut, it was $158,775. Alaska topped the list of expensive long-term care, where one year costs $281,415.
Is all long-term care expensive?
Maybe not. Some of the less-intensive long-term care options are often less expensive than staying at a nursing home. Actually, most people prefer to “age in place” or stay in their own home, if at all possible. A family in Texas will likely pay an average of $18.00 / hour for in-home care and $33.00 a day for adult daycare.
Are there any alternatives to nursing homes?
Some of the most common long-term care alternatives, many of which are covered by long-term care insurance, include the following:
- Home health-care services, including skilled nursing care and physical therapy
- Personal care in your home through homemaker services
- Adult day care service
- Assisted living care
A few other services that may be available in your area include hospice care, respite care, care after a hospital stay, and caregiver training for family members.
The benefits of adult day care services
Of course, in-home care is the next best option. Adult daycare is also an option. In fact, many people use a combination of services in order to reduce caregiver burnout. You can supplement in-home care with adult daycare, when possible. Adult daycare allows your loved one to spend time each day at an adult daycare center, enjoying meals and socializing with others. Your loved one can participate in activities and exercise while experiencing a change from the isolation of being at home.
There are many benefits for everyone involved, including the caregiver. There are some adult daycare centers that provide special services for seniors with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. The cost of adult day care is also much less than in-home care services. Some centers even offer fees on a sliding-scale.
How do most people pay for nursing home care?
Because health insurance does not always adequately cover the cost of long-term care, if at all, Medicaid benefits are often the primary payment source for nursing home care. Medicaid is an assistance program based on income and financial need, serving low-income individuals of any age.
Be careful trying to qualify for Medicaid or Veterans Administration Benefits
If you are considering applying for Medicaid, there are a few things you should know about the eligibility requirements. One important aspect is often referred to as the “five-year look back period.” This penalty period applies when an applicant is seeking long-term care coverage. This part of the eligibility process can lead to a delay of benefits if you are not careful. Also, significant changes are expected this year with regard to benefits offered by the Veterans Administration including the implementation of a three year look back period.
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