What Is Private Pay Senior Care?
Understanding the Options for Paying for Assisted Living
When you and your family decide that it is time to consider moving a loved one to a nursing home, you likely feel overwhelmed, sad, or even scared of what’s to come. There are many unknowns associated with navigating the world of senior care for the first time, and you are probably anxious about finding a place where your loved one will be safe, comfortable, and have their needs fully met. At the same time, there may be one lingering question: How much will your loved one’s care cost? And then: How will they, or your family, pay for the care they need?
Take a Step Back: What Type of Care Does Your Loved One Need?
Before you can answer the question of what your loved one’s care will cost—and how you will pay for it—you must identify the type of care and facility needed. These are among the most common:
- Independent Living: Most residents in this type of community are able to be fully independent and do not yet need any care services. However, moving to an Independent Living community often enters them into a continuum of care, making it easier to move into Assisted Living or another care facility when and if the time comes.
- Assisted Living: If you have determined that it is no longer safe for your parent or loved one to live independently in their own home, they are likely ready for Assisted Living. In this type of facility, they will receive personal care and support and have access to additional help as they age.
- Skilled Nursing: This type of facility is usually the next step from Assisted Living, and gives residents access to regular care from doctors, nurses, and therapists. A senior may also spend time in a skilled nursing facility while they rehabilitate following a surgery.
What Does Nursing Home Care Cost?
There’s no one-size-fits-all formula to the costs of nursing home care. It will depend on:
- The type of care your loved one needs
- Their age
- Their income
- Their assets
- Their lifestyle
How Do You Pay for Nursing Home Care?
One-third of nursing home residents, according to the AARP, pay for their nursing home costs using their own funds. This is known as private pay, also referred to as paying “out of pocket.” Depending on your loved one’s unique situation, they may pay for their care using savings, social security benefits, pension payments, retirement accounts, or long-term care insurance. Some seniors will be eligible for government assistance, such as what’s available to wartime veterans and their surviving spouses through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Can You Pay for Nursing Home Care With Medicare or Medicaid?
Medicare is federal health insurance for people 65 and older, as well as younger people who are receiving Social Security disability benefits. While it does help with the cost of health care, Medicare does not cover long-term care services, such as the cost of room and board in an Assisted Living facility.
Medicaid is a state-administered health coverage program that adheres to federal requirements. It is available to eligible low-income seniors. While some states do allow you to use Medicaid to cover some of the costs of Assisted Living, other states instead provide community-based services designed to keep a senior in their home in the community longer and delay nursing home care.
Planning for Private Pay Senior Care for a Loved One
Use the Team at McGregor Assisted Living As a Resource
It will be important to meet as a family and have open conversations about how you intend to pay for a loved one’s care. Transparency is key among family members, as is your senior’s willingness to share their financial situation with you, along with their desires and preferences for their Assisted Living facility. You may want to meet with a counselor from a local senior care organization as well as a financial advisor to help you determine a plan for private pay.
We cannot stress enough that having these conversations early and often—in a best-case scenario, years before a move to Assisted Living is needed—is so critical. But no matter when your family starts the conversation, be sure to seek out all of the local resources available to you. That includes the team at McGregor. Reach out at any time with questions about private pay or resources that exist to help seniors fund their care.