Because we have an aging population, the need for long-term care services for the elderly is greater than ever. Unfortunately, so are the costs. According to a recent study from MetLife, the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (" CDPAP ") average price of a private room at a senior home care facility is $248 a day, or $90,500 a year. These staggering fees have crippled countless families.

The only bright spot in an otherwise ominous sky is that there are steps you can take to minimize the strain.


The first thing you should do is find out if Medicare will cover at least a portion of the stay. In most cases, Medicare provides financial coverage for rehabilitation, but not for extended care. The only exception is when a patient receives convalescent therapy at a Medicare-certified nursing center. In that case, Medicare will pay the bill for up to 100 days following the patient's discharge from a hospital. The reason the program covers these costs is that hospitals are even more expensive than nursing centers.

Another way Medicare can help families save is by covering some of the costs of senior home care. As long as a Medicare member stays in their own abode, the program will pay for up to 35 hours per week of home health services. Families can then take the money they save and put it towards future care at a nursing facility.


If a patient cannot cover the cost of a nursing center, they may be eligible for Medicaid assistance. To qualify, the applicant must be in dire financial straits, with no more than $2,000 to their name. They must also have only minimal assets and cannot attempt to hide them. If, for example, an applicant gives expensive assets to relatives prior to applying for the program, they may be summarily rejected. After all, the objective is only to give aid to people who desperately need it.

For those that qualify, Medicaid will cover the cost of nursing home care for as long as patients need it. Members will not, however, have much, if any, say about the facility they must occupy. In most cases, patients are sent to state-run facilities that do not have the specialized services or amenities of private facilities.


Some senior centers simply will not lower their rates no matter what, while others are more flexible and may agree to cut costs, especially if the resident will be with them for awhile. The ability to negotiate is often determined by the facility's vacancy rate. If the nursing home has no vacancies and a long waiting list, there's very little chance the administrator will budge on price. If, however, there are a few open beds, he or she may accept a lower monthly fee.

These simple tips should help you and your family afford the astronomical costs of senior home care.

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