By Sally M. Wagley, Maine elder law attorney
The cost of paying privately for care in a nursing home rose 4.4% in 2011, nationwide, according to a survey done by MetLife. The current cost of one year in a nursing home is, on average, $87,000.
The cost of care in a Maine nursing home is at least this much, if not more: generally in the range of $7000 to $8000 per month.
What might this mean for you and members of your family? Consider the following:
- Do you have adequate income and savings to cover years in a nursing home?
- If you were in a nursing home and your spouse were at home, how much would your spouse need in order to remain comfortable?
- Is it important to you to pass on something to the next generation? How would you feel if your savings were completely used up on the cost of your care, before you die?
- What if you had to sell your home or other property in order to pay for your nursing home care?
- Are you aware that Medicare covers only short stays in a nursing home –only for skilled care and rehabilitation?
- Do you know what the Medicaid program (called “MaineCare” in Maine) covers in your state?
- What is the quality of care at nursing home and assisted living facilities in your area?
- Have you checked out long term care insurance, to see what it covers and what it would cost?
- Have you met with a elder law attorney (also referred to as an “elder lawyer” or “elder care attorney”) to find out what coverage might be available to cover some of the cost of your care, and what you can do to get that coverage?
Be aware that each state is different with respect to nursing homes, Medicaid and other programs. While there may be books on this subject at your local book store, those books won’t tell you the specific things you should know about Maine nursing homes and Maine elder care. Also, beware of advice given by neighbors and friends. Each person’s situation is different, and what may have helped someone else won’t necessarily help you.
In my blogs, I will be addressing some of these issues in the coming weeks.