Nursing home care can seem like something that a very small percentage of senior citizens will ultimately need. You may be under the impression that your family members and friends can help you out in your home if you ever become unable do everything on your own.
Indeed, a lot of people can rely on people close to them to provide basic assistance when they need it. However, in reality, a significant percentage of seniors do require nursing home care at some point in time. There are those who suffer from physical ailments, and mental impairment is also a big factor.
Alzheimer’s disease is something that everyone has heard of, but if you have not looked into the subject, its widespread nature will probably surprise you. If you were to poke around on the Alzheimer’s Association website, you would find that almost half of people who are 85 years of age and older are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and it strikes about 13 percent of all senior citizens.
You are probably aware of the fact Alzheimer’s causes dementia, and many people who experience dementia ultimately reside in nursing homes. Another statistic about Alzheimer’s disease that may take you by surprise is the fact that it is the sixth most common cause of death, so we are talking about more than memory loss.
When you hear that around 45 percent of people who are at least 85 are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, you may feel a sense of empathy, but you may assume that you will not live this long. In fact, longevity statistics tell a different tale. The Social Security Administration tells us that the life expectancy for someone who is turning 67 today is at least 85.
The Census Bureau conducts research every 10 years. You can think of the census as a “headcount,” but they use the data that they compile in many different ways. The Bureau has stated that between 2000 and 2010, the segment of the population that was between 85 and 94 years old grew faster than any other ten-year age group.
Clearly, when you see these longevity statistics, and you combine them with the Alzheimer’s numbers, you can see that this disease is a looming threat to all of us, and it is not the only cause of incapacity. People reside in nursing homes due to many different underlying causes.
Vermont Nursing Homes
The Valley News ran an article recently about the long-term care situation in the state of Vermont. There is a shortage of nursing home beds, because there is a great deal of need. This has led many people to try to get by with in-home care, and there are professional in-home caregivers that can be engaged. Still, for some patients, nursing home care is essential.
In the state of Vermont, there are about 32,000 nursing home beds in all, and that equates to one bed for every 196 citizens in the state.
Finding the right facility that could provide the care that is needed is a big part of the equation, and it can be challenging. However, the article also talks about the financial side of things. Nursing homes are extremely expensive, and the Medicare program does not pay for long-term care.
Medicare will pay for the convalescent care that you would receive after an illness or injury, but it does not pay for custodial care. This is the term for the type of care that nursing homes provide.
The national average charge for a private room in a nursing home is in excess of $90,000 at the present time, and costs have been rising steadily. Depending on the facility in question, here in Vermont, it is not uncommon for a year in a nursing home to come with a bill that is in the six figures, and people often require multiple years of care.
Many Vermont residents turn toward Medicaid for help with these expenses. You are probably aware of the fact that this is a government health insurance program that is available to financially needy individuals.
It is possible to essentially give your loved ones their inheritances in advance to qualify for Medicaid to pay for long-term care, but there is a five-year look-back. You have to complete your gift giving at least five years before you apply, or you are penalized, and your eligibility for Medicaid coverage is put on hold.
Get All the Facts
We have provided a bit of basic information in this blog post, but you can learn more about long-term care and Medicaid planning if you attend one of our upcoming seminars. The seminars are free to attend, and you can visit our seminar schedule page to obtain more details and registration information.