Elderly Couple Talking About Nursing Home CareYou are a planner. You want to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, and you are well aware that one of those curve balls could be the need for a nursing home for you or your spouse. What is the best way to plan for this potential cost? We review some of your options here.

How Much Does a Nursing Home Cost?

First things first. What kind of cost are we talking about? Depending on the level of care required by the resident, a nursing home can cost several thousand dollars a month. Nursing homes are facilities that provide medical care for people—usually seniors, but not always—who don’t need to be in a hospital but can’t care for themselves. The more care the resident requires, the more expensive the facility will be. For example, a bedridden patient who requires active medical treatment and assistance with daily tasks will usually pay more than someone who can still do some things for themselves. Assisted living facilities are an option for people who only require a little help with daily tasks and are often a little less expensive than a full-blown nursing home.

Fortunately for us, Texas and Arkansas are among the more affordable states for nursing home care. Nursing homes in our area cost an average of $7000 a month for a private room and $5500 a month for a shared room. Specific facilities can cost more or less than this average, but this gives you an idea of the kind of costs you are planning for.

How Much Money Should I Save for Nursing Home Costs?

The good news is that only about 4.5 percent of older adults live in nursing homes and another 2 percent live in assisted living facilities. This means that the odds that you or your spouse will one day need a nursing home are fairly small. The average life expectancy for a nursing home resident is just over two years. So, if you are in the 6.5 percent of people who need a nursing home or assisted living facility one day, you are looking at a cost of approximately $132,000 to $168,000.

Many people are surprised to learn that Medicare will not pay for nursing home care beyond the initial 100 days. So, how do you meet this financial burden?

Planning for the Cost of a Nursing Home

Depending on your financial circumstances, there are several options available to you for paying for a nursing home. Possible options include:

  • Income. Most seniors do not have income that would cover the monthly cost of a nursing home, but if you do, that would be your first option. If you are still working and earning a salary or you have a generous pension, you might be able to cover the costs.
  • Savings. Many seniors dip into their savings accounts to pay for long-term care. If you are planning ahead for the possibility of needing a nursing home, you might want to make an effort to stash more in your savings account so the money is available when needed.
  • Long-term care insurance. Buying long-term care insurance can be risky, given the odds that an individual will need a nursing home.  Premiums average about $5,000 a year for a couple and if you never need long-term care, that money would be wasted.
  • Medicaid. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid does pay for nursing homes for low-income people with no significant savings. There are ways to protect some of your savings so that you can qualify for Medicaid to pay for a nursing home, and a Medicaid Planning attorney can help you do that.

Are You Looking for a Medicaid Planning Attorney in Texarkana, TX?

If you are looking for advice about planning for the cost of a nursing home, you need to speak with an experienced Medicaid Planning attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Texarkana office directly at 903.223.5653. We also have offices in Tyler, Paris, and Longview, as well as Magnolia, AR!


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Kline Pillow helps clients in TX and AR planning for the aging process with a specialty in Guardianship cases.