When it comes time for elderly adults to move from their homes into assisted living communities or nursing homes the task can seem daunting. There are many options for living facilities and the costs of each varies greatly. Elderly people will need to determine the extent of the care they need, along with what their finances will allow.


            The cost of living in senior housing is generally more expensive than traditional housing. According to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care the average monthly rent for seniors who want support such as meals, light housekeeping, and transportation is $3,304. The average monthly rent for assisted living with a greater level of care, including things like dressing, bathing and medication, is $4,947. Nursing home care in the Richmond area is even higher than the national average with the per month cost coming in at $6,420.  Average costs in the state of Virginia can be researched through Caring.com.

How to Pay

         Typically, the biggest asset people have is their home. Therefore, when it is time to move to an assisted care facility, the selling of a home will cover the initial chunk of the expenses. Personal retirement savings can also cover expenses for this sort of housing. Long-term-care insurance is another way to pay for assisted living for those who need more extensive care. It will kick in when a policyholder needs assistance with two or more daily activities, such as bathing or feeding. The average cost of one of these policies is $2,600 a year. However, rates vary depending on age and health.

Government Programs to Help Cover Expenses

            Medicaid has traditionally covered nursing home expenses. On top of that, Virginia has enacted a limited waiver program that allows residents of assisted-living facilities to qualify for benefits as well. To be eligible for Medicaid an elderly person’s assets will have to below certain levels. The Department of Veterans Affairs also offers programs that can help pay for assisted living, if found to be eligible.


            Determining what sort of assisted-living facility an elderly person can choose starts with determining total assets. Once this is done you can develop a plan on how and when to spend those assets. Consulting a professional during this stage is imperative to make sure you do not miss any opportunities to save money or qualify for benefits. The attorneys at Smith Strong specialize in elder law and often encounter this process. We will make the process easier for you and would love your business. Attorney Van Smith also offers a no-cost estate planning workshop to help get you started with the process. More information on the workshop can be found on our website under the “Info” tab. To schedule your first meeting or attend our estate planning seminar call (804) 325-1245 or (757) 941-4298.

Editorial Assistance By: Michael Gee - Law Clerk

H. Van Smith
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