The Nursing Home Decision, Finding a Nursing Home, and the Cost

A nursing home is a facility that becomes a new home for an elderly person. The facility offers food, skilled nursing care, rehabilitation, medical services, personal services, and recreational activities. Many times the nursing home facility will have a beauty or barbershop, a store, and laundry facilities as well. The decision to place the elder person in a nursing home facility can be very taxing on the family members. The decision is even more difficult if the elder is reluctant to residing in a nursing home facility.

Finding a Nursing Home

If it is decided by the elder person or the family of the elder that the elder should be placed in a nursing home investigation and information gathering should be the first step. It is important to gather information on the nursing home facilities. Factors that may be considered include:

  • The condition of the facility.
  • Knowledge of the tenants and staff of the facility.
  • Distance the facility is located with respect to family members.
  • Cost of the facility.
  • The elder person’s opinion on the facility and on living in a nursing home.
  • Certification of the facility. If the facility is not certified, Medicaid will not contribute to any of the cost associated with the elder’s stay at the nursing home.


Nursing homes can be very expensive. The average cost of a stay in a nursing home for a year is $50,000. The cost varies depending upon the state, location of the facility, and newness of the facility. The elder person may have the finances to pay for her stay in the nursing home facility. However, because of the great cost associated with nursing homes, elders cannot typically afford to pay for the entire stay, especially if long in duration.

Some elders have long-term care insurance. This is insurance that the elder purchased at a younger age to assist in offsetting the costs of long term care, including residing in a nursing home.

Medicare, the federal health insurance program or Medicaid, the federal and state health insurance program for lower income individuals are also usually used to pay for the cost of a nursing home stay. Medicaid cannot be used until the elder person has exhausted the majority of their savings and assets. Although the elder’s spouse is permitted to keep some assets, income, and the family home. Every state has different requirements for Medicaid eligibility.

Copyright 2012 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.