Nursing Home Costs Continue to Rise

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As we age, people have a choice: stay at home, or head to a nursing home. It’s often a difficult decision for families. Our Malique Rankin is Putting North Dakota first to show us what options are out there, and what they cost both you and the state.

Choosing a long-term care option for yourself or family is not a simple decision, and choosing wrong can be costly. Linda and Garry Wagner say their choice was obvious.

Linda Wagner: “I told him when I brought him home from the nursing home, I’d keep him at home as long as I can. There’s no place like home.”

Linda’s husband receives care through the ND Family Respite Caregiver Program. 
He stayed at a nursing home for a few months, but Linda soon realized it was out of the budget.

Linda Wagner: “After 2 weeks I realized I couldn’t keep on spending money like that.”

258 million. That’s how many state tax payer dollars went towards Nursing Home Facilities in 2017.
To break that down a little further.. the average annual cost per person living in a nursing home came in over 87 thousand dollars. Hiring a home and community based service is about 17 thousand a person each year.

Josh Askvig; AARP State Director: “When you realize that 50 percent of those in nursing homes are relying on medicaid, which is a state and federal dollar match, that’s far less cost effective.”

Josh Askvig told me many times when elderly people are facing long term care options, they don’t have the information they need to choose what’s best for them.

Josh Askvig; AARP State Director: “I don’t think the state has done enough to make folks aware of what is available out there to keep them at home…”

Linda Wagner: “At home here, and with respite, it’s been wonderful.”

Costs of nursing homes are only expected to keep rising, reaching nearly 90 thousand, a year per person by 2019.

As we gear up for the next legislative session, AARP hopes to see changes made to help residents and the state with the high costs of long term care. They want to see the Care Act pass, that would push more resources towards at-home care, instead of nursing homes.

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