Residents of nursing homes, also called skilled nursing facilities, are cared for by a round-the-clock nursing staff as well as a licensed physician. Some nursing homes also have in-house physical and occupational therapists to assist residents.
Although some people live in a nursing home temporarily, to recover from a major surgery, for example, most are there for long-term care because they are unable to live independently and have more acute medical needs. A nursing home is recommended for those who need 24-hour supervised care.
Nursing homes are usually structured with individual rooms along long hallways, giving nursing and other staff quick access in case of emergency. Residents may have private or semi-private rooms, and as in assisted living facilities, share common areas like dining and recreation rooms.
Since women have a longer life expectancy, nearly three-quarters of nursing home residents are women, and around half are age 85 and older. About 42% of residents in skilled nursing facilities were diagnosed with some kind of dementia.
A nursing home is the most intense level of long-term care for seniors and accordingly, is the most expensive.
According to the American Council on Aging, average nursing home costs in the U.S. range between $93,075 and $105,850 per year.
However, annual nursing home costs vary quite a bit by location, with a low of $64,970 in Alabama to a high of $465,375 in Alaska for a shared room.
If you are in need of skilled nursing facility care and have Medicaid, you are in luck; Medicaid pays 100% of nursing home costs. Medicare pays for some nursing home care, but only pays the full amount for 20 days, and 80% for the next 80 days.