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How to Stay out of a Nursing Home and Save Money

By S.Z. Berg

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- The cost of nursing home care continues to rise. According to Genworth's 2013 Cost of Care Survey of 15,300 long-term care providers, which included nursing homes, adult day care and assisted living facilities, as well as home care providers, the cost of nursing homes rose 3.3% this year compared with the cost in 2012, with the national daily median rate for a semi-private room coming in at $207. The rate for a private room at a nursing home was $230, an increase of 3.6% over 2012, totaling $83,950 a year. In 2008, a private room cost $67,525 a year.

So how do you take care of yourself in old age without hemorrhaging money?

"There are a great many services that seniors can utilize to help them stay at home and avoid the costs associated with assisted living," says Christopher J. DesBarres, co-owner of Help Unlimited, a daily money management service that helps senior citizens pay their bills and keep track of their money.

In addition to money managers, which you can find at the American Association of Daily Money Managers website, DesBarres points out that there are grocery shopping services, such as Top Banana in Washington, DC, and Peapod in the Mid-Atlantic and sections of the Northeast and Midwest.

Other grocery delivery services, such as Wal-Mart To Go and AmazonFresh, are popping up in test markets.

DesBarres also notes that there is aging-in-place remodeling, such as installing "comfort height" toilets and handrails, that can be done to keep the elderly at home.

"These renovations can also dramatically reduce seniors' fall risk," he points out.

Another useful "resource that is starting to spread across the country is the 'senior village' concept," DesBarres says. "These are civic associations for very narrow geographic areas that focus on helping seniors remain in their homes," he explains. "Villages link residents, community resources, companies and volunteers to provide the services and support that seniors need in what the industry calls a Naturally-Occurring Retirement Community or NORC," he says. You can find a list of these communities at the Village to Village Network's website.