Page Reviewed / Updated - Jul. 2016
This webpage will help Virginia residents understand assisted living, home care and adult day care costs throughout the state. It also explores the payment options and financial assistance programs available to assist in caring for the elderly, be that in residential care or for aging in place at home.
Cost of Care Calculator
As of 2016, the average monthly cost of assisted living in Virginia is just under $4,000. This works out to an annual cost of almost $48,000. While expensive relative to the national average, which is $3,600 / month, the good news in Virginia is that 2016 has seen almost no price inflation in the cost of assisted living over the last two years.
There are certain areas of the state where the cost is considerably lower, most notably Harrisonburg, Richmond, and Staunton, where the average annual costs are $6,500 - $10,000 less. Residents of Virginia Beach, Winchester, and Charlottesville should be aware that they live in the most expensive areas for assisted living. In these areas, the average costs can reach $53,000 and even $68,000. Residents might consider other areas of the state to save money.
Home care costs, like assisted living, fluctuate considerably based on one's geographic location throughout Virginia. The average, statewide, hourly cost in 2016 is $19, which has increased by $1 / hour from 2015. However, this is still below the national level of $20 / hour. Staunton, Richmond, and Winchester see costs closer to $17 - $18 / hr., while Blacksburg and Charlottesville are approximately $20 / hr. It is worth noting that these costs are for non-medical home care.
Care in the home, provided by medically trained professionals is also available, and will cost several dollars more per hour.
Statewide, the average daily cost of adult day care is $65. Unfortunately, in some rural areas of the state, adult day care services are not available. In those areas where it is available, adult day care is less costly than the national average, which is $68 / day, and residents might consider this an affordable option relative to assisted living. One will find the most affordable day care in Blacksburg, Harrisonburg, and Winchester, where it is approximately $51 - $59 / day.
Medicaid is a health insurance program intended for lower income Americans. The federal government sets certain guidelines for the program and within those guidelines the states are free to manage the program as they see best for their residents. Each state has different types of Medicaid programs, some for families, some for children, and others specifically for the elderly or those requiring long-term care.
For purposes of relevance, we will focus on Long Term Care Medicaid, which is sometimes called Institutional Medicaid, implying that the program will only cover the cost of nursing home care. While Virginia’s state Medicaid plan will cover the cost of nursing home care and limited personal care, the state also offers Medicaid waivers, which provide home and community based services to avoid or delay nursing home placement.
As of 2106, Virginia has three relevant waivers.
1) The Alzheimer's Assisted Living Waiver helps individuals with dementia, Alzheimer's or other related conditions to reside in assisted living communities. Services provided include assistance with bathing and grooming, medication management, housekeeping, and preparation of meals.
2) The Elderly or Disabled Waiver with Consumer Direction provides services to individuals in their homes to help them remain living in their homes. Via this program, individuals are able to choose the caregiver of their choosing, including some family members. Other services may include adult day care, respite care, and personal emergency response systems.
3) The Technology Assisted Waiver helps technology dependent individuals remain living in their homes. In addition to care services, it will help to pay for environmental (home) modifications to accommodate for a disability or chronic condition.
In addition to the functional need of services and benefits, Medicaid evaluates senior candidates based on their income and assets. In 2016, the monthly income limit for full Medicaid is $792. However, partial assistance from Medicaid is available for those with monthly incomes up to $2,199. The asset limit is $2,000, but this excludes the value of a home, vehicle, and certain other personal effects. Persons near or over these limits, and married couples, may want to consult with a Medicaid Planning Professional prior to application. Learn more.
Virginia has two relevant programs; Adult Services (AS) and Auxiliary Grant (AG). Adult Services is a program intended to help frail elderly persons remain living in their homes. It achieves this by providing a variety of supports such as chore services, shopping and housekeeping which individuals may have difficulty performing for themselves. Learn more about Virginia Adult Services.
The Auxiliary Grant program shares a goal with the Adult Services program, which is to reduce nursing home placements. However, this program does not support individuals at home, rather it provides a cash grant to help them pay for the fees associated with assisted living or adult foster care. Read more.
Additional assistance may be available under the Older Americans Act. Typically this is non-medical support available to elderly persons in their homes such as meal assistance and chore services. These services will vary dependent on the region in which one resides and the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) which services them. Find your local AAA here.
In addition to the state specific options that help pay for elderly care, there are many non-profit and federal options that are also available. To find the best program for your situation, make sure to use our Resource Locator Tool to find other programs that help pay for or reduce the cost of care. There are also programs that help veterans with assisted living and there are eldercare loans available in Virginia.
Given the large variance Virginia sees in the hourly cost of home care and the monthly cost of assisted living, one of the best ways to manage the cost of care is to find the most affordable care. To help families do so, we've partnered with several organizations that provide free services that match an individual's specific care needs with care providers in their preferred geographic area. Click here to find affordable care.