Choosing an Assisted Living, Personal Care or Nursing Home

Placing a loved one in an assisted living, personal care or nursing home can be an overwhelming and emotional undertaking for both the individual being placed and the family and friends helping in the process. If your loved one does not need supervision 24 hours a day, a personal care home may be more suitable; they provide lodging, food and personal care support services (such as bathing and dressing) for those in need of care. Finding an assisted living, personal care or nursing home can be a difficult and confusing experience, so plan ahead; talk with family, friends, social workers, doctors and a local ombudsman. Doing thorough research will satisfy you and your loved one that the facility you have chosen will provide the best care and comfort possible.

How Much Will It Cost for an Assisted Living/Personal Care Home?
The median cost of an assisted living/personal care home in Pennsylvania ranges from $2,000 to $4,000 a month. This cost can be funded in several ways: private pay, with costs covered by the individual receiving the care; through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) where one can apply for Personal Care Supplement; or through a “third party agreement” where an outside source (such as family or friends) helps to pay for services.

How Much Will It Cost for Nursing Home Care?
The average monthly cost of nursing home care in Pennsylvania is about $8,000. Medicaid pays the cost of nursing home care for people with limited incomes. Long-term care insurance, Medicare and private pay are ways in which to pay for care, so assess your financial situation.

First Steps for Prospective Residents
• Ask your doctor for a complete medical evaluation to decide if an assisted living, personal care or nursing home placement is right at this time.
• If financial assistance is needed, contact the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Area Agency on Aging SeniorLine at (412) 350-5460 to request an assessment for level of care.
• Please consider that the process of locating a residence and filling out the necessary paperwork takes time, and many facilities have waiting lists. Whenever possible, give yourself ample time to plan in advance.
• Speak to an ombudsman who has knowledge about the process.
• Consider location. Is it close to family and friends?

Researching an Assisted Living, Personal Care or Nursing Home
There is no need to be hesitant about paying a visit to a facility that you are considering for a loved one. Ask to be taken on a guided tour of the home and be sure to ask lots of questions. These things to consider may be helpful.