How to Finance Senior Care and Retirement Community Living

Paying for moving to a retirement community, assisted living facility or a nursing home is a reason for great concern. There are several different options on how to finance senior care, depending on the level of care. Here is a breakdown of various financing options available:


Private Pay

This is the most common method of payment for independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing care. An individual or couple uses their income, including Social Security, pension and any other regular income to cover the cost. In many cases, they will also need to use some of their savings, as well. This would be, but not limited to, stocks, bonds, check and savings, CDs, IRA or annuities, real estate and any other investments.


Housing Subsidy

There are some housing options that may be government subsidized to offer affordable housing or rental assistance.  Specific income guidelines must be met in order to qualify for this type of housing. The most common subsidized housing in the Western New York area is offered through HUD programs or through Belmont Housing Resources.


Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Benefits

Veterans who served during wartime and their spouses may be able eligible to receive a benefit through the Veteran’s Administration. This benefit is for those who are unable to care for themselves and are in need of assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). There are certain income guidelines that must be met, and the person’s assets must be under $80,000 (excluding their house and car). Generally, those who may be able to apply for this benefit are getting services in their home or are living in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility.


Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

This is different from the normal Social Security income that seniors receive each month, although it is also administered through the Social Security Administration. SSI is used to supplement payment for assisted living facilities and housing for seniors with low income. Like housing subsidies, there are specific income guidelines that must be met to be eligible for SSI. If you qualify for SSI and are looking for an assisted living facility, you will want to make sure that the facility accepts SSI.



These two programs are often confused with one another.

  • Medicare is a federal health insurance program that offers limited coverage for nursing home care or home health care.
  • Medicaid is a federal, state and locally financed program that covers health care expenses generally in a nursing home or for home health care services for those who have spent down their assets. There are both financial and medical qualifying factors. Generally, someone in a nursing home will be able to meet the medical qualifiers. The financial qualifiers vary for an individual and for someone whose spouse is still living in the general community. In most cases, the community spouse will be able keep a certain amount of income, assets, house, and car while the spouse in the nursing home qualifies for Medicaid coverage. An important factor that Medicaid will look for is if there has been any asset transfer in the last five years.

Medicaid generally does not cover assisted living with the exception of the New York State Assisted Living Program (ALP). Again, to qualify for Medicaid there must be both a financial and medical need, and most individuals in an assisted living facility will not meet the medical qualifiers even though they may meet the financial qualifiers. There are only a few facilities in Western New York that work with ALP.


Long-Term Care Insurance

Long term care insurance is a policy that will cover services provided generally in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Typically, the person must need assistance with two to three activities of daily living in order to use this policy. Most plans have a dollar amount or time period cap. Some plans may also cover home care services. It is important to talk with a qualified insurance professional or elder law attorney to see if a policy of this nature is beneficial for you.

As you can see there are many different ways to finance senior care, some of which can be used to cover the costs of living at The GreenFields Continuing Care Community in Lancaster. The GreenFields offers independent living apartments at GreenField Manor and assisted living apartments at GreenField Court. The GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center provides skilled nursing care, inpatient rehabilitation services and outpatient therapy. Additionally, GreenField Terrace provides enhanced assisted living and memory care. To learn more about these financing options or what The GreenFields has to offer, call the Senior Living Department at (716) 684-8400.


The GreenFields resident



5959 Broadway
Lancaster, NY 14086

The Niagara Lutheran Health System does not discriminate in the admittance of residents or the hiring of employees relative to age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, sexual preference gender, gender identity, blindness, handicap, sponsor, marital status, or religion.

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