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The average cost of assisted living in the county is $3,765 a month. This guide is a starting point covering the cost of assisted living care in the county, as well as financing options to pay for it. You'll find in-depth information on 4 assisted living facilities in Blair County and 2 in surrounding areas.
The Cost of Senior Care in Blair County, PA
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Colonial Courtyard at Tyrone calls the picturesque area of Blair County, home. Just a few minutes off Interstate 99, our community is easily accessible to all of our visitors, friends and families. Bordered by charming woods, our facility has a…
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At Presbyterian Village at Hollidaysburg, you have the flexibility to create your own experience. All of our senior living services, amenities and activities are designed to support your desires and decisions, whether it?s our Independent Living, Assisted Living or Skilled…
According to the Genworth 2018 Cost of Care survey, the monthly price of assisted living in Blair County hovers just above the state median of $3,750 and is about $200 below the national average ($4,000). Assisted living is notably more expensive in the nearby cities of Chambersburg ($4,550), Harrisburg ($4,418) and State College ($3,818). In contrast, seniors in Pittsburgh ($3,150), Gettysburg ($3,100) and Johnstown ($3,036) pay considerably less than the local monthly rate.
Note: Data wasn’t available for senior care costs in Blair County, so data for Altoona, a city within the county, was used instead.
The Cost of Assisted Living in Surrounding Areas
There’s a significant price difference between the various types of senior care available in Blair County. Care in a nursing facility costs almost two and a half times as much as assisted living, largely because it offers specialized, 24-hour care services.
Based on the average costs, homemaker and home health aide services seem fairly comparable to assisted living, but these figures don’t tell the full story. Assisted living rates typically include meals and housing, whereas in-home care rates represent just the service hours provided. Seniors remaining at home also have to pay for groceries, maintenance, utilities and other household expenses.
Senior Care Cost Comparison Chart
Medicaid is the federal and state government-funded program that provides basic health care services to low-income people across the country. In Pennsylvania, the Medicaid plan called Medical Assistance provides coverage for about one-fifth of the state’s population.
Those who qualify are covered for doctor and specialist visits, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, prescriptions, X-rays and diagnostic tests as well as in-home, community-based and nursing home care.
Blair County residents who need long-term care services can qualify for MA if they’re aged 65 and older, or disabled, and a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted alien. Applicants also must have a medical need for long-term care and meet these financial requirements:
All sources of income and most resources count for eligibility purposes, but certain assets are exempt, including an occupied primary home worth up to $585,000, household and personal effects, one automobile and burial plots and reserves.
Those with an income exceeding 300% of the federal benefit rate may qualify through the Medically Needy Only MA program. This lets an applicant spend down their excess income on eligible medical expenses to qualify for six months of MA coverage.
There are special rules for couples if only one spouse applies for MA long-term care coverage, which may let an applicant qualify who’d otherwise be over the income and resource limits. According to the rules established to prevent spousal impoverishment, up to $3,160.50 of an applicant’s monthly income may go to their spouse as a living allowance. The spouse may also keep up to $126,420 of the couple’s joint assets as a resource allowance. The exact allowance amounts are determined during a review at the time of application.
Seniors can apply for MA coverage online or in person at the Blair County Department of Human Services Assistance office located at 1100 Green Avenue in Altoona.
Community HealthChoices Program
Seniors and disabled adults who qualify for MA coverage and need long-term care are enrolled in the Community HealthChoices program. This mandatory managed care plan is overseen by the state DHS Office of Long-Term Living and provides comprehensive medical and long-term care support services. The program doesn’t cover the cost of assisted living room and board, but it can help eligible seniors lower their care expenses by paying for services such as:
To qualify as a CHC program participant, applicants must be eligible for both Medicare and MA or require a nursing facility level of care as determined by a comprehensive assessment.
Optional State Supplementation
Pennsylvania offers an Optional State Supplementation payment to low-income seniors and disabled adults who receive Supplemental Security Income benefits. Those who meet the qualification criteria for the SSI program except for income may still be eligible for OSS benefits. The program’s cash benefit tops up the monthly SSI payment and can help pay for expenses not covered by Medicaid such as room and board. The precise benefit amount depends on a recipient’s marital status, income and living situation. The maximum amount available for a single person is $439.30 per month, and a married couple can receive up to $957.40.
Blair County seniors can apply for SSI and OSS benefits by calling the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213.
Domiciliary Care Program
The Domiciliary Care program offers an alternative to institutional nursing facility placement for seniors and disabled adults who have an unmet need for assistance with activities of daily living and can no longer live independently. Participants in the program live in the state-certified family homes of DC providers and receive a range of services including:
Blair Senior Services, the local Area Agency on Aging, provides case management that includes placement and ongoing monitoring of participants’ well-being.
To qualify for state financial aid for the DC program, applicants must be assessed as needing daily assistance but able to live in the community without risk to health or safety. They also must have no relatives who can provide the care needed. Financially, applicants must be eligible for SSI benefits with a monthly income of $771 or less if single or $1,157 as a married couple.
To learn more or apply for the DC program, county seniors should contact Blair Senior Services at (800) 245-3282.
Blair Senior Services operates four senior centers in the county which provide a diverse range of programs and services for adults aged 60 and over. Seniors can stay fit with dance and exercise classes, enjoy a game of billiards or bingo or join an arts and crafts club.
There are frequent special events including potluck dinners, group luncheons, live concerts, themed parties and holiday celebrations. The centers also offer wellness screenings, health education presentations and guest lectures on relevant topics. Membership is free and transportation is available.
Central Blair Senior Center
1320 Twelfth Ave., Altoona, PA 16601
Northern Blair Senior Center
505 Third St., Tyrone, PA 16686
Southern Blair Senior Center
15229 Dunnings Highway, East Freedom, PA 16637
Senior veterans can access a full range of health care services at the VA Medical Center in Altoona. Those who need information about VA pensions and benefits or assistance with filing applications can contact the Blair County Veterans Affairs office to schedule an appointment.
Blair County Veterans Affairs Office
423 Allegheny St., Suite 112, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648
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