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The average cost of assisted living in the county is $4,250 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 15 assisted living facilities in Whatcom County and 3 in surrounding areas.
The Cost of Senior Care in Whatcom County, WA
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Indulgent, affordable retirement living at The Leopold is living well. Where the waiter remembers your favorite tea! Where there are healthy meals and...
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A community that provides both independent living and assisted living, Summit Place Assisted Living offers relaxing and comfortable retirement living options to Bellingham seniors. Located in the historic Fairhaven District on the south side of the city, our community sits…
Tucked away in a quiet town, Louisa Place is a charming assisted living community providing quality accommodations and supportive care to seniors in the greater Bellingham area.
Absolutely beautiful community in a great location. My family member can walk to shopping and the community has great walking paths. I was amazed with the staff and how great they were. My mom is relocating to this state and she can't wait to move to this community. I looked at every community in the area and the o...Read more Spring Creek by Bonaventure reviews
I am forwarding this on because of the complaints, lack of response and follow through on several basic issues from simply getting a television to work in their room to the neglect in the dining room. My family is paying for services that they are not getting. 1) The meals aFrre the biggest complaint. Our parents go ...Read more Spring Creek by Bonaventure reviews
The average cost of assisted living in Whatcom County is $4,250 per month, which is just $125 more than the rate paid in Wenatchee ($4,125) and $250 less than the average cost in Yakima ($4,500). The monthly rate in Whatcom County is $250 higher than the nationwide average of $4,000, but almost $900 lower than the state median of $5,135. The local price is a bargain compared to what seniors pay in other communities in this region of Washington, including Seattle ($5,750), Bremerton ($5,720), Mount Vernon ($5,125) and Longview ($5,000).
Note: Data for senior care costs in Whatcom County wasn’t available, so data for the county seat, Bellingham, was used instead.
The Cost of Assisted Living in Surrounding Areas
As in most areas of the country, senior care costs in Whatcom County are influenced by various factors such as the type of care, number of service hours utilized and the care setting. The $4,250 monthly rate for assisted living provided in a residential setting costs almost $5,000 less per month than a semiprivate room in a nursing home that offers around-the-clock skilled care.
Assisted living is only $400 more expensive than the $3,813 average rate paid for in-home services from homemakers and home health aides, which is based on 44 direct service hours per week. These savings quickly dissipate when household operating costs are added on, which are already included in assisted living room and board.
Senior Care Cost Comparison Chart
Low-income Americans with few resources may be eligible for health care coverage through Medicaid, the national program that serves needy residents in every state, including expectant mothers, parents and their dependent children, disabled and blind adults and senior citizens.
Qualifying for Apple Health
All sources of income count toward the above limits, but a few assets are exempt, such as personal effects, one automobile, an owner-occupied primary home and household furnishings. Seniors receiving Supplemental Security Income are enrolled in Apple Health automatically by the Social Security Administration.
If a married senior’s spouse doesn’t apply, their income isn’t counted. They may also be eligible to keep up to $3,160.50 of the applicant’s monthly income along with up to $126,420 of the couple’s joint assets. These amounts are the maximum living and resource allowances mandated by federal law to deter spousal impoverishment. Once these allowances are calculated and deducted, the lower income and asset levels that result may allow a Whatcom County senior who previously exceeded the limits to be approved for coverage.
Community First Choice Option Program
Whatcom County seniors who qualify for Apple Health for long-term care are covered for institutional care in a nursing home. Those who’ve been assessed as able to safely live in the community can qualify for the Community First Choice Option program. This Medicaid entitlement program allows seniors to receive care in their own homes or adult residential care facilities. The services provided are based on an individual’s needs and may include:
Community Options Program Entry System Waiver
The COPES waiver offers seniors with another alternative to institutional nursing home care. The home and community-based waiver provides needed supports in a senior’s own home or community setting.
To qualify for the program, Whatcom County residents must be aged 65 or older and need help performing two or more activities of daily living. Each applicant must also have less than $2,313 in monthly income and $2,000 or less in countable assets.
Those approved for the waiver need to pay their own room and board, but the program provides case management and a range of other services, such as:
Participation in the waiver program is capped statewide, so eligible seniors may be placed on a waiting list to receive services.
Optional State Supplementation
Washington seniors and disabled adults who meet the eligibility requirements to receive SSI benefits also qualify for a monthly cash benefit through the Optional State Supplementation program. Each qualified person can receive an extra $46 benefit payment from the Washington Department of Social and Health Services to use for room and board or other care expenses not covered by Medicaid.
Assisted Living Bridge Loan
Seniors who are putting off moving to assisted living until benefits kick in or a home or other assets are sold can apply for a bridge loan from Elderlife Financial. These loans are designed to provide short-term funds to pay for rent, care services or other assisted living costs until long-term funding becomes available.
An Elderlife bridge loan has a maximum 12-month term and is set up as a line of credit with interest-only monthly payments required. The loan also has no out-of-pocket costs or early payoff fees and allows seniors to make automatic monthly payments to their chosen care facility.
Law Advocates of Whatcom County offers free legal assistance to low-income residents of all ages, including seniors. Staff of the nonprofit agency provides advice, advocacy and representation for a wide range of civil legal needs, including landlord/tenant and housing problems, elder abuse and exploitation, consumer debt, predatory lending, discrimination and preparing powers of attorney and wills.
Law Advocates of Whatcom County
1415 Commercial St., Bellingham, WA 98225
The Whatcom County Veterans program can help senior veterans access local, state and federal compensation and benefits. The agency also connects veterans with legal aid, social service programs and transportation assistance to medical appointments. County veterans can receive primary care and nursing, vision, hearing and lab services at the Mount Vernon VA outpatient clinic. The local Bellingham Vet Center provides group and individual counseling services.
Whatcom County Veterans Program
509 Girard St., Bellingham, WA 98225
Mount Vernon VA Outpatient Clinic
307 S. 13th St., Ste. 200, Mount Vernon, WA 98274
Bellingham Vet Center
3800 Byron Ave., Ste. 124, Bellingham, WA 98229
Whatcom County is home to eight senior centers where older residents can enjoy healthy noontime meals and diverse social and recreational activities. Each center has its own unique offerings, which can include card and board games, wellness checks, exercise classes, educational seminars and creative classes. Some centers feature monthly entertainment by local musical acts, bake sales and bazaars, volunteer opportunities and organized day trips and longer group excursions.
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