One of the most challenging issues for a Georgia family that has a member requiring elder care can be finding the lowest cost facility and methods to pay for the care. While Georgia does not provide direct financial assistance for elder care, the state provides its citizens with links to federal and private funding sources that can significantly ease the financial burden of caring for aging loved ones.
Elder care is usually divided into three categories: assisting living, home care and adult day care. The average monthly cost for assisted living in Georgia is $3,100, about 22 percent below the national average of $4,000 per month. Some areas of the state, such as Albany, Columbus, Savannah, Augusta, and Warner Robins, have even lower monthly costs that range from $2,300 to $2,950. Unfortunately, some areas of the state, such as Macon, Brunswick, Gainesville, and Dalton, monthly costs between $3,484 and $4,145. If the patient requires memory care for Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, monthly costs can increase from $620 to $930. The average hourly rate for home care in 2019 is $19.00, which is $2.00 lower than the national average. As with costs for assisted living, costs for home care vary across the state from $2.25 below the state average to $1.00 above the average. The average daily cost of adult day care in Georgia is about $12.00 below the national average. In 2019, the average statewide rate is $60 per day, ranging from $25-$40 in places such as Brunswick and Savannah. The highest rates for adult day care can be found in Atlanta, where daily rates vary between $77 and $79.
Medicaid provides one of the most helpful financial assistance programs if the recipient can meet Medicaid's income limits. Medicaid pays for medical expense related to permanent, chronic or progressive conditions. If the patient requires full time care in a nursing facility, Georgia will pay most of the costs that are not covered by Medicaid. If the patient is willing to waive his or her Medicaid benefits, financial assistance may be available under the Elderly and Disabled Waiver programs. Choosing the right waiver program depends upon the patient's medical condition and financial situation.
Paying for elder care can become a time-consuming task. In many cases, a lawyer who is experienced in special needs and elder care law can provide useful assistance in choosing and applying for the correct program.