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Guide to Senior Living in New Jersey

The senior population in New Jersey is on the rise, while general population growth is fairly stable at an estimated 1% increase compared to 2010. The senior population is expected to increase from 16.1% to 19.9% of the total population by 2030. As seniors age and retire, the need for senior living facilities is expected to grow, putting strain on existing care systems for the elderly.

The explosion in the senior population may explain, in part, the relatively high cost of senior living in New Jersey. For example, the statewide average for assisted living is $6,400 per month, which is $2,349 more than the national average. Given the high cost of  services, many seniors may struggle to meet all of their financial obligations. Those facing increasingly expensive care may benefit from a variety of programs available to help reduce out-of-pocket costs for medical and other health care services. 

This guide takes a look at the cost of senior living in the state, available financial assistance programs and local agencies and free resources that may provide help to seniors.

Paying for Senior Living in New Jersey

Senior care options in New Jersey range from day services to full-time, around-the-clock nursing care. While assisted living is a popular option among New Jersey seniors, it may not be the best choice for everyone. Those who only need help with one or two activities of daily living or chore assistance may prefer in-home care, while those who live with family might opt for adult day care during the workday. Below are the expected costs for each level of senior care.

$4767

In-Home Care

$6400

Assisted Living

$4767

Home Health Care

$1842

Adult Day Care

$10646

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in New Jersey

Genworth Financial’s Cost of Care Survey 2019 lists the average cost of assisted living in New Jersey at $6,400 per month. Not only is this substantially more expensive than the national average, it is also higher than many neighboring states. For example, in Pennsylvania, assisted living costs average just $3,913 per month. Delaware is the most comparable, although seniors in the state can still expect to pay $365 less than in New Jersey. The cost of care in other nearby states is much closer to the national average of $4,051, with New York at $4,630 per month and Connecticut at $4,880.

$6400

New Jersey

$4051

United States

$3913

Pennsylvania

$6035

Delaware

$4630

New York

$4880

Connecticut

The Cost of In-Home Care in New Jersey

The cost of elder care is often similar in New Jersey and New York and for in-home care, both states report the same fee of $4,767 per month. This is higher than the United States average by $477 per month. It’s also more than in three adjoining states. Less expensive rates for services that allow seniors to live at home without the worry of housework and errands are found in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. In these states, the going rate for in-home care is $96 – $382 less than in New Jersey.

$4767

New Jersey

$4290

United States

$4671

Delaware

$4481

Maryland

$4385

Pennsylvania

$4767

New York

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in New Jersey

When comparing nursing home costs in New Jersey ($10,646) with surrounding states, it appears to be middle-of-the-road for the area, although the cost is 29% higher than the national average of $7,513. In-home care companies in New York charge higher rates than New Jersey at $11,613 per month for 24/7 supervision and medical care. New Jersey’s rates are closest to those in Delaware ($10,897) for this type of senior care. Two states in the area have lower average monthly costs for nursing home care: Pennsylvania and Maryland, $9,733 and $9,673, respectively. 

$10646

New Jersey

$7513

United States

$10897

Delaware

$9673

Maryland

$9733

Pennsylvania

$11,613

New York

Financial Assistance for Senior Living in New Jersey

Congregate Housing Services Program

The state-funded Congregate Housing Services Program (CHSP) offers subsidized senior living to frail and disabled seniors. Some of the provided services include:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Errands
  • Meal preparation
  • Assistance with activities of daily living

The scope and specific services available to residents vary based on the location. To qualify for this program, seniors must live in a building that has a state contract to provide subsidized congregate housing. Rates are based on a sliding scale and are typically well below the cost of a private senior living community.

Contact: Seniors in New Jersey who are interested in the Congregate Housing Services Program can contact the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services via mail at P.O. Box 715, Trenton, New Jersey 08625 or by phone at 1-800-792-8820.

Medicaid Managed Long Term Services and Supports

The Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) program is a Medicaid managed care program aimed at helping seniors otherwise at risk of nursing home placement. In contrast to waiver programs with enrollment caps and waiting lists, MLTSS is available to all seniors who qualify. Though the program is designed to delay nursing home placement, quality of care is the driving force. Seniors enrolled in the MLTSS program can get help with the costs of senior living, home care, meal delivery, nursing care, home and vehicle modifications and a variety of other supportive services.

Seniors interested in MLTSS must be assessed as clinically eligible and meet the financial requirements of the program. In general, clinical eligibility is based on a short-term stay in a skilled nursing facility, and seniors must need ongoing assistance with at least three activities of daily living. Financial guidelines limit participants to no more than $2,349 per month in gross income, and a total of $2,000 in countable assets. In some cases, income in excess of the limit may be deposited in a Qualified Income Trust if an individual otherwise meets the eligibility requirements.

Contact: To apply for the MLTSS program, seniors can contact their local Area Agency on Aging via phone or in person. Information requests can also be made over the phone by calling 1-800-356-1561.

VA Aid and Attendance Benefits

Veterans who need help with daily living tasks may be eligible for assistance through the VA. The Aid and Attendance Benefits program pays up to $765 extra per month on top of a regular pension for those who qualify. This additional money may be used to pay room and board expenses at an senior living facility, which can be difficult to fund through other sources.

To qualify, veterans must need assistance with at least one activity of daily living or have a permanent disability and meet the program’s service requirements. To be eligible, a veteran must have served at least 90 days of active duty, with one day during wartime, and received an honorable or other qualifying discharge.

Contact: For more information about program eligibility or to apply, contact your local VA office.

Senior Living Laws and Regulations in New Jersey

Note: All these rules typically apply to non-clinical senior living facilities, such as independent living, assisted living, and memory care facilities. Nursing homes and other senior living facilities with a clinical setting may have additional or slightly different requirements and regulations.

Rules and regulations for senior living in New Jersey apply to three categories of service providers — senior living residences, comprehensive personal care homes and senior living programs. The Department of Health and Senior Services licenses and inspects these facilities to ensure they are meeting all state-mandated requirements. Take a look below for more information about the laws and regulations that apply to senior living.

Scope of Care

In New Jersey, senior living facilities must meet minimum care requirements that include help with personal care, health care, skilled nursing care, pharmacy access, activities, recreation and transportation. While skilled nursing care must be provided, the need for on-going care at that level may mean a transfer to a nursing home. Senior living facilities also provide three meals per day, snacks and beverages.

Care Plan Requirements

At least 30 days before a resident is admitted to an assisted living facility in New Jersey, the facility must obtain an assessment from the applicant’s health care provider certifying that the facility can provide an acceptable level of care. Within 14-days of admission, the facility must develop a care plan after an assessment by the staff RN.

Medication Management Requirements

All staff can assist residents with self-administering medications, removing single doses and opening packaging, but only staff who are certified can administer medications directly. Certified staff members can also distribute medications under the direction of a pharmacist or RN, if the facility uses a unit-of-dose system.

Staff Screening Requirements

Current guidelines require senior living facilities to hire certified or licensed staff to perform direct care. Part of the licensing or certification process includes a fingerprint criminal background check.

Staff Training Requirements

Before starting work at an senior living facility, all staff members must go through an orientation that covers topics including emergency planning and evacuations, infection control, resident care, pain management, patient rights and other related topics. A personal care aide is often the staff member with the most direct contact with residents. PCAs must have 20 hours of continuing education every 2 years, while those who administer medications must have an additional 10 hours of CE. Administrators must complete 30 hours of CE every 3 years.

Medicaid Coverage

Some of the expenses related to senior living may be covered under Medicaid programs like MLTSS. It is important to note that MLTSS specifically excludes expenses related to room and board. Covered expenses may include personal care services, assistance with ADLs, meal preparation and other assistive services. 

Abuse and Neglect Reporting

If you or a loved one experience or suspect abuse has taken place at a senior living facility, report the incident to the Long Term Care Ombudsman by phone at 1-877-582-6995 or via email at [email protected]

New Jersey Senior Living Free Resources

New Jersey Agencies

Office of Community Choice Options

The Community Choice Program coordinates information from nursing homes, senior residents and their families to create discharge plans that enable seniors to live in the community. The program incorporates a variety of assistance services and supports to create safe and secure environments for seniors leaving a nursing home.

The office also participates in the prescreening process for seniors who may be eligible for long-term support services through publicly funded programs like Medicaid.

Contact: To find out more, contact the New Jersey ADRC at 1-877-222-3737.

Area Agencies on Aging in New Jersey

Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) in New Jersey distribute state and federal funds through a variety of assistance programs. These agencies work with seniors to develop comprehensive care plans and coordinate services for those who need help. Not all programs are available in every locale, but AAAs track and coordinate with hyperlocal service providers and statewide programs.

Veterans Affairs Offices in New Jersey

Some Veterans may qualify for benefits that help pay some of the costs associated with senior living. VA benefits can be used to pay for assistive services, although room and board costs may be an out-of-pocket expense. In addition, a pension related to military service is one source of funding that can be used to pay for any of the expenses related to senior living. Local Veterans Affairs offices can provide more information and help with eligibility determinations.

Social Security Offices in New Jersey

Social Security benefits are paid out based on income accrued over time in the workforce. In many states, including New Jersey, Social Security is not taxed and these funds can be used to pay for the room and board expenses that are part of senior living and often excluded from other funding sources. Contact your local office to determine your eligibility and benefit amount.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in New Jersey?

Assisted living costs in New Jersey average $6,400 per month. However, many areas throughout the state have much lower costs, such as Vineland, where the monthly cost of assisted living averages $4,600.

Are there financial assistance programs for assisted living in New Jersey?

New Jersey has several programs that pay some or all of the cost of assisted living for seniors who qualify. The congregate housing program may be ideal for seniors living in specific buildings, while the MLTSS program may provide funds for some of the health and wellness services offered in an assisted living facility.

What are Activities of Daily Living?

Activities of daily living include tasks like bathing, getting dressed, grooming and eating. For seniors with mobility challenges, it may include assistance transferring from a bed to a chair, or from standing to sitting.

What is the difference between assisted living and independent living?

Independent living typically refers to a community designed to be low-maintenance that may offer services like housekeeping. Seniors are generally active and capable of self-care. In assisted living, seniors may get help with some daily living activities and have access to staff 24 hours a day.

Who should consider assisted living?

Seniors who can no longer live at home safely, or require assistance with activities like cooking a meal or getting dressed, may want to consider assisted living. Those who require skilled nursing care are not good candidates for assisted living.

The Top Cities for Senior Living in New Jersey

Learn more about the cost of senior living in the top New Jersey cities. Additionally, find reviews and information about assisted living facilities and other senior living communities across the state.

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