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Aging in Place vs. Nursing Homes: Which Option is Best for You?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2020), the national average costs per month for a room in a nursing home ranges from $6,844 for a semi-private room to $7,698 for a private room. Although home modifications can be financially challenging for an individual to consider, nursing home costs can be even more financially challenging for the individual or family members to manage. More individuals are considering home modifications rather than moving to a nursing home so they can continue to live safely and independently. Aging in place and universal design products focus on providing design components to remain independent within their home.

Products such as having a no-step entrance, accessible doors for mobile device access, grab bars, and roll-in showers are all features of a universal designed home (National Association of Home Builders, 2017). The cost of home modifications varies depending on the client’s needs.

The bathroom is one of the

most common places to be remodeled. A bathroom remodel cost can range from $5,000 to $30,000 depending on what renovation is needed and the bathroom structure. The average price for a year in a private room at a nursing home in North Dakota is $92,376 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2020). A nursing home's cost is extravagant compared to a remodel that will last long term for the individual. A bathroom remodel can decrease the risk of injury and reduce assistance from others to complete bathroom tasks.

Nursing homes offer care consistently if needed. Nursing homes have services available, including rehabilitative services, medically related social services, pharmaceutical services, individualized dietary services, activities to attend, emergency dental services, room and bed maintenance services, and personal hygiene services (Medicaid, 2021). If your home is accessible and you still require assistance, there are organizations, services, and programs available to help you to continue to age in place. Programs may include the Service Payments for the Elderly and Disabled (SPED), Expanded SPED (Ex-SPED), Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver, and Medicaid State Plan Personal Care (MSP-PC). These programs pay for in-home services for individuals who would otherwise receive the care in a skilled nursing facility.

About the Author

Jackie Baumgartner is currently a third-year Doctor of Occupational Therapy student from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND. She is currently completing her doctoral capstone at Sparling Construction/GoUniversal. Jackie will be graduating in the spring of 2021 and plans to begin her career as a traveling therapist with her husband. She is very excited to provide you with information regarding different topics about home modifications, disabilities, and ways to make your home more accessible.


Medicaid. (2021). Nursing facilities. Retrieved from term-services-supports/institutional-long-term-care/nursing-facilities/index.html

National Association of Home Builders. (2017). Marketing and communicating with the aging in place client (CAPS I). Washington, D.C.: NAHB.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Long Term Care. (2020). Costs of Care.

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Programs and Services Available for Your Needs

There are a variety of programs and services that are available in North Dakota. These services range from whether you have a disability, want to age in place, need accessible equipment or environment


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