Many different housing options are available today for Israel’s elderly population, with solutions based on the person’s health, needs and preferences. The prices of these housing solutions, however, may be quite high for many of us. It is therefore important to be aware of different ways in which this expense may be met, ensuring a safe and healthy environment for your loved one.
The cost of a senior’s home
It is difficult to specify one fixed rate, as costs are determined by a number of factors: location (in central Israel or in the periphery), whether the home is a public, private or governmental institution, and the type of home needed (depending on the person’s level of functioning) – a nursing home, a home for people with dementia etc. In general, it may be said that although the objective costs are high, there are ways to diminish the financial burden, allowing people with limited means to benefit from these services. Independent elderly people looking for a safe and protected environment in the company of their peers may consider the option of a private or public retirement home (diyur mugan).
Options for financial assistance
Since prices are not affordable for everyone, quite a few solutions are available to people looking for a way to pay for a retirement or nursing home.
* Utilizing existing resources – drawing on past savings, pensions and other benefits that your relative has accumulated during his lifetime. You could also consider renting out his previous apartment, which he will not need now. This option usually covers a good part of the expense.
* Reverse mortgage – Here is another option accessible to home owners. A reverse mortgage is actually a loan, not to be repaid during the elderly owner’s lifetime, with the apartment used as collateral. Once he or she passes away, the family pays back the loan – usually by selling the apartment or handing over the property to the loan company. It is important to note that not every apartment can be utilized in this manner, as companies that deal with such arrangements prefer apartments in the more prestigious areas. Also, the amount of the loan varies, and in most cases, the older the person the more money he will receive.
Maximizing benefits from private insurance companies and health funds – the benefits your elderly relative is entitled to depend on the type of coverage he has. The various health funds offer nursing insurance (bituch siudi) which may be very helpful when the time comes.
Maximizing benefits from government offices – in addition to the above-mentioned private means, every elderly person is entitled to benefits provided by various government offices:
1. A “code” from the Ministry of Health – a document issued by the the Ministry of Health approving financial assistance for the hospitalization of a person who needs nursing care or suffers from dementia. The “code” is based on financial criteria, and only offered if there is room in one of the Ministry’s institutions.
2. Income tax reductions – Elderly people living in institutions are entitled to various tax benefits. The Ministry of Finance also assists family members, entitling them to a tax reduction of 35% of the difference between the sum paid to the institution and 12.5% of the income of the person requesting the reduction. It is important to note that only one family member can receive this benefit.
3. Benefits from the Local Authority – the Department for the Elderly at the local Social Services office can help elderly people who have difficulty functioning independently but do not need full-time home care, and can place them in seniors’ homes if needed. In such a situation, the Department shares the cost with the family, to a degree depending on the family’s economic ability.
Residing in a home for senior citizens can be a costly solution. To obtain benefits and reductions you may need to go through long bureaucratic procedures at various offices. However, these efforts will doubtlessly prove worthwhile in the end, not only financially, but most importantly for the elderly person – whose needs will be met in the best way, improving his quality of life.
The information presented in the English website is partial. For full info please visit our Hebrew website