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The state of Maryland is a state located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. With a total area of 12,407 square miles and a population of around 6 million people, Maryland is the 19th most populated state in America and the 5th most densely populated at 596 people per square mile. Maryland is the 42nd largest state in the nation. The capital is Annapolis and the largest city is Baltimore. With the 42nd highest percentage of senior citizens at 13.76% of the total population, is Maryland a good choice for a senior looking to retire?
Costs of Assisted Living in Maryland
The cost for Assisted Living Care in Maryland state averages almost $3,750 per month, (close to $45,000 a year). The costs vary greatly from city to city - for example, Assisted Living in Baltimore, Maryland averages $3,370 monthly, while those living in the Frederick Area pay, on average, almost $5,800 per month. Depending on the type of facility and the residents living there, the expenses may be higher. For example, an Assisted Living Facility that predominately cares for dementia residents will likely be more expensive due to a higher staff to patient ratio, more staff training, and more security needed to keep the residents safe.
The U.S. average cost for Assisted Living is $3,293 per month, while Maryland’s average is more expensive than the U.S. average. Nursing homes in Maryland are much more expensive than assisted living facilities - with semi-private rooms costing over $110,000 per year, and a private room carrying a cost of over $128,000 annually.
Adult Day Health Care in Maryland averages $1,700 per month or around $20,000 per year. A Home Health Aide in Maryland costs, on average $4,000 a month, over $48,000 annually. Although it appears that a Home Health Aide is almost $19,000 less expensive than care in an Assisted Living Facility; however, the cost of a Home Health Aide is based on a 44-hour-week, whereas Assisted Living provides 24-hour care. To receive comparable care at home you would need 3.8 Home Health Aides per week which would cost around $15,215 every month.
Home Health Aides usually do not do housekeeping nor do they come with licensed nurses that you find in Assisted Living Facilities. It is estimated that by the year 2030, Assisted Living in Maryland will cost over $105,000 per year – an increase of over $35,500.
Within Maryland itself, the costs of Assisted Living Care vary as well, for example, these are the latest approximate costs of a monthly stay in an Assisted Living Facility in Maryland:
- Baltimore, Maryland - $3,370
- Cumberland, Maryland - $3,750;
- Hagerstown Area, Maryland - $3,960;
- Salisbury, Maryland - $4,250;
- California Area, Maryland - $5,250;
- Frederick Area, Maryland - $5,800.
Who pays for Assisted Living Care in Maryland?
Typically, the costs associated with Assisted Living care are paid for by Maryland elderly or their families. The state of Maryland has a waiver program called the “Senior Assisted Living Group Home Subsidy” program which is for small group homes with between four and 16 residents. Eligibility for this program requires that the individual be:
- At least 62 years of age;
- A resident in a facility or has been approved for entrance into a facility that is in a service agreement with the local Area Agency on Aging;
- Physically or mentally impaired and in need of assistance with activities of daily living; and
- Financially eligible – the applicant’s monthly net income cannot be higher than 60% of the state’s median income and their assets can’t be greater than $11,000 (individual) or $14,000 (couple).
Helpful State Programs for Seniors & Senior Living in Maryland
Maryland has quite a few programs to help seniors during their retirement in the state. Many of these programs are coordinated by the Maryland Area Agencies on Aging – of which there are 19 across the state. The other agency that Maryland senior citizens need to know is that of Maryland Ombudsman. The job of an Ombudsman is to protect the rights of Maryland residents in retirement and long-term care facilities.
There are other waiver programs available in Maryland as well, including:
- Medicaid Long Term Services and Supports – for Maryland seniors over 65 with physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, children who are chronically ill, and those who are considered “dual eligible” which means they are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
- Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) – helps older adults and those with disabilities to find person-centered services in their communities to help improve their quality of life. Includes the following programs:
- Community First Choice Waiver;
- Community Personal Assistance Waiver;
- Medical Day Care Services Waiver – a structured group setting providing health, social, and other support services to those who are 16 or older and are functionally disabled. This program is for those who are eligible for any of the HCBS Waivers, including: Medical Day Services Waiver, Community Options Waiver, Brain Injury Waiver, Model Waiver, and the Community Pathways Waiver – however a person may only use one waiver program at a time; and
- Hospice Services – provided for those who are terminally ill and only for palliative care, not for treatment but for comfort. Hospice Care can be provided at home or in a nursing facility.
- Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) – a program that is voluntary that helps Maryland seniors remain in the community rather than in an institution. Medicaid will help cover costs if the person meets the eligibility requirements. In Maryland, PACE is called Hopkins ElderPlus.
Maryland also has the following services for elders:
- Legal services – services that are provided or available to seniors in Maryland that are legal or protective in nature:
- Adult Protective Services – provides services for elderly adults who are physically and/or mentally impaired.
- Guardianship Services – helps seniors over the age of 65 who have been deemed incapable by a court of law to make decision regarding their needs;
- Advance Directives – these are legal documents that allow Maryland seniors to choose someone else to make health care decisions on their behalf in the event that you are incapable of doing so.
- Surrogate Decision-Making – Maryland allows relatives or close friends of someone who is incapacitated to make decisions regarding senior care.
- Senior Legal Assistance – provides access to legal advice, representation and legal counseling to older Maryland residents.
- Insurance Resources for Senior Citizens in Maryland – there are many different options for insurance programs for senior citizens, including State Health Insurance Program (SHIP). SHIP helps those with Medicare understand their benefits and rights. There are trained staff and volunteers in all 24 counties in Maryland that can help explain benefits. This service is free of charge and confidential.
Long-Term Care Support Services:
- Family Caregiver Support Program – helps families keep their loved ones at home for as long as possible. Offers five types of services: information, assistance, counseling, respite care, and supplemental services. Those who are eligible to receive help include:
- Those 18 and older who are providing care to Maryaldn seniors age 60 and older;
- Family members or other informal caregivers who are over 18 and providing care to seniors and others with Alzheimer’s or dementia;
- Grandparents and other relatives who are not the parents but are providing care to children under the age of 18; and
- Grandparents and other relatives who are not the parents and are providing care to those aged 18 and up who have disabilities.
Pros and Cons of Senior Living in Maryland
Although most studies and websites warn you not to retire in Maryland, there are some good things about retiring in this state.
- Variety of landscape – from the mountains in the west of the state, to the ocean on the east, and the rolling hills in center, there is always something to do and you don’t have to drive far to see an entirely different landscape;
- Recreation and Outdoorsy Activities – not only can you ski in the mountains, but Maryland touches three major bodies of water – the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River estuary and the Atlantic Ocean. This means more than 4,000 miles of shoreline and more than 400 lakes in the state;
- Culture and History – the capital, Annapolis, contains the highest number of 18th century brick buildings as compared to all other cities in the nation and has museums and historical landmarks all over. Baltimore has an opera, symphony, and local theater. If that isn’t enough for your retirement, then it is only a short train or car ride to Washington D.C.;
- Expenses – The median home costs over $225,000. The cost of living is almost 20% above the national average; and
- Taxes – Maryland has a high tax rate and is considered to be moderately tax-friendly to senior citizens, however there is an estate tax and an inheritance tax.
Financial Information for Maryland Seniors
Maryland has both a state and county income taxes, however while the state income tax rate a person pays is dependent upon their income the counties use a flat tax system. The state of Maryland’s highest income tax is 5.75% while each county has their own flat tax between 1.25% to 3.2%.
The sales tax is Maryland is 6% and counties and cities can NOT add to that amount. No matter what country you are in you will pay 6% sales tax. The sales tax applies to most physical items, but does not apply to services. Food served at restaurants are taxed at the 6% amount, yet groceries are not usually taxed at all. Cars and other purchases are also taxed at 6%.
There are 179 different tax authorities that collect property taxes in Maryland, including the 23 counties, the city of Baltimore, and 155 other incorporated cities. The rates vary across the state, but the average is 1.01% with Baltimore having the highest tax rate at 1.43% and Talbot County having the lowest at 0.56%.
Maryland has both inheritance and estate taxes. The difference between the two is surprisingly simple. Estate taxes are taxes that are paid by the estate of the person who died. In contrast, the heirs of the deceased are the ones who pay inheritance taxes. The estate tax in Maryland will continue to rise until it matches the current federal exemption of $5.9 million. Estates worth less than that amount do not pay estate taxes, while estates that are larger than that amount pay up to 16% in taxes. The average estate tax is 10% of the value of the estate.
Whether an estate is exempt from estate tax or not, it’s possible that an inheritance tax may still be owed. If the property is transferred to anyone other than a descendent, parent, sibling, grandparent, step-parent or step-child, it is subject to a 10% inheritance tax rate.
Maryland is a moderately tax-friendly state for seniors, due to the following:
- Income from Social Security is not taxed;
- Withdrawals from retirement accounts are partially taxed;
- Wages are taxed at normal rates, in Maryland the rate is 4.8%;
- Public pension income is partially taxed; and
- Private pensions are fully taxed.
Maryland is a high-price state and the cost of living is higher than the national average. For example, what you could purchase for $100 in Maryland is what you would expect to pay $90.66 on in another state. The cost of living is higher in Maryland overall than it is in other states in every category but one, with housing being the biggest difference. If 100 is the national average, Maryland rated higher in grocery (112.4), transportation (105), utilities (113), health (101), housing (144), and overall (117.) The only area where it came in below average was miscellaneous at 97.
Places of Interest for Seniors Living in Maryland
There are many things that might be of interest for senior citizens in Maryland State. Here are some of the top-rated attractions in Maryland:
- U.S. Naval Academy – located in Annapolis, Maryland. The school provides guided walking tours and the visitor center is open from 9-5 from March-December and from 9-4 in January and February.
- The Walters Art Museum – located in Baltimore, Maryland and has free admission.
- Audubon Naturalist Society Woodend Sanctuary – located in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The Sanctuary is located on one of the few old estates in Chevy Chase, Maryland County, Maryland. There are discounts available for members of the Natural Audubon Society;
- Surratt House Museum – located in Clinton, Maryland. This house was built in 1852 as a farm house for the Surratt family but through circumstances it ended up playing a role in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The price of admission is $5 but they offer a senior citizen discount of $4 as well as group rates.
- Antietam National Battlefield – located in Sharpsburg, Maryland. The cost of attendance varies due to group discounts and it is free to active duty military. There is a three-day pass for $5 per person or $10 per vehicle;
- Historic Annapolis – located in Annapolis, Maryland. You can just walk around this historic town or take a guided tour. The “four-centuries tour” will be given by a tour guide in period dress and takes about 2 ¼ hours.
- Main Street Berlin – located in Berlin, Maryland. This town was named one of the 20 Best Small Towns to Visit by Smithsonian.
- Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Some cities to consider for Maryland Senior Living:
- Berlin, Maryland – located in Worcester County, Maryland. The population of this town is less than 5,000 with 1,423.8 people per square mile. Although the median age is 38.4 years, 17.7% of the population is 64 or older. There are at least 47 building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but the downtown area has gone through a revitalization and has been designated as a “Main Street Community” by the state of Maryland;
- Annapolis, Maryland – located in Anne Arundel County. Annapolis is not only the country seat, but also the capital of Maryland. The population is around 40,000 of which only 11.9% are senior citizens over the age of 65. However, this is a college town with both the United States Naval Academy and St. John’s College located in Annapolis. Last year, Annapolis rated #9 out of 95 out the “Best Suburbs to Live in Baltimore Metro,” #12 out of 12 of the “Safest Suburbs in Baltimore Metro,” and #12 out of 95 of the “Most Diverse Suburbs in Baltimore Metro;”
- Easton, Maryland – a town and the county seat of Talbot County, Maryland. The population is about 16,600 with 12.3% over the age of 65. Last year, Easton ranked #22 out of 54 of the “Safest Places to Live in Maryland,” #8 out of 249 “Best Places to Retire in Maryland,” and #58 out of 249 of the “Healthiest Places to Live in Maryland.”
- Oakland, Maryland – located in Garrett County, Maryland, Oakland is also the county seat of Garrett County. It has a population of less than 2,000 people and 22.5% of the residents are seniors 65 or older. The cost of living in Oakland is average compared with the rest of the country and the median home costs only $130,000 which is drastically cheap by Maryland standards;
- Ocean Pines, Maryland – located in Worcester County, Maryland. Ocean Pines has a population of around 11,000 of which 34.5% are seniors 65 or older. Last year, Ocean Pines rated #4 out of 54 of the “Safest Places to Live in Maryland,” #2 out of 54 of the “Best Places to Retire in Maryland,” and #38 out of 252 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in Maryland;”
- Kensington, Maryland – located in Montgomery County, Maryland. The population of Kensington is around 2,400 with 14.8% over the age of 65. Last year, Kensington rated #5 out of 252 of the “Best Places to Raise a Family in Maryland,” #5 out of 238 of the “Best Suburbs to Raise a Family in Maryland,” and #6 out of 249 of the “Best Places to Retire in Maryland;”
- Chevy Chase Village, Maryland – located in Montgomery County, Maryland. It tied with another city as the wealthiest city in America in the last census. The population is around 2,100 with 20% of the population who are seniors 65 or older. Last year, it rated #2 out of 50 of the “Safest Suburbs of Washington D.C. Metro,” and #8 of the “Best Suburbs to live in Maryland;”
- Sykesville, Maryland – located in both Carroll County and Howard County, Maryland. The population is around 5,000 and 7.1% of the population is 65 or older. Last year, it rated #2 out of 12 of the “Safest Suburbs in Baltimore Metro,” #19 out of 249 of the “Best Places to Retire in Maryland,” #6 out of 54 of the “Safest Places to Live in Maryland,” and #5 out of 44 of the “Safest Suburbs in Maryland.”
- Chestertown, Maryland – located in, and the county seat of, Kent County, Maryland. The population is around 5,000 of which 23.6% are senior citizens. Last year, Chestertown rated #9 out of 249 of the “Best Places to Retire in Maryland,” and #26 out of 44 of the “Safest Suburbs in Maryland;”
- Timonium, Maryland – located in Baltimore County, Maryland. Timonium had a population of around 10,000 with 23.7% of the population over the age 65. Last year, Timonium, MD rated #5 out of 249 of the “Best Places to Retire in Maryland,” and #29 out of 95 of the “Best Suburbs to Live in Baltimore Maryland.”