Bellingham is a large city in the far northwestern corner of Washington state. Seattle is approximately 80 miles south of the city and the Canadian border is 20 miles to the north. Health care costs are 21.1% lower than the national average and the city’s biggest hospital, PeaceHealth St. Joseph, receives high grades for many important services. Although the overall cost of living is slightly higher than that of Washington, it’s the price of housing in Bellingham that pushes up the average and this doesn’t translate to higher nursing facility costs. Nursing homes in Bellingham cost less than the state average at $8,517 per month, according to the Genworth 2020 Cost of Care Survey.

Seniors who have ongoing medical needs and/or complex conditions often transition from a hospital to a nursing home for treatment and 24/7 professional oversight. Other types of senior care, such as in-home care and assisted living, are more affordable and appropriate for people with fewer medical needs.

This guide helps locals and those thinking about moving here for nursing home care by comparing regional, statewide and national costs and providing a list of resources.

Directory of Nursing Homes in Bellingham, WA

Shuksan Healthcare Center

1530 JAMES STREET, Bellingham, WA, 98225

Shuksan Healthcare Center was the first place we wanted to send my stepmom, but they didn’t have an opening the day that she was released from the hospital, so she had to wait four or five days. She f … (read more)
Shuksan Healthcare Center was the first place we wanted to send my stepmom, but they didn’t have an opening the day that she was released from the hospital, so she had to wait four or five days. She f … (read more)

Mt Baker Care Center & Summit Place Assisted Living

2905 CONNELLY AVENUE, Bellingham, WA, 98225

My dad had two visits at the facility in several months. The first was for two months of skilled nursing care that allowed him to go home and spend his last two months with my mom. His last visit was … (read more)
My dad had two visits at the facility in several months. The first was for two months of skilled nursing care that allowed him to go home and spend his last two months with my mom. His last visit was … (read more)

North Cascades Health and Rehabilitation Center

4680 Cordata Parkway, Bellingham, WA, 98226

North Cascades is the best one. The food is delicious. They have a new chef, and I gained a couple of pounds. The nursing staff is very attentive, and they’ve got the best physical therapy around. The … (read more)
North Cascades is the best one. The food is delicious. They have a new chef, and I gained a couple of pounds. The nursing staff is very attentive, and they’ve got the best physical therapy around. The … (read more)

Avamere Bellingham Health Care and Rehabilitation

1200 Birchwood Avenue, Bellingham, WA, 98225

The facility was very clean. It has open airy and homey feeling. The staff is always helpful and responsive to family and patience needs. They are caring and loving.
The facility was very clean. It has open airy and homey feeling. The staff is always helpful and responsive to family and patience needs. They are caring and loving.

Highland Care Center

2400 SAMISH WAY, Bellingham, WA, 98225

My mother passed away from Alzheimer’s last October. Highland staff were so amazing. Mom dodn’t want to be there, where ever there was. The staff cared for her, looked after her, cherished her in all … (read more)
My mother passed away from Alzheimer’s last October. Highland staff were so amazing. Mom dodn’t want to be there, where ever there was. The staff cared for her, looked after her, cherished her in all … (read more)

St. Francis of Bellingham

3121 Squalicum Pkwy, Bellingham, WA, 98225

This facility is “For Profit”. My mother pays over 9000.00 a month for a private room. Only one light works. She asks everyday, but 2 weeks and her other lights do not function. Her clothes disapp … (read more)
This facility is “For Profit”. My mother pays over 9000.00 a month for a private room. Only one light works. She asks everyday, but 2 weeks and her other lights do not function. Her clothes disapp … (read more)

Alderwood Park Conv Center

2726 ALDERWOOD AVENUE, Bellingham, WA, 98225

I was there for congestive heart failure rehab and while there I got a respiratory infection, a yeast/fungal infection, I became dehydrated, they lied about filing important paperwork, I never saw a … (read more)
I was there for congestive heart failure rehab and while there I got a respiratory infection, a yeast/fungal infection, I became dehydrated, they lied about filing important paperwork, I never saw a … (read more)

Nursing Home Costs in Bellingham, WA

The average cost for semiprivate rooms in Bellingham’s nursing homes is $8,517. Private rooms add another $1,186 to the average, totaling $9,703.

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Nearby Cities

Nursing care facilities in Bellingham are relatively affordable when compared to the state average of $9,581 per month, which is over $1,000 higher. The U.S. average is significantly lower than both at $7,756 per month.

All surveyed cities within 150 miles are more expensive than Bellingham for nursing home care. Mount Vernon’s average cost is $1,840 per month higher, at $10,357. Average costs in Seattle and Bremerton are higher still, with monthly rates of $10,624 and $10,646, respectively. Nursing homes in Wenatchee are more expensive than those in Bellingham by just over $500 per month.

$8517

Bellingham

$9581

Washington

$7756

The United States

$10357

Mount Vernon

$10624

Seattle

$10646

Bremerton

$9034

Wenatchee

The Cost of Other Types of Senior Care

Nursing home care is the most expensive of all senior care options available, at $8,517 per month for a semiprivate room in Bellingham and a significant increase to $9,703 for a private room. In-home care for seniors is much more affordable, with average costs of $6,197 and $6,483 per month, respectively. Assisted living is priced even lower, at $4,738 per month, and is generally the most comparable type of care to what’s provided in nursing homes. There was insufficient reporting of adult day health care costs in Bellingham.

$6197

Home care

$6483

Home health care

$

Adult day health care

$4738

Assisted living

$8517

Nursing home (semiprivate room)

$9703

Nursing home (private room)

Financial Assistance for Nursing Home Care in Bellingham, WA

Many seniors and their families use some form of financial assistance to help them pay for nursing care. The main options available are Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans benefits. These programs can be complicated, especially when it comes to benefit terms. Below, we give a brief overview of how these programs may be used towards paying for skilled nursing care.

  • Medicare: Medicare will typically cover all skilled nursing costs for the first 20 days of one’s stay in a nursing home and a portion of the costs until day 100. After 100 days in a skilled nursing facility, Medicare will not cover any part of the cost of the stay. While this is adequate when short-term care is needed, those in need of long-term care will need to either pay out-of-pocket or use another source of financial assistance.
  • Medicaid: Medicaid covers most of the costs of living in a skilled nursing facility for those who qualify. Care, room, and board are covered with no time limit, but residents may be charged for extras like specially prepared food or cosmetic services. Medicaid eligibility standards are strict and complex, so not all seniors are eligible for Medicaid benefits.
  • Veterans Benefits: Veterans receiving a VA pension may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit administered by the VA. Aid and Attendance is a monthly allowance that beneficiaries may use to pay for their long-term care, including skilled nursing care.

If these options aren’t available to you, check if your loved one has long-term care insurance or contact your Area Agency on Aging to ask about any local financial assistance programs for seniors.

Free Resources for Seniors in Bellingham, WA

There are many specialized programs, services and general information available to help the elderly residents of Bellingham find what they need. The organizations listed here provide services directly and some can make referrals to other appropriate agencies in the region. Residents who need nursing home care may be eligible for financial assistance and help making the transition.

Resource

Contact

Service

(360) 676-6749

The NWRC is responsible for providing many services for seniors in Bellingham and Whatcom County as a whole. It operates the Area Agency on Aging and the Aging and Disability Resources Program in the region. Residents may be eligible for various assistance programs that make it safer to continue living in the community, such as in-home support services (IHSS), Medicaid transportation and paratransit, tax relief and long-term care counseling. The agency can also provide case management for those who qualify for state-funded long-term care. Locals who aren't sure of their options and how to apply for benefits or other programs should contact the NWRC first.

BSAC: (360) 733-4030
MOW: (360) 746-6480

The BSAC serves residents aged 50+ and has over 1,600 members who visit the center located near City Hall. It's managed by the Whatcom Council on Aging, which also provides congregate dining at several locations and the Meals on Wheels program for eligible seniors (60+) and people with disabilities who can't get to a center in person. Aside from the usual fun and games for older residents, the BSAC offers health and wellness programs and clinics, fall prevention and strength training.

(360) 671-6079

With its main office in Bellingham, Law Advocates can provide low-income residents with free legal assistance and representation for civil issues. Seniors who can't afford to hire an attorney may be eligible with various common issues, including access to health care, public benefits and long-term care facilities, as well as family law problems and procedures.

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This is a phone service that connects people in Washington with health and human services in their local area. Staff are available 24/7 to direct calls and answer questions. The website also provides a wealth of information via searchable listings that allow residents to find the closest and most appropriate resources.