I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Olympia, WA

Olympia is a city with many amenities, but its low population gives it a small-town feel, drawing in seniors who want to retire someplace quiet. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18.4% of the city’s 55,919 residents are aged 65 and older. In 2019, Kiplinger named Olympia “a smart place to retire” due to its senior-friendly tax policies and relative affordability. Washington has no income tax, which means retirees in Olympia don’t have to pay state income tax on their Social Security benefits, pensions or other retirement funds. Housing costs are about 55% lower than in Seattle, and Olympia residents also pay less for groceries, transportation and health care.

Seniors in Olympia have access to several high-quality health care facilities. Providence St. Peter Hospital has been ranked as one of the best hospitals in Washington, as it’s considered high-performing in 15 medical conditions and procedures. For seniors who need more specialized care, UW Medicine-University of Washington Medical Center is the top hospital in Washington. It’s also nationally ranked in cancer care, diabetes and endocrinology, ENT care, gynecology, orthopedics and rehabilitation.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Olympia, WA

In Olympia, seniors pay an average of $6,673 per month for both home care and home health care, according to the Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey for 2021. The survey bases this average on 44 hours of care per week, so your total monthly cost may be more or less depending on how much care you need. To make budgeting easier, use $35 as the average hourly cost for both types of care.

The Cost of Home Care & Home Health Care in Nearby Cities

When comparing costs for in-home care, Olympia is well above the national average and close to the Washington average. It’s slightly less expensive than Seattle, but Bellingham and Spokane are cheaper by about $200 to $300 per month. In Seattle, seniors pay an average of $6,769 per month for both types of care. Bellingham has average costs of $6,483 per month for both types of care, while Spokane averages out at $6,387 per month for home care and $6,483 per month for home health care.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

In-home care is one of the most expensive types of senior care in Olympia. Assisted living, a residential care option, averages $4,805 per month. Adult day care has the lowest costs, coming in at an average of $1,625 per month. However, when compared to nursing home care, in-home care is more affordable. Nursing home care costs an average of $9,764 per month in Olympia.

III. How to Find Home Care in Olympia, WA

Finding a home care provider for yourself or a loved one can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Below, we explain the process of how to find a home care provider in 5 simple steps. Use the infographic below to help guide your search for in-home care in Olympia, WA.

IV. Home Care Resources for Seniors in Olympia, WA

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

What You Should Know

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income Washington residents avoid utility shutoffs and maintain their utility services. In most cases, LIHEAP gives grant funds directly to utility providers on behalf of program participants, reducing the amount owed. LIHEAP may also pay to replace unsafe HVAC systems or make energy-related repairs.

Who Is Eligible?

Eligibility depends on household size, annual income and heating costs. To qualify, you must have an annual income at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

How to Get Started

To get started, contact your local LIHEAP agency. A list of agencies is available on the Access Washington website.

Lewis-Mason-Thurston Area Agency on Aging

What You Should Know

The Lewis-Mason-Thurston Area Agency on Aging (LMTAAA) provides a variety of services to seniors living in its three-county service area. For seniors enrolled in Medicaid, LMTAA offers case management, which can make it easier to find providers and coordinate their services. The agency also provides funding to local organizations that offer transportation, meal programs and other services to help seniors age in place.

Who Is Eligible?

To receive assistance from LMTAA, you must be at least 60 years old or have some type of disability.

How to Get Started

For more information or to request a referral, call LMTAA at (888) 545-0910.

Senior Property Tax Deferrals and Exemptions

What You Should Know

The Washington State Department of Revenue offers property tax deferrals and exemptions to eligible seniors. In Washington, homeowners typically pay property taxes in two installments, with the first half due by April 30 and the other half due by October 31. A tax deferral allows qualifying seniors to defer the second payment, making it a little easier to keep up with their property tax obligations. The deferred amount continues accruing interest until the homeowner has been paid in full.

Tax deferrals are helpful, but they don’t change the amount of tax owed. They simply allow seniors to delay paying until they have the funds available. In contrast, tax exemptions directly reduce the amount of tax owed on a property. The exemption amount depends on the home’s value, the local property tax rate and the taxpayer’s annual income.

Who Is Eligible?

To qualify for tax deferral, you must be at least 60 years old, own your home and use the home as your primary residence. You must also have enough equity in the home to cover the amount of the deferral and any outstanding interest. Equity is the difference between your mortgage’s principal balance and your home’s value. To qualify for a tax exemption, you must be at least 61 years old, retired due to a disability or a veteran with a total disability rating or service-connected evaluation rating of 80% or higher. You must also own your home, use it as your primary residence and have an income that falls below Threshold 3. For 2020 through 2024, Threshold 3 is set at $48,566 per year for Thurston County.

How to Get Started

For more information about tax deferral or exemption, contact the Thurston County Assessor’s Office at (360) 867-2200.

Helping Neighbors Program

What You Should Know

The Helping Neighbors Program is a joint effort between the City of Olympia and the Community Action Council, an agency that aims to reduce the impact of poverty on low-income residents of Thurston, Lewis and Mason Counties. Each participant receives $75 twice per year to cover some of their utility costs. The program makes payments only as long as funds are available, so it’s important to apply as soon as you receive a past-due notice from your utility supplier.

Who Is Eligible?

To receive utility assistance, you must reside in Olympia, meet the income eligibility requirements and receive a past-due notice on your account. As of June 2022, the income limits are $31,600 per year for one person, $36,100 per year for two people, $40,600 for three people and $45,100 for four people. The program reviews these limits annually and adjusts them as necessary.

How to Get Started

If you meet the basic eligibility requirements, call (360) 438-1100 to schedule an appointment with the Community Action Council.

Senior Services for South Sound

What You Should Know

Senior Services for South Sound offers several programs to help seniors in Olympia and surrounding areas live life to the fullest. As a Meals on Wheels provider, Senior Services for South Sound delivers one meal per day to homebound seniors, ensuring they receive adequate nutrition. The Community Dining Program offers nutritious meals in community settings, giving seniors a chance to eat and socialize. Senior Services for South Sound also has a Care Connection program to link seniors with affordable in-home care services.

Who Is Eligible?

Residents of Thurston and Mason Counties who are 55 and older are eligible to receive services through Senior Services for South Sound.

How to Get Started

To join Senior Services of South Sound and gain access to all of its programs, fill out the online membership application form. You can also call (360) 586-6181 to learn more about the organization.