Are there tax breaks for assisted living?

Can you deduct the cost of assisted living on your taxes?

If you live in an assisted living facility — or have a family member who does — you know that the costs continue to rise every year. But did you know some of those costs may be tax-deductible? Medical expenses, including some long-term care expenses, may be deductible if they are more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. (You have to itemize your deduction, and the amount of the deduction varies depending on a number of other factors.)

Generally, people who are reasonably healthy can deduct only the medical component of their assisted living costs; they can’t deduct the cost of room and board. The assisted living facility is responsible for telling you what portion of your fees is attributable to medical costs. On the bright side,’“medical costs” can include a portion of an entrance or initiation fee if a portion of that fee is dedicated to medical expenses. In some cases, though, a resident can deduct room and board and other ordinary living expenses. In order to claim this larger deduction, three things must be true:

The first thing is residents must be in the facility primarily for medical care, not custodial care. Secondly, the resident is “chronically ill.” This means that a doctor or nurse has certified that the resident either cannot perform at least two activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, dressing, transferring, or using the bathrooms; or requires supervision due to a cognitive impairment (such as Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia). Third, personal care services are provided according to a plan of care prescribed by a licensed health care provider. This means that a doctor, nurse, or social worker must prepare a plan that outlines the specific daily services the resident will receive. (Though it’s not required by law, most assisted living facilities prepare care plans for their residents.) However, in all cases, expenses are not deductible if the resident is reimbursed by insurance or any other programs.

In some circumstances, adult children may get a tax deduction if they contribute to assisted living costs for a parent or other immediate family member, including an in-law. The family member must be a U.S. citizen (or a legal resident of the U.S., Canada or Mexico), and the adult child must provide more than half of the family member’s total support for the year. Even if the adult child is not paying more than half the family member’s support for the year, the child may still be eligible for a deduction if he or she contributes to the family member’s support along with others according to a written agreement. The adult child must pay more than 10 percent of the family’s member’s support for the year, and, along with others, collectively contribute more than half of the family member’s support. All those supporting the family member must sign a document called a “Multiple Support Declaration.”

(With permission from The Soignier Law Firm, LLC-Legal Matters.)

“Senior” Senior prom

On Sunday, April 26, at the high school Commons Area, we’ll have music, dancing, food, drinks and just a lot of fun from 3 to 6 p.m. A king and queen will be crowned and everyone will receive a corsage. For your memories, photos will be taken. You may purchase tickets at the senior center in the dining room at the ASI membership desk on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through April 16. All seniors of Archuleta County are welcome to attend.

Health boost — volunteering

Did you know studies show that people who volunteer one to two hours a week are healthier, live longer and are more satisfied with their lives? We’re looking for outgoing, friendly volunteers to help at our front desk by answering phones, checking people in and welcoming everyone to The Den. If you’re interested in working three to four hours a day, two to four days a week, contact Julia at 264-2167 or stop in at The Den. This opportunity will begin in April.

Weekly activities

Friday, April10 — Geezers, 9 a.m.; Tai Chi for Arthritis, 9:30-10:30 a.m.; Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Healthier Living, 12:45 p.m.

Monday, April 13 — Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Ben Bailey from Audobon Society; Canasta, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, April 14 — Chair massage, 10-11:45 a.m.; blood pressure check, 11 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Meditation for healing, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, April 15 — Dance for health, 10 a.m.; Dr. Bricca discussion on irritable bowel syndrome, 12:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 16 — Arboles.

Friday, April 17 — Geezers, 9 a.m.; Tai Chi for Arthritis, 9:30-10:30 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Healthier Living (last class), 12:45 p.m.

Hands-on birding

You can hear spring in the air if you just listen to the birds singing. Join us on Monday, April 13 at 12:45 p.m. as Ben Bailey, archivist, shares the activities and fellowship of the local Weminuche Audubon Chapter. The Audubon Colorado exists to inspire and work with people to conserve, restore and enjoy natural habitats in our state. They have placed a special emphasis on bird conservation. Come learn how to prepare your yard for better birding and habitat.

Medical expense assistance

 The Silver Foxes Den, in cooperation with Archuleta Seniors, Inc. (ASI), may be able to help with excess medical expenses.  Items covered might be prescription copays, eyeglasses, hearing aids and dental care. Qualifying amounts are based on income and need. Recipients must be current members of ASI. Dues are $5 per year. For more information about how we might help you or your family, please contact Musetta at 264-2167.

Silver Foxes Book Club

Do you love to read? Do you have a desire to discuss what you read in a group setting of inquiring minds? Then we have just the thing for you. Kathy Hamilton from the Sisson Library hosts the Silver Foxes Book Club on the fourth Friday of every month at 10:30 a.m. in the Den. Kathy can also obtain books on CD, cassette, and in large print. Stop by the Silver Foxes Den to sign up or call 264-2167.

Meals on Wheels

Archuleta County Senior Services is now offering frozen meals for once a week delivery to reach those who are rurally isolated and unable to participate in our regular route of the Meals on Wheels program. The suggested donation for these meals is $3 each. To find out if you qualify for this program or for more information please call 264-2167.

Menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, and Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $9.75. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served at noon.

Friday, April 10 — Lemon baked fish, rice pilaf, green beans and mushrooms, fruit salad, bread.

Monday, April 13 — Oven fried chicken, spinach salad, potato salad, fruit, cornbread.

Tuesday, April 14 — Chili relleno casserole, parslied carrots, salad, tortillas.

Wednesday, April 15 — Spaghetti and meat balls, salad, seasoned green beans, orange, bread .

Thursday, April 16 — Arboles.

Friday, April 17 — Citrus chicken, baked potatoes, peas, acini di pepe, bread.