5 Assisted Living Communities in West Virginia
Woodlands Retirement Community
Elmcroft of Martinsburg
Brookdale Charleston Gardens
Elmcroft of Maplewood
West Virginia is the northernmost Southern state and the southernmost Northern state, depending on which way the map is held. Known as "the Mountain State," West Virginia lives up to its reputation as home of some of the nation's most breathtaking natural vistas, as forested stone mountains cover the edges of almost every line of sight in the state. Seniors who can manage a mountain trail can get out early and stroll up a West Virginia mountainside through the morning fog, and then enjoy a totally different experience by walking back down after lunch, when bright sunshine lights up the fields of rhododendrons, the state flower, and under the friendly whistles of northern cardinals, the state bird.
The 1.8 million people who call West Virginia home are keenly aware of their state's history and deep cultural roots. Originally part of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the 55 counties that make up West Virginia seceded from their parent state when it joined the Confederacy in 1861. Two years later, in 1863, West Virginia became the first state to be annexed in wartime and the first to be added by presidential decree, when Abraham Lincoln recognized the new state by executive order.
West Virginia has been the traditional home of the coal industry, early labor unions and seemingly endless forests that stretch over the mountains as far as the human eye can see. Modern seniors can find a home in assisted living communities surrounded by the state's rich, beautiful mountain landscape.
What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a form of residential care for aging citizens who need help with their activities of daily living (ADLs), such as dressing and taking some medications, but who can still live somewhat independently in private or semi-private rooms. Staff at assisted living properties help with meal preparation, schedule community activities and provide emergency response for their residents.
What Does Assisted Living Cost in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, the average monthly cost of assisted living is $3,619, according to the 2018 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.
Assisted living costs about $3,619 a month in West Virginia. This is somewhat less than the national median monthly cost of $3,750. Home health aides, who are often the last level of care before a senior moves into assisted living, can cost $3,241 a month in West Virginia, so the move into assisted living might require some adjustment for seniors on fixed incomes. As is the case in many states, costs can be significantly higher in the bigger cities. Charleston, for example, has a median monthly cost for assisted living of $4,357.
How is Assisted Living Regulated in West Virginia?
West Virginia's assisted living communities are licensed by the state Department of Health and Human Services Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification. This office regulates facilities, inspects properties and publishes training and operations guidelines for staff. Aging citizens, concerned loved ones and the general public are encouraged to submit comments and tips via the office's website.
How is Assisted Living in West Virginia Affected by Laws and Taxes?
West Virginia can be relatively tax-friendly for seniors, depending on income and assets. Social Security is taxed at between 3 and 6.5 percent, with most of the same conditions applying at the state level as apply on the federal. West Virginia has an income tax, so seniors who work may have to pay some fraction of their check to the state, but a hefty exemption applies to the first $8,000 earned, so seniors with part-time income may not owe any taxes at all. Similar rules, including the exemption, apply to income from retirement accounts and other common senior income.
Politics in West Virginia
Aging citizens should have an easy time voting in West Virginia. The Secretary of State's office opens early voting, along with mail-in voting, around two weeks before Election Day, in late October. Seniors who find it challenging to visit a specific polling place can drop their completed ballot into the mail and have it counted if it's postmarked before the November 3 deadline.
West Virginia's government is built around the standard three-branch structure, with a bicameral legislature that's open to the public on most workdays. A convenient shuttle runs to the east wing of the Capitol building Monday through Friday for seniors who need a ride or who don't want to find parking on site.
Politically, West Virginia is generally a Republican-leaning state, though its voters have been willing to elect Democrats to Congress fairly often. In presidential politics, the state wields five votes in the Electoral College, which are almost always pledged to the Republicans. West Virginia has a very strong blue-collar tradition and a major investment in coal mining as a source for local jobs, which tends to drive a distinct pro-union and labor-friendly tendency in local politics.
- New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville is a huge steel arch bridge that towers 876 feet over the bottom of a gorge. The bridge runs 1,700 feet, making it the longest structure of its type in the world. Every year, West Virginians celebrate Bridge Day by shutting down the road and watching as daring souls bungee and base jump over the edge; the only time when this is legal. Seniors who would like to watch the festivities (or take part in them) can schedule a bus trip out to Fayetteville in the middle of October.
- West Virginia has over 12 million acres of forest, much of it primary-growth virgin hardwood, which covers 75 percent of the state's land area. Since much of the terrain is rugged and mountainous, logging can be difficult and the forests haven't shrunk significantly since the 1980s. Aging citizens can enjoy camping, fishing and other outdoor activities in any of the state's eight protected forests.
- In 1938, the Mingo Oak gained notoriety when foresters discovered that it had been killed by a parasitic fungus, and the decision was made to cut it down. This happened in 1938, The tree was approximately 584 years old, making it the oldest white oak ever found. The state performed the necessary cutting during a farewell ceremony similar to a funeral. A marker commemorating the event, placed by the side of the nearest highway, was later stolen and never found.