- Services you should expect from an assisted living facility
- Assisted living vs in-home care
- What’s included in the assisted living package?
- What is the true cost of assisted living?
- How to pay for assisted living?
- Is there assisted living near me?
- The cost of assisted living. Is it worth it?
More and more families are opting for assisted living communities for their loved ones. According to the National Center for Assisted Living, more than 800,000 Americans are living in assisted living communities. So why do families go for this option?
It reaches a point where a caregiver feels overburdened or is unavailable and the next best option seems to be assisted living since the loved one is not entirely dependent on a caregiver but only needs help with some of their day to day living tasks. These are tasks such as preparing meals, housekeeping, med supervision, bathing, and grooming. As great as this arrangement sounds, the concern for a majority is usually how much it costs.
Assisted living can be cheap or expensive, it all depends on the location of the facility, the level of care your loved one requires, and the additional services you choose. Amenities available in the facility also steepen the cost. That is why one needs to do a lot of research before settling on a facility. One thing you should note though is that assisted living communities do not offer sensitive and high-level care like rehabilitative care, memory care, medication administration, and round the clock supervision. If your loved one needs help with something or maybe has fallen down and needed help getting up they simply use the help button on their alert devices to summon for help. Your loved ones must be able to take care of themselves for the better part of the day.
Services you should expect from an assisted living facility
- Daily tasks like personal hygiene and grooming
- Transportation to and from grocery stores, entertainment spots or medical appointments
- Recreational services
- Meal prep and delivery
- Exercise programs
As for the housing, different communities have different settings but the majority will have private rooms, shared rooms, condo-like facilities, and private apartments. All of which vary in costs.
Assisted living vs in-home care
If you are like most folks, you are stuck at deciding whether to opt for assisted living or having in-home care. Well, both are great options but each has its pros and cons and one will obviously be more convenient for you and your loved one. The greatest advantage of in-home care is of course their flexibility. The fact that you can always have a caregiver a call away when you need help is amazing. There are days when you are just stretched too thin and you need help with caregiving duties. And for those days when you don’t need their services you simply call the day off and save yourself some bucks.
In-home care is ideal when you are still capable of being a caregiver partly and the help needed is not high level. Otherwise, It just gets to a point where you need someone to care for your loved one fulltime and this is where assisted living comes in handy as it is cheaper than full-time in-home care. Well, most may argue that in-home care is cheaper than assisted living, in figures may be but when you look at both time and resources, assisted living is cheaper.
With assisted living, you don’t have to worry about paying a mortgage, utility bills, repair and maintenance costs, buying and preparing meals as well as housekeeping. All these costs are replaced by assisted living costs. As you can see, in-home care may just be too expensive and hectic to keep up in the long run. To add on, the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your loved one is safe and fully taken care of by trained professionals at an assisted living community is priceless. Then comes the other fact that your loved one will still have the same independence and comfort that they had while at home. The assisted living center is similar to a private apartment, it has a kitchen and a bathroom and other amenities depending on the facility you choose. It’s pretty similar to a home setting in most ways.
The other greatest advantage of assisted living is that your loved one gets to socialize, learn, and get entertained. Things that may have been restricted when living at home even though they are important in keeping them active both physically and mentally.
What’s included in the assisted living package?
As mentioned earlier, assisted living rates may vary depending on a few factors- location, type, and level of services needed. Most will, however, have a base package that includes rent for the apartment and 3 hot meals each day. Every other service from there is charged as an additional at an extra cost. If your loved one requires to be bathed, fed, and dressed, you will have to pay over and above the base pay. You will also pay extra for barber and salon services, among others.
When reading the contract, you will need to be extra keen and look out for hidden costs that you will obviously not be told upfront. Scrutinize the documents and ensure everything is stated clearly including end of service terms. Ask other family members for their opinion and judgment before signing the contract.
What is the true cost of assisted living?
And now back to the elephant in the room. The true cost of assisted living. According to the 2018 Genworth survey on the cost of care in the US, it will cost you at least $4,000 monthly if you move your loved one to an assisted living community. That translates to $133 daily and $48,000 annually. That is cheaper than if you were to take them to a nursing home which comes to $8,365 monthly and cheaper than having an in-home attendant full time.
Now, depending on where you live, these costs can be higher or lower. Genworth here has listed out the costs by the state as well as by metro areas. As you can see, areas with a high cost of living like New York and San Francisco similarly cost more than rural areas and areas with affordable living costs. Other areas noted to have high costs include Massachusetts, Delaware, Alaska, New Jersey, and Connecticut while states with lower costs include Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama, Michigan, and Missouri. Aside from the monthly payment, you will also be expected to pay a non-refundable move-in administration fee that could cost between $1000 to $5000. Now do the math and see how much you will need to have for a start.
How to pay for assisted living?
Wondering how to pay for your loved one’s assisted living? Well, there are a few options for you.
Pay from own pocket
Sadly, Medicare does not pay for assisted living or any senior care for that matter so for most families, paying out of their pockets is the only available option. You can use savings, pensions, or revenue from investments.
Long-term care insurance policy
This is a policy that you buy from insurance companies that is similar to a health insurance policy. Just like every other policy, factors like age, health, and amount to be insured will determine how much you will get. If your loved one has no pre-existing conditions the application will be a smooth one otherwise you might get a few rejections from most insurers or the premiums may be unreasonably high.
Proceeds from selling off their home
It only makes sense to sell off the home if your loved one is moving into an assisted living community as a long term care option. The money then can be used to offset their costs at the assisted living community. If the home was under a mortgage, you may have to pay off the remaining balance on the loan and use the remainder on their assisted living costs. You can also consider a reverse mortgage where your loved one will be getting a lump sum each month to pay for the costs at assisted living.
This is another great option of paying for assisted living for your loved one if they meet the requirements. This program is aimed at assisting seniors with limited incomes and low assets. Each state may use different criteria to qualify a senior but as long as you meet the requirement, your assisted living costs will be financed.
Is there assisted living near me?
There are assisted living communities nearly in every state. If you are unsure where to find one, you can use this database to find one near you.
The cost of assisted living. Is it worth it?
Well, this depends on what your current situation is for you as a caregiver. If your hands are full and you cannot manage to help your loved ones with their day to day tasks, well, the best option is assisted living. If you can afford it, it is worth it, however, while thinking about it you must also consider their long term care needs and the financial burden long term. If everything else favors the option of an assisted living, go for it. Your loved one will benefit most from social interactions, companionship, hot meals, and opportunities to learn and grow. Their safety will also be guaranteed 24/7.