It’s become apparent that it’s time for your loved one to make the transition into assisted living. But with the already high prescription costs, appointments, and other expenses, you might be wondering how you’ll afford it. Paying for assisted living can be a hefty hit to the bank, but it can be manageable if the right steps are taken. There are many different ways to pay for senior care, but we’ve put together a list of a few tips that can help reduce assisted living prices.
5 Tips to Reduce Assisted Living Prices
1. Make the right move the first time
Sometimes, seniors will move into a community only to find it’s not the right fit. Several moves can ramp up both the costs and stress of assisted living, so do lots of research beforehand. First, determine what your loved one needs and wants. This can help to ensure that you’re not paying for something that your senior might not need.
Check the facility’s licensing, visit each location multiple times, and even have an attorney review the contract before making a decision. Talk with the long-term care regulator and anyone else to ask any questions. Don’t be hesitant to call multiple times – it’s your job to do research and they shouldn’t have any problem answering questions you may have, within reason. When you visit facilities, we suggest keeping an assisted living checklist for each one that you visit so you have reference points when it’s time to make a decision.
2. Ask about price flexibility
Most facility prices aren’t set in stone. You can ask if there is a move in incentive or try to negotiate the price. Some communities even waive the “community fee,” which can get pricey. Residences often work to keep their occupancy high, so offering discounts can encourage families to choose their facility. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
Another thing to consider about price flexibility is the time of the move. Many of the larger assisted living residences face financial pressures much like other businesses. This being said, they may be more inclined to give price breaks at the end of the month, calendar quarter, or their financial quarter. If the move is not time sensitive, this could help you reduce assisted living prices.
3. Consider the size needed
Think about both the size of community needed and the apartment size. Compare prices between the larger communities and smaller ones, and decide if it’s worth it. Contrary to popular belief, smaller facilities can actually be less expensive due to differing regulations. While this might not be true for every facility, but it could make a significant impact.
When trying to decide on apartment size, remember that the larger the room, the more expensive it will be. Not only will the monthly cost for the room increase, but community fees can also rise. While it’s not for everyone, renting a studio apartment instead of a one-bedroom can considerably reduce assisted living costs. Many residents find that there are enough activity rooms throughout the facility that they don’t need their own private living room.
4. Work with a referral service
Looking for assisted living through a referral service can greatly reduce assisted living prices. As stated above, residences work to keep their occupancy rates steady and at a certain level. Assisted living communities usually will not share occupancy rate information with potential residents, but will share it with referral services.
By using a free referral service such as Senior Caring, you’re more likely to get the best price available. You can also ask if there are any new communities that have just opened since they’re probably trying to fill as many rooms as possible to get started.
5. Look outside the city
Normal real estate prices are typically more expensive in urban areas, and so are the costs of assisted living. Looking a bit farther out can drastically lower prices. A more suburban or rural community will also give more personal space and these residences are designed and built specifically for the purpose of assisted living. City facilities, more times than not, are just renovations of existing buildings and properties.