Assisted Living Sticker Shock

May 3, 2016

Assisted Living Sticker Shock

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What value can you truly place for your golden years? For most people, retirement is a priceless time in life. It can allow the freedom to decide how your days are spent, helping you to treasure every new moment.

Believe it or not, there is a huge difference between surviving retirement, and thriving during what should be one of the most liberating times of your life.

Assisted Living Sticker Shock: Understanding Costs

While assisted living facilities aren’t usually a matter of pocket change, the value of this care option may be more reasonable than you think. Many seniors have the impression that moving to an assisted living community will be so much more expensive than living at home, they simply don’t consider it.

Thanks to Genworth’s 2015 Cost of Care Survey, the latest numbers are in to ease your assisted living-sticker shock.

Prices range from a minimum of $600 a month, a median of $3,600, and a maximum of $11,250 in the United States today. On average, that means you’ll pay around $43,000 a year for an assisted living residence. The next five years expect to see a 2% growth rate for this industry, yet the demand is only going to increase.

If these numbers continually tighten your wallet, calmly set it down and take a step back. A good, hard look at your current budget may reveal assisted living as a better option than expected.

What You Get With Assisted Living

Moving out of a sentimental home is not easy, yet the cost of maintaining that lifestyle can begin to cut into your wellbeing.

Between having to pay a mortgage or rent, maintaining property itself and keep up with the utilities, bills can pile up faster than you think. Adding the cost of food and your basic necessities, what is left for you to really live the life you desire?

Assisted living communities provide the essentials – All utilities, rent, housekeeping, 24-hour security and health services, not to mention on-campus dining options and entertainment. No more property taxes, removing your own trash, or broken appliances; it’s all included.

Ultimately, you’re buying a chance to live with fewer chores and more time to spend however you decide!

Planning the Transition

With more people living longer than ever before, the cost of care is only increasing. This probably means you’ll want to minimize the financial burden as much as you can. Preserving assets and making sure your hard-earned money doesn’t just burst into flames are possible with a bit of planning and research.

First, ask yourself which services you’ll need the most through assisted living. Are there certain activities of daily living that are frequent issues for you? How much assistance do you need with medications? Are there any medical conditions you may be recovering from? How about memory care? Assessing the aspects of your specific needs can really help with planning for any additional costs.

Next, do your research on any facility you are interested in. Do they have good reviews or any past violations? It is vital to your decision to visit a potential assisted living community. During your tour you’ll be able to meet the current residents and caretakers, asking questions and getting a feel for what may be your future home. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for an assisted living community’s inspection records; the facts of a facility can be the turning point for such a life-changing decision.

Paying for Assisted Living

So now you’ve decided it is time for your senior to move, found the perfect assisted living community, complete with every amenity and more… but once again that sticker shock just seems to creep right back in!

Take a deep breath – there are payment options for everyone, and reviewing each one will have you well on your way to assisted living:

To start, long-term care insurance is perhaps the most financially stable way to receive coverage for assisted living. Purchasing this type of insurance can help you to preserve savings and other assets, while also expanding the range of services you are able to receive at your assisted living community. Although this option is not the most affordable for everyone, it has its distinct benefits.

Another option is cashing out your current life insurance plan for what are called accelerated, or living benefits. Selling your plan back to the original or third party company can often leave you with 50-75 percent of the policy’s face value.

Otherwise, Medicaid is available for seniors with no savings, assets, and who lack a steady source of income. After qualifying, you’ll have to remain within a certain income and asset limit in order to continue receiving coverage.

If you are a veteran, be sure to check what veteran benefits you may be entitled to while searching for your assisted living option.

Treating that Sticker Shock

Yes, assisted living may be quite the expense for some, however, the benefits can quickly outweigh the price. You deserve a retired life of ease, free to explore each day with wonder. Assisted living can be just the opportunity you’ve been searching for – the time spent running errands, mowing the lawn, or fretting over health concerns can be yours to command and enjoy! 

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Frequently Asked Questions

I was just told that my Dad is getting kicked out of assisted living. Is that possible?

Unfortunately, yes. Though it sounds awful, seniors can sometimes get kicked out of assisted living communities. Some of the reasons senior get kicked out are: endangering the health and safety of other residents or workers, breaking the rules, not paying the bill, or needing more healthcare than the community provides. However, most communities will provide residents with at least 30 days’ notice of eviction to allow families to plan around the situation. 

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What is the difference between assisted living and other senior care facilities?

An assisted living facility is a residential facility designed to house multiple seniors in a home-like environment. Those residing in assisted living receive personal care, meal services, transportation services, housekeeping services, around the clock staff supervision and assistance with other daily activities. Assisted living residents do not necessarily receive skilled nursing care which is generally more medically intensive. However, medication management is offered by certified medical staff. If you or your loved one needs more advanced attention, skilled nursing homes or even home care may be more appropriate options. 

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