Understanding the Costs of Independent Living

Aug 31, 2016

Understanding the Costs of Independent Living

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Of the various senior care options available, the one that’s becoming a preferred choice for many families is independent living. As we grow older, maintaining the house, paying bills, doing laundry, shoveling snow - just everything becomes more time consuming and tedious!

With independent senior living, just about everything is taken care of, allowing you to spend time with loved ones and get the most out of your retirement. What's more is that you'll be free to enjoy each facility's unique amenities like fitness centers, specialized dining options, and community events, allowing you to make time for whatever you'd like to do! 

Understanding Independent Living Costs

It's easy to see why independent living is so attractive to many seniors - communities can be regular all-inclusive resort vacations! Yet, we understand that the cost of care can be one of the most important deciding factors for families. Breaking down the features to take advantage of during life in independent living can really illustrate why this care type really is a great bargain!

Nationwide, independent living can cost anywhere from $1,500 - $3,500 a month. These prices will change based on where a community is located, which additional services you take advantage of, and the demand for housing. Many premier facilities actually have waiting lists! 

So What's Included?

To start, seniors can select a housing option that will serve their needs best. This can include studio apartments, small cottages, or townhouses depending on how much space is desired. The costs of your electricity, running water, trash and snow removal, and even appliance repair are all covered with each monthly payment. Even housekeeping services and emergency response systems are all part of your rent, ensuring you're safe and comfortable at all times. 

Other staples of independent living can include meal plans, exercise classes, and transportation services - many communities even have their own beauty salons and libraries to keep you at your best. 

Which Costs Are Extra?

Since independent living is designed for seniors who are still relatively active and healthy, advanced medical services usually come at an extra cost. You'll find emergency response staff in most communities, but for individuals who require constant medical attention or those with preexisting, chronic conditions, they may find their monthly bills are a little higher than other residents'.  

If more comprehensive medical care is needed, residents of independent living communities can also consider hiring in-home caregivers or personal health care aides to provide care as needed. These types of services are not usually available through communities themselves but can be found via home or personal care agencies. The cost of this additional care may also be eligible for coverage through Medicaid or Medicare depending on your financial situation and medical needs. 

How Can I Pay for Independent Living?

Unlike assisted living or nursing home care, independent living is not usually covered by Medicaid or Medicare. Most people who move to an independent living community do so on their own dollar, meaning it's more of a lifestyle choice than a medical decision per se. 

However, there are some methods of receiving financial assistance for those who have served in the U.S. military. Single or unmarried veterans can receive up to $1,644 a month with couples eligible for as much as $1,949. If a spouse survives their veteran partner, they may also still be able to collect upwards of $1,056 a month to pay for their care. 

Seniors who are legally blind, currently have a disability, or still support a dependent may also be entitled to collecting an average of $733 a month. 

Another option that is gaining popularity is opening a senior living line of credit, allowing up to $50,000 of unsecured credit to pay for care as needed. The funds are sent directly to your community and the repayment options are usually very flexible with little to no collateral required in most cases. 

Choosing Your Independent Living Option

As with finding any new home, taking a visit to a prospective community is the best way to know if it will be the right fit for you! Check with other residents as to how they enjoy community life and ask them questions to get a feel for how well the staff responds to their needs. With thousands of options nationwide, you'll be sure to find the best option available to make your retirement worth the while!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Due to our financial situation, I simply cannot afford to put my parents in a home, but having them live with me isn’t exactly ideal. Are there any other affordable options?

We realize that senior care communities can be costly, but there are a few things to be considered. Many healthcare providers will help offset the costs of moving to a senior care community. If that’s still not financially possible, look into having a home care aid come to your parents' house a few times a week. These home care aids can be hired through an agency or independently and can provide a variety of services to take care of senior loved ones. Don’t let money get in the way of providing the care your parents deserve.

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What is the average hourly rate for in-home care?

On average, the hourly rate for a home-care attendant is between $14 and 24 per hour. These prices will vary based on your location, the range of required services (medical and non-medical), and the professional certification of a home health caregiver. Here you can search for home care by your state to find the best option for you or your elderly loved one!

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Finding the perfect senior care community is only part of making your loved one’s senior living transition smooth. At SeniorCaring, we know that it is also equally important to be aware of what other community services and resources are available to your family’s senior. Choose your location and find local resources for your senior.