The Cost of Assisted Living has been constantly increasing this past few years. It is important for seniors and families to check their finances before making the Asisted Living decision. You may want to consult your financial advisor, if you have one so you can budget for the cost of assisted living and other long-term care expenses. Keep in mind that there are several costs attached to Assisted Living. Make sure to get detailed pricing information, which includes base rent, additional care charges, community fee and miscellaneous fees. You need to know how much the total monthly cost would be so you can determine whether or not you can afford assisted living on a long-term basis. Once you determine how much you can allocate for assisted living, the next step would be to know what your payment options are.
Making Sure Assisted Living is The Right Care Option
Is Assisted Living the right care option for your elderly loved one? Assisted living provides assistance with Activities of Daily Living like bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting and medication management. Daily meals, housekeeping, laundry services and recreational activities are usually provided. Some assisted living communities provide transportation and health care services. Contact the assisted living community directly to find out which type of health care services are provided as services vary per facility.
Determining the Cost of Assisted Living
The national average cost of assisted living is $4,300 a month, or about $51,600 a year, according to survey conducted by Genworth Financial Inc (2020 Report). The cost of assisted living and paying for in-home care can both be very expensive. According to one study cited in NPR, the average cost of a home health aide is $21 an hour. If the senior only needs help a few hours a day, then In-Home Care might be the less expensive care option. If the senior needs 24-hour care, the cost of having an in-home caregiver will be more expensive. In this case, moving to an Assisted Living facility will be the more affordable option.
Most seniors prefer to age in place as they want to live in their own home for as long as possible. If a senior wants to age in place, keep in mind that the cost of maintaining a home can also be expensive since they still have to pay for rent/mortgage and utility bills. Housekeeping, gardening an other house chores tend to be more challenging for the elderly as time goes by. Moving to an assisted living facility will be beneficial to someone who doesn’t like to worry about rent/mortgage, utility bills, house chores and other costs related to maintaining a home.
Another important factor when considering assisted living is the peace of mind of not having to rely on loved ones for providing aid. When seniors can no longer maintain their home due to their changing health condition or financial reasons, they often turn to loved ones for assistance. The same holds true for transportation as well as basic needs such as groceries and daily meals. Assisted Living facilities provide daily meals and assistance with all the activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, toileting, med management, grooming and transferring. Thus, allowing the senior and their family to spend more time enjoying each other’s company.
Payment Options for Seniors Who Choose Assisted Living
Once the family determines that assisted living will be the right care option for the senior, the next step would be knowing what the cost of assisted living is as well as the available payment options. One of the most common misconceptions is that people think that Medicare will pay for Assisted Living. This is false. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Medicare, the government’s health insurance program for those over 65, does not pay for long-term care that includes help with daily activities, whether it be at home or in an assisted living facility. Seniors must look for other means to pay for the costs related to assisted living.
Here’s a list of available payment options for Assisted living:
Option 1: Pay Out of Pocket
Most people pay out of pocket to cover the cost of assisted living. Families typically use the senior’s savings. If the elderly does not have enough money, family members usually contribute to help pay for the monthly assisted living fees.
Option 2: Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term care insurance is a private insurance that is purchased separately. It usually pays for assisted living, memory care community and/or in-home care expenses. However, coverage/benefits vary by policy. There are different types of Long-Term Care Insurance that’s why it is very important to check the details before purchasing the Long-Term Care policy . Usually, people purchase long-term care insurance in their 50’s.
Option 3: Selling a Home
Another way seniors often pay for their assisted living costs is through the sale of their current home. If the senior does not have enough savings or assets to sell, it makes more sense for them to sell their home in order for them to afford the cost of Assisted Living. Home sales can take some time to process, so a bridge loan can help expedite the benefits of a home sale before it actually happens. A bridge loan is an interest-only loan that helps pay for the costs of assisted living until the sale of a senior’s home in finalized.
Option 4: Reverse Mortgage
A reverse mortgage can work similarly, especially if a senior does not wish to sell their home and instead maintain it for a loved one. A reverse mortgage is a loan backed by the federal government for those over 62 years of age. This arrangement when one spouse chooses to enter assisted living, while the other chooses to stay in their home; someone over the age of 62 must be living in the home to qualify. The loan does not need to be paid back until six months after it is sold. Usually, the profit from the sale is used to pay back the loan entirely. During the terms of the loan, no monthly payment is needed—only taxes that are due and the regular maintenance of the home.
Option 5: Medicaid
Many seniors use Medicaid to help pay for the cost of assisted living. Whether a senior qualifies for Medicaid or not depends on the state in which a senior lives in. Medicaid only pays for a portion of the cost of assisted living and some states do not have programs that cover 100% of the assisted living cost. It is important to check Medicaid.gov to find out if your senior loved one will qualify for Medicaid or not. Many people do not qualify for Medicaid based on their income and assets. Oftentimes, a senior may move to an assisted living paying out of pocket initially until they deplete their assets completely. Once they do not have cash or any assets, they reapply for Medicaid. The tricky part with this is that not all facilities take Medicaid so you will have to contact the facilities directly to find out whether or not they accept Medicaid.
Option 6: Veterans Benefits
If a senior is a war veteran, the senior may qualify for the VA Aid and Attendance Program. This is a special pension plan for war veterans and spouses of war veterans. The Aid and Attendance programs helps pay for assisted living and memory care. For a veteran to qualify for assisted living coverage according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, he or she must have served at least 90 days of active duty as well as at least one day during wartime. A senior’s medical ailments do not need to be military related to qualify for the program. The amount paid out can vary depending on income and assets, but can amount to as much as $2,295 a month for married couples. Contact your local VA Office or call the VA Benefits and Services at 800-827-1000 for more information.
If you need help with Assisted Living options, call us at 877-523-6523 to speak to one of our Expert Senior Care Advisors. We can provide you with Free and personalized Assisted Living options based on your elderly loved one’s care needs, preferred location and your family’s budget.