Updated: August 4, 2015 by Catharine D. Allado
The cost of Assisted Living can be very expensive. The average Assisted Living fee in the U.S is about $3,348 per month (source: Genworth Financial 2013). However, it can be lower or higher depending on the location and the care needs of the senior. Typically, assisted living facilities are private pay. In some states, there might be some government programs that can help pay for the cost of assisted living. Check with your local Office on Aging or Social Services for any programs that you may qualify for.
If you do not qualify for any government programs or have any long term care insurance available that can help pay for the cost of assisted living, here are some tips that can help keep your costs low:
- Be Flexible With Location
- Decide on The Size of Assisted Living
- Look For Senior Housing Discounts and Move-In Specials
- Calculate the Fees
- Check Assisted Living Ratings and Reviews
- Other Sources of Financial Help
- Contact A Senior Care Advisor
Here Are Ways To Help You Find Affordable Assisted Living
Are you flexible with the location? Why not check care facilities in more affordable neighborhoods? Generally, the cost of assisted living is more expensive in bigger cities because of the land value. Try to explore assisted living options a few miles away from the city.
For the most part, assisted living communities are affordable for those residents with lower care needs. Factors that will increase the cost of living are more assistance and care from a caregiver, demand for amenities and wide-range of services and activities the community offers.
Option A: If you only require care from time to time, consider having a caregiving agency come in to help you during certain times of the day.
Option B: If your care needs are more frequent and you are on a tight budget, consider getting options for a small residential care home. These small assisted living facilities have home-like settings with about 6 senior residents. Typically for higher care needs, the smaller assisted living facilities do not have levels of care. For example, residents with Dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis are not separated in a separate wing or unit. Costs associated with higher levels of care can be lower at these small assisted living facilities.
Option C: If you are set on an assisted living community or residential care home but not sure if your funds will last, you may want to consider a shared room versus a private room. The savings will be noticeably lower and in some facilities, they will have Jack and Jill bathrooms where the bedrooms are separated, but the bathrooms will be shared.
With the current economic condition, some assisted living facilities or communities are willing to give discounts and move-in incentives. Anything is negotiable for the most part and these assisted living communities are willing to negotiate the cost to motivate and encourage seniors and their families to move in. The specials can range from a lower monthly rent for a year to a discounted or waived community move-in fee. This will really depend on the community, the amount of vacancies that are available and sometimes, the time of the year. Read the Guide to Finding Senior Housing Discounts and Assisted Living Move-In Specials.
Once you have made a decision on which assisted living to choose, be sure to calculate the monthly fees carefully. It will help if you ask for a breakdown of fees to ensure that you clearly understand how much you have to pay every month. Take note that some assisted living facilities charge additional fees for extra services. So be sure to clarify fees before signing the contract. You will also want to check if there is an annual rate increase, which is common in some assisted living communities.
When looking for an affordable assisted living, you still want to make sure that the quality of care is good, right? You don’t want to judge a care facility based on how it looks. Not because it’s an old building, you can assume that the quality of care is not good. Or just because it’s a new facility, it doesn’t mean care and service are great. You have to do your research. Check ratings and reviews to see whether the senior residents and their families in the assisted living are happy and satisfied. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau or contact the Long-Term Care Ombudsman for any complains or bad reviews. Checking for red flags before the move is important to eliminate the need of having to move your loved one again.
If you’ve done all the suggestions mentioned above and still have a hard time paying for rent and care, consider the following:
Option A: Ensure to talk to family members that may have additional resources to help out
Option B: Are you or your Spouse a Veteran and served in the war? If so, you could be entitled to Veteran’s Aid benefits that will make the cost of assisted living affordable.
Option C: Do you have any Life Insurance that has value? Depending on your provider and your policy, some Life Insurance policies are convertible and can pay for care. Consult with your insurance provider for more details.
Trying to call each and every assisted living facility in your area to find out pricing and services is tough and very time consuming. To help you save time, Care Advisors are available to help provide you with care options and listings based on care needs, budget range and location. You should speak with an advisor that can undestand your situation and timeframe, be sensitive to you and your loved one’s needs, and provide with with the exact care options you are looking for.
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