Many seniors today are on fixed incomes and for those whose health is failing, the rising costs of assisted living seem impossible to keep up with. The first question most people ask when they begin their search for assisted living is how much does it cost and what type of financial assistance is available. With prices ranging from $2,000 to nearly $4,000 nationwide, it becomes clear that only those with specialized retirement or long-term care insurance are truly able to pay the full rate for these facilities. While assisted living communities are generally private pay facilities and Medicare and private insurance do not cover the costs, there are a few ways to reduce out-of-pocket expenses, and even some financial assistance programs that can help as well. As you begin your search, here are some things to ask about financial aid and savings.
Ask if the facility offers shared apartments
Shared apartments tend to offer potential residents a more affordable option when entering assisted living. Believe it or not, roommates are no longer just for students. Having a roommate can not only significantly reduce room and board costs, but also provide additional companionship in the form of an “instant friend” for your loved one. Roommates provide a support system for each other.
Involve the family
While assisted living communities are a form of health care, they are also businesses and must charge for the services they provide. Whether the care your loved one receives consists of medication management, assistance with bathing and grooming, or transportation to medical appointments, these services are usually billed. You can save money by asking family members to contribute to the resident’s care. This requires a commitment from the family to ensure that they are consistent with their involvement.
This is ideal when the situation consists of a married couple with a lot of equity in their home, and one partner becomes ill and needs more care than can be provided at home. When only one spouse needs care and the other is not quite ready to join them in an assisted living environment, the question is how can they afford to maintain the current household and also make the payments for their loved one in assisted living. Reverse mortgages can allow the healthy spouse to stay in the home and accept money in the form of a reverse loan to pay for the assisted care their loved one needs. Once the home is sold, the proceeds are used to pay off the reverse mortgage. Assisted living communities are something no one ever thinks about until they have to, and it’s usually for a loved one. Take the time to store around. While you should stick to what you can afford and consider the costs, it’s imperative to compare services, staff friendliness, and activities between communities to ensure you get the most out of them.