Assisted Living Facilities: How to Pay for Senior Care

Assisted living facilities offer a particular type of senior housing arrangements. The package usually includes a higher level of support than at home caring for the elderly, any other day programs or even independent living. Ordinarily, assisted living facilities require private payment and offer houses or apartments for rent to seniors who need help getting on with their daily routines. So, how much do assisted living facilities cost and how can you pay for them? Here are all the details you need to know.

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What Is Assisted Living?

As mentioned in the introduction, assisted living provides housing facilities for elderly people who are in need of care and attention. The staff in these facilities will help you perform your daily activities, such as eating, washing, getting dressed, and taking your pills.

Assisted living facilities are ordinarily organized in communities made up of apartments that have scaled-down kitchens. They also have a dining area and a common room, where you can socialize with people your own age, participate in fun activities, and play games. The staff is usually available non-stop, should you need it.

Are Assisted Living Facilities the Best Choice for You?

When thinking about retiring in a living facility, it may be difficult to choose between nursing homes, retirement places, assisted living facilities, and independent living. However, assisted living facilities are the best option for you, if you can fulfill several of the following criteria or requirements.

  • If you feel you cannot accomplish your daily routines by yourself anymore and that your family and friends’ help is no longer sufficient.
  • If you find it tiresome or even challenging to drive a car anymore, as well as to use public transportation.
  • If you’re feeling lonely or scared at home, by yourself
  • If you think that, in the case of an emergency, such as falling or injuring yourself, you won’t be able to face it without being assisted
  • If you need the so-called ‘supportive health care’, but not around-the-clock nurses taking care of you like they do in a nursing home.

How Much Does It Cost to Spend Your Time in Assisted Living Facilities?

Evidently, ‘how much will it cost?’ is the first question that pops into everyone’s mind when they’re thinking about making the big move. To be able to understand the costs altogether, the first step you need to take is to think about how much it costs to live at home.

When you live in your own house, you have to pay a lot of small, separate payments, such as the electricity, heating, cable, internet bills. You must also pay for gas for your car, food, and hygiene products. When moving into the assisted living facilities we mentioned, all these things will be bundled together in one, grand total. They will also add travel expenses, entertainment, and health care, a few things you are not used to paying for at home, but which you must now take into consideration.

The next thing you need to grasp is the fact that, with assisted living facilities, you won’t be paying for the apartment per se. Instead, you are much rather paying for the services you are receiving while you are there. There is a basic monthly service rate which includes the following.

  • Fine dining, usually at restaurant quality, based on a menu you have previously selected. It’s served by friendly people, and the atmosphere is pleasant, seeing as you won’t be dining alone unless you choose to.
  • Housekeeping – the staff will clean your rooms, change your linens, and wash all your clothes for you.
  • Travelling and fundamental transportation – you will be chauffeured around according to your will, to do some shopping or honor your medical appointments. The staff can also drive you if you want to entertain yourself, like going to the movies or the theater.
  • Programs for health and wellness. Most assisted living facilities organize classes which their residents can take, to make sure they stay fit and healthy.
  • Common areas, where you can spend leisurely time and be with your friends, one of the main benefits of living in these facilities.
  • Staff that is available non-stop, and that can respond to any medical emergency that might occur.

As far as the actual rates go, they will depend on the package you select. What we’ve presented above is the basic package, but you can have things erased from it, as well as add services to that list. Evidently, the more services you add, the more you will have to pay.

The costs also depend on the apartment itself. The staff will calculate how much you have to pay every month or every year, based on the apartment’s square footage, on its location, the number of rooms, if it has a view or not, and on how available its unit is at that moment.

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As far as assisted living facilities go, apartment prices range from $2 600 to $3 800, for the basic service package, as presented on the website, belonging to the Brookdale Senior Living Solutions in Houston, Texas. You also need to pay an average of $800 every month for your health care. For this approximate sum, the staff will help you perform your daily activities and manage your medication intake. As pointed out above, there is no fixed fee. The only way to find out is if you actually contact an assisted living center, discuss your needs and wishes, and have them calculate a rate for you.

Assisted living facilities also offer housing to seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The price range is higher in this case. An approximation shows us that you must pay between $3 350 and $4 975 per month for the basic service package. Care fees are higher as well, going as far as $1250 per month. These too can only be assessed after a clinical discussion with the patient or his relatives.

There are two more fees of which you need to be aware of prior to moving.

  • Although there is no required security deposit or a basic service rate paid in advance for the first month, one must pay a one-time community fee, to make sure the rooms are ready when you decide to move in. This particular fee ordinarily starts at $500, but you must know that every community and service provider are different. It’s best if you ask them all you want to know about this fee.
  • The second extra charge involves couples. If a couple decides to move to one of the assisted living facilities of their choosing, they must pay a second-person fee which will cover all the expenses needed for food and lodging. If there are health care expenditures required as well, they will have to be paid separately, taking into account that person’s health assessment.

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How Can You pay for Senior Care in Assisted Living Facilities?

Seeing as the costs for assisted living facilities are so high, people tend to turn towards their medical insurance. However, it’s important to note here that Medicaid will not cover this type of service, so you need to find some other way to finance your golden years. Here are the most common ways people utilize to pay for it.

#1. Long term care insurance

If you happen to have this type of insurance, you’re in luck, because it will cover all the costs related to assisted living facilities. There are also some policies that were specifically designed for assisted living and health care, called ‘facility-only’ policies.

One thing you must be aware of at this point is that it’s very common for insurance companies to refuse to fund your retirement years. That doesn’t mean you can’t still qualify, though. You just need to call the firm, preferably with an advocate from the living facility of your choosing and discuss the matter at hand. To be able to qualify, you will have to prove to the insurance company that you need help in at least two of the following: bathing, dressing, eating, moving from a place to another, moving from your bed to a chair, going to the toilet, and walking.

The amount of money you can receive depends on the policy you agree on. It can vary between $1500 and $9 000 each month.

#2. Life insurance

Even though most people commonly think of life insurances as the type of policy that, by definition, pays off after a person’s death, there are some which provide you with money ‘now’ if this is the moment when you need it most. You can cash the policy or the living benefits in an accelerated fashion and use them to pay the assisted living facilities. However, you need to discuss with your agent if this is even possible.

If that is the case, and it really isn’t possible, you have an alternative. You can sell the policy to a third party which will give you in return a ‘senior settlement.’ It will not be the entire amount, but 50% or 75% of it. After they buy the policy from you, the third party will pay the premiums until you pass away and then it will cash the benefits of your insurance.

You may also try the special policies they have open for veterans. The Veteran’s Administration is usually very generous when it comes to assisting and creating a business plan for people who used to serve the country.

#3. Sell or rent out your house

Taking into consideration the fact that you are moving away, possibly for good, you can always put your current house up for sale or rent it out. You can then use the monthly payments to finance your retirement.

#4. Reverse mortgage

This kind of action works when you have your own house, and only one of the spouses needs to go into retirement. You are able to borrow money from a bank or any other financial institution that deals with such loans based on the equity that has been built up in the house over the years. After the spouse who is still living in the house passes away, the bank will sell the house and get all its money back. It’s a good way to both finance all the costs of the assisted living facilities without you worrying and for your spouse to still have a place to live but it’s not such a good idea in case you want to keep the house in the family.

One crucial thing you need to remember is that research is of the utmost importance when it comes to retirement and housing in assisted living facilities. You need all the information you can get so that you can make an informed and correct decision. If need be, ask for help from more hen your relatives. Bankers and financial advisers can very well become your best friends until you move.

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