Considering senior living as the best option for you or a loved one?
If you’re just beginning, the search can often feel daunting. And knowing where to look for possible financial resources can seem like a mystery.
It’s often helpful to approach this as a step-by-step process. Answering the following questions can help get you off to the right start:
- What lifestyle, amenities and services are you looking for?
- Is help needed for physical or cognitive issues? If yes, at what level?
- Which of the 4 basic types of senior living listed below would provide the best fit?
- What is the cost of senior living?
- What options may be available to pay for senior living?
Basic categories of senior living
Following are 4 types of communities available:
- Independent Living: Private residences for older adults to continue living independently and enjoy the activities, amenities and services offered.
- Assisted Living: Private residences and assistance with the activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing. Amenities and other social activities included.
- Long-Term or Skilled Nursing Care: Full-time care by a trained staff for those requiring medical care for rehabilitation or for long-term chronic conditions.
- Memory Care: Specialized care for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, included as part of assisted living, long-term care or in a stand-alone community.
The cost of senior living
Prices vary among communities, services offered and locations. Talk to an associate at a specific community to confirm costs. Be sure to clarify what services are included or can be contracted for an additional fee.
How to pay for senior living
Each type of senior living may have varying costs and different payment sources available.
When you visit a community, they’ll provide you with more detailed information about financial options. We also invite you to download our free guide The Dollars and Sense Guide to Senior Living.
The following list offers an overview of a few of the financial resources that may be available, as well as options you might not have yet considered.
- Private money
Personal funds are typically used to pay for independent living, the majority of assisted living and a smaller amount of long-term care. Some states do accept Medicaid for certain assisted living costs.
Personal resources could include:
- Checking and savings accounts
- Salaries, if you’re still working
- Social Security payments
- Dividends distributed
- Investment accounts
- Retirement or pension plans
- Long-Term Care Insurance
Depending on the policy, long-term insurance may cover the cost of home care, adult day care, assisted living, memory care and long-term care. These policies are sold by private insurance companies and other businesses or as additional insurance offered by employers.
The cost of a policy is based on the age of the person at the time of purchase, amount of insurance, time period covered, deductible and any special options.
- Veterans Benefits
Veterans or their surviving spouses may be eligible to receive monthly benefits to help cover the costs of senior living if they meet certain income and personal care qualifications. Known as Aid and Attendance, this federal benefit is offered through The Department of Veteran Affairs. It can help pay for care in the home, assisted living or a long-term care community.
- Life insurance conversions
Your life insurance policy may be transferred to a financial account that provides monthly benefits to help pay for home care, assisted living, long-term care and hospice. These funds won’t count as an asset in the Medicaid spend down process, described below.
- Your home
Seniors may have equity built up in their home, which can provide a source of funds. If you’re moving into a senior living community, selling your home may provide the money you need.
Other financial options that your home may offer include:
- Access to cash through a home equity loan
- A line of credit based on your home’s equity
- Reverse mortgage which also considers a home’s equity. This funding is only available if one of the owners remains living in the home.
- Renting out your home. If your home is paid for, the rent received could be applied toward senior living expenses.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program and will only pay for long-term care if you require rehabilitative care at home or in a nursing home, for a limited period of time and if you meet certain restrictions. It doesn’t pay for general personal care, assistance with the activities of daily living, or room and board.
Medicaid will pay for long-term nursing facility care but in order to be eligible, you need to qualify for having limited financial resources. If you do have assets, however, you would need to spend them down in order to qualify. As a joint federal and state program, states may offer some assistance with assisted living costs.
Considerations when calculating the cost of senior living
People often assume it’s less expensive to remain at home instead of moving to a community. But that may not be true.
Look at the big picture when considering the costs of home vs senior living. If your home would need expensive renovations to make it accessible or if you would need to contract for services to come into your home, the costs may be more comparable than you might have thought.
But don’t forget to account for the non-financial benefits and advantages. If the safety and quality of life for you or your loved one can be achieved more successfully in a senior living community, you’ll want to consider the tradeoff of any monetary savings.
Life at Tapestry Senior Living communities
Senior living can provide opportunities for social interaction, convenience of a maintenance-free lifestyle and easy access to amenities and activities. If you need assistance or care, you may find your quality of life will actually increase.
At Tapestry Senior Living communities, we provide our residents with the services, amenities, activities and person-centered approach needed to truly live their best lives. We hope to play an important role in helping you fully embrace and engage your desired lifestyle.
If you or your family is considering senior living and wondering about the costs, we invite you to download our free guide The Dollars and Sense Guide to Senior Living.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a personal tour, please contact one of our advisors.