If your aging loved one is no longer able to live at home without help, you might be considering long-term care options and wondering if assisted living costs are affordable. Although getting older is getting more expensive, there are a number of factors that influence assisted living costs.
When assessing affordability of assisted living, you should consider three things:
- assets, and
- other funding sources.
When seniors live at home, you make separate payments for food, utilities, home maintenance, entertainment and health care. When moving to an assisted living community, many living expenses are included in monthly fees. Many communities' rental fees include utilities, housekeeping, maintenance, meals and recreational activities.
Be cautious about comparing assisted living too closely with home care. It may come as a surprise, but in many situations, total assisted living costs can actually be less than in-home care and nursing costs.
The True Cost of Home Health
According to the 2016 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, just hiring a home health aide costs an average of $3,861 per month. In addition to a home health aide who assists your parent with light housekeeping, or daily activities like dressing, many seniors require nursing care and monitoring. Depending on your parent's needs, these costs can add up very quickly.
While it might be tempting to try and compare living at home to assisted living, there are other variables to consider as well. It can be difficult to calculate an exact cost comparison. With a built in regiment of in-community activities, as well as outings for little to no expense to the residents and some communities offering transportation to outings, additional cost savings might not have been included in your initial assessment. Plus, making new friends and living a life that focuses less on limitations, and more on capabilities is difficult to put a price tag on.
Sometimes answering the question of affordability is more so linked to knowing what programs or funding sources are available to your loved one. Whether your loved one is a veteran, the spouse of a veteran, has a life insurance policy they would like to liquidate, or has a long-term care insurance policy, paying for assisted living doesn't necessarily mean you have to spend down assets immediately.
Learn more about assisted living costs and affordability in our ebook, How to Pa.y for Assisted Living Costs.