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How much does Assisted Living cost?
The cost of assisted living varies widely based on a variety of factors. Some of this depends on where you live, and some of it depends on the specific facility you choose. The other major factor that determines your cost is the level of care that you need. A resident who needs help bathing every day will have to pay more than one who doesn’t require any special care, for instance.
The nationwide average for assisted living is $4,000/month, but the cost varies widely from state to state. Most states average between $3,000 and $4,000 per month, and few have average costs higher than $4,000. In the District of Columbia the average cost is $9,266 per month, which makes it the most expensive place in the United States for assisted living at the time of this writing. Missouri and Vermont are tied for the most affordable average cost of assisted living, at $2,844 per month.
Remember, though, that these are averages. Every state will have facilities that are much cheaper than the average cost, and much more expensive. Still, the vast majority of states have averages between $3,000 and $5,000 per month, and most facilities you look at will likely be in that range.
Is there any way to save money on Assisted Living?
Unfortunately, there are not a lot of options when it comes to lowering the cost of assisted living.
The most obvious way to save money on assisted living is to use the cheapest facility you can find. While this may be necessary in some cases, you should proceed with caution. There’s a reason why that facility is cheap, and you’ll want to do your due diligence to find out why. They’re saving costs somewhere, whether it’s the building maintenance, the quality of the food, or the staff. You really want to find out how they’re keeping the costs low and how that will impact the quality of life for the residents there.
You can also find ways to split the cost of an assisted living facility, like sharing a two-bedroom apartment.Or you can rent a smaller space, since many assisted living facilities offer multiple floor plans, and the smaller ones typically cost less per month.
Splitting a two-bedroom apartment with another resident can save you as much as 20% of the monthly cost.
Why is Assisted Living so expensive?
You’re paying for an apartment, townhome or condo-sized space in most of these facilities. So, a big chunk of that monthly cost is simply rent.
This means that much of the cost is determined by the size of the space, and the quality of the building and living facilities. A nicer apartment is going to cost more money, a smaller apartment with fewer amenities or in a worse location will be cheaper.
On top of the rent, you’re paying for all of the amenities that come with an assisted living facility. That means all the meals that are provided, which includes the price of the food, as well as paying the cooks and the dishwashers.You’re paying for the housekeeping, the building maintenance, the medication management, the transportation services, and more. Utilities are often included, as well.
When you factor in all the goods and services covered by that $4,000 per month, it’s really quite reasonable. The monthly cost of assisted living may end up be very close to what their monthly expenses already are, and it’s not unheard of for people to actually save money by moving into assisted living (although that is, admittedly, rare.).
Main factors in the cost of assisted living
One of the most important factors in the cost of assisted living is the level of care.
The facility will assess the level of care that’s needed, and base their monthly price accordingly. If the resident needs help showering or bathing, then they will also assess how often that person needs assistance. For instance, some residents may need help bathing every day, while others may only need help washing their hair once or twice a week. Likewise, some residents may need help with getting dressed each day, grooming, or mobility. Some residents may need help eating and others may need help with their incontinence.
The less specialized care a resident needs, the lower their monthly cost will be.Even the number of medications they need can be factored in, because if they need less help managing their medications then that’s less time the staff has to spend on them..
In addition to the level of care, there are other factors which can affect the cost of assisted living. The floor plan you choose is what you’re paying rent on, as we’ve already mentioned. The staff-to-resident ratio is also important- a higher ratio means higher costs, although it also typically means a higher quality of care. Each resident is effectively pay for more staff, so the monthly cost goes up.
Finally, location and timing make a difference. Suburban and rural facilities are generally much cheaper than urban ones, because their overhead costs are lower. You may also be able to negotiate a better price if you’re moving in at the end of the month, the quarter, or the year.
How to get into Assisted Living with no money
While the cost of assisted living may be surprisingly reasonable when you factor in everything that it covers, it’s still a lot of money. Enough that it’s often a barrier that prevents people from doing it. While there really aren’t many ways to save money on assisted living, they are several ways you may able to come up with the money you need.
First, though, we should point at that there just aren’t that many financial aid programs that help with assisted living. Most non-profits can only help if you need memory care or a nursing home, and neither medicare or medicaid will pay for assisted living.
Unfortunately, when you just need assisted living, you’re largely on your own. You might find, though, that you’ve got much more in the way of financial resources than you think.
First, remember that if you’re moving someone into assisted living, they don’t need their house anymore. Many seniors have already paid off their mortgage, so selling the home will provide you with plenty of funds to pay for assisted living. This is often enough to pay for several years in an assisted living facility.
If you’d prefer not to sell the house, you can apply for a reverse mortgage.With these loans, the lender pays you a monthly payment based on the value of your home. However, it’s worth noting that these monthly payments are typically not enough to cover the monthly cost of assisted living and, it also means that that’s money you won’t get back when you eventually sell the home. So, selling the house is the better option.
You can also take out a loan against your life insurance policy, and depending on the policy, these can provide plenty of funds to help pay for assisted living.
It’s also possible that your health insurance includes long-term care provisions, which can pay for assisted living. You should be warned, though, that they’re unlikely to agree to pay for assisted living without making you jump through a lot of hoops first. They don’t want to pay for assisted living any more than you do, and they aren’t going to make it easy on you.
If the person seeking assisted living is a veteran, than the VA will pay for your assisted living provided you meet certain requirements. This assistance is only provided to veterans who served for at least 90 days during a period of conflict, and you’ll need to demonstrate your inability to pay for assisted living on your own.
It may also be worth considering moving into assisted living with a roommate. This can save you as much as 20% on the monthly costs, and it may also turn out to be enjoyable having a roommate to talk to.
Don’t let the cost of assisted living scare you. You almost certainly have the means to come up with the money for it.