Understanding the Cost of Assisted Living
Understanding the Cost of Assisted LivingI
t’s not always easy moving your loved one into an assisted living community. It’s an emotional decision that comes with financial concerns and questions. How much does assisted living cost? Are there extra fees? Can my mom afford it? Does my dad have benefits that can offset the costs?
There are many variables that affect the cost of assisted living. Location is one factor. Other factors include the level and duration of care, and the types of services. Many assisted living providers charge separately for services such as bathing and dressing, housekeeping, laundry, and pet care. These extra fees for care or services can add up. At other communities, many services are included in your base rental cost.
Comparing the Costs of Assisted Living vs. Living at Home
Keeping a loved one at home and serving as their primary caregiver may seem like a cost-effective way of meeting their needs. Over time, as the loved one’s needs increase, many caregivers find this option actually creates more personal stress and financial burden than other options.
Caring for a loved one requires a large time commitment. Initially, most caregivers spend an average of 21 hours a week taking care of a loved one, according to a recent study. Some caregivers spend more than 30 hours a week taking care of their loved one. If you are employed outside the home, consider as well the amount of work you are likely to miss due to your caregiving responsibilities (doctors’ appointments, personal obligation for their social life, being late to work taking care of them or missing work altogether if they are ill). More than 65 percent of surveyed caregivers missed some work, and more than half had lost income due to the demands of providing care.
Before you choose to serve as a primary caregiver, consider the personal and financial strain it may cause. In addition, there is increased burden on other family members too. They may share in some caregiving, but typically, one person is responsible for providing the lion’s share of the care for a loved one.
How to Pay for Assisted Living
If you’re considering assisted living, there may be ways to help pay for some of the costs.
- Selling the senior’s Home: While this option may not initially seem appealing, selling the home is typically the best source of revenue to help move your loved one into assisted living. The income gained from selling the home can greatly ease the stress and financial burden of paying for senior care.
- Long Term Care Insurance: These policies typically cover assisted living costs. If your loved one has a long term care insurance policy, check with the insurance carrier to fully understand what costs are covered.
- VA Benefits: Many veterans and their spouses are eligible for up to $2,000 of tax-free aid per month toward care services, thanks to the Aid and Attendance Pension benefit. Even veterans who were not injured in their service qualify for the benefit — they only need to have served 90 days active duty, at least one of which was during wartime. This benefit is available to surviving spouses as well. To find out if your loved one qualifies for this assistance, contact your local Veterans Service office.
It’s often a balancing act between the time and money you can afford to spend in order to provide quality care. Lastly, are you able to be there for them all the time? Assisted living communities provide continual interaction and observation, and availability to care around the clock. Are you and/or your family able and willing to do these things?
Please give us a call at (208) 882-3438 and we will gladly help you consider the options that may be available to you and your loved one.