As our parents and loved ones grow older, we sometimes find they need additional care.
There are over 28,900 residential care communities throughout the country. These assisted living communities are now home to over 811,500 elderly residents who need assisted care.
Paying for assisted living can seem daunting. However, there are a few steps you can take to build a budget and cover the cost.
Here are 10 tips to help you learn how to pay for assisted living.
With these tips, you can ensure your loved one finds the care they need. Meanwhile, you can stick to your budget.
Moving a family member into assisted living is sometimes emotional and overwhelming. By planning for your budget, you’ll have one less concern on your plate.
Simplify the process with these tips!
1. Plan Ahead
The first step when learning how to pay for assisted living is to plan ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute. Rather, give you and your loved one the time to explore options.
Start by making a list of potential assisted living communities. If your loved one already has a preference, sign up for the waiting list as soon as possible.
Waiting until the last minute might leave you paying for a community that’s beyond your budget. You might not realize the community doesn’t meet your loved one’s needs until after they move in.
You should also start building your budget as soon as possible.
If you’re helping your loved one cover the costs, start saving! Create a small nest egg over time. Planning over months, or even years can make paying for assisted living a lot easier when the time comes.
2. Really Research
During the planning phase, it’s also important to complete thorough research. Otherwise, you might miss certain indicators that a would-be dream community isn’t the right fit.
Ask your loved one about their priorities. During this time, you can also create a list of questions to ask when you tour the community. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What is your current staff-to-resident ratio?
- How many staff members are on duty at night?
- What kind of training or experience do your team members have?
- Does your staff administer medication?
- Do you have a nurse on staff?
- How often is a nurse on duty?
- Does anyone on staff have experience with Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc.?
- What types of apartments are available?
- What is the monthly cost?
- Is there a waitlist, and if so, how many people are currently on it?
- What are your current residents like?
- Do you have outdoor spaces, such as a pool or sitting area?
- What additional services are available? Is there a monthly fee?
- What is your billing and payment policy?
- What is your discharge policy?
The more questions you ask, the better you can assess the location. Otherwise, your loved one might switch from community to community searching for the perfect fit, which can get costly.
During your research, make sure to visit each location multiple times. Have an attorney review the contract and check to make sure the location has the appropriate licensing.
3. Ask About Incentives
Some locations post their prices online. However, these prices often aren’t set in stone.
Instead of assuming these are the definite prices, call the location. Ask if they offer any move-in incentives. Are they willing to negotiate the monthly price?
4. Check Locations
The cost of assisted living differs from location to location. Before you make a choice, search outside of your zip code. You might discover how to pay for assisted living by searching outside your initial radius.
5. Compare with A La Carte Options
Some assisted living facilities offer an a la carte menu for their services. Make a list of the services your family member needs to calculate an estimate.
Then, compare this estimate to the all-inclusive pricing option.
Don’t forget to compare these different pricing options based on different locations as well.
6. Consider Insurance
If you can’t determine how to pay for assisted living out of pocket, research insurance options. For example, Medicare or Medicaid might help.
However, these services don’t often cover everything.
Check for long-term care insurance as well. A combination of these services can help you cover costs.
7. Share a Room
There are over 39.5 million people over the age of 65. By 2050, that number is expected to reach over 80 million. As facilities become overcrowded, more people have begun sharing rooms.
Shared spaces are often less expensive than apartments or single rooms.
Check to see if the location offers reductions for shared living spaces.
8. Check Veterans Benefits
Did your loved one or their spouse previously serve in the armed forces? If so, they might have benefits available through the Department of Veteran Affairs. Make sure to check for these benefits, which can help offset the initial assisted living cost.
9. Compare Care Types
You might also want to compare assisted living care to other options, such as independent living. A different care option might better fit your budget.
Make sure the care type you choose covers your loved one’s needs.
Otherwise, your loved one might decide to switch plans or facilities, which can get costly.
You can learn more about the assisted living levels of care here to make an informed decision.
10. Check Financial Assistance Options
There are other financial assistance options available beyond Medicaid and Veterans’ programs. These include:
- State non-Medicaid programs
- Social security
- Assisted living loans
Explore different financial assistance options.
More Bang for Your Buck: How to Pay for Assisted Living
Beat the cost of assisted living and give your loved one the care they need. With these tips, you can discover how to pay for assisted living without breaking the bank. Then, you can focus on your loved one (instead of stressing about covering the cost of their care).
Book a tour with us today to discover personalized care with your loved one’s unique needs in mind.