Ballpark Estimate: $2,000 to $4,000 per month
There may come a time in your life when the demands of your day are more than you can handle on your own, yet you still want to maintain some personal space. That’s when an assisted living situation may be a good fit.
What Is Assisted Living
While nursing homes provide round-the-clock nursing and care for residents, and retirement homes require people to be independent, assisted living facilities fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. They offer residents the independence of living on their own, yet also provide the support they need to help manage their daily responsibilities.
If you’re interested in the concept of assisted living, it may help you to know that the benefits are multi-fold. First, it can make your life much easier and less stressful and can also be safer than living on your own if you’re finding yourself getting more forgetful when it comes to eating or turning off oven. In addition, it can be a great way to prevent isolation since your apartment will be within a larger community of other people of similar age and circumstances.
A Range of Services
Most assisted living facilities provide a wide range of services designed to keep residents well fed and active. For instance, some of the types of things you can expect to find in a assisted living facility include access to nutritious meals (many offer at least a few organized meals each day, either served in a main dining room or in your own space), laundry services, cleaning, assistance with hygiene practices, organized social activities and on-site exercise classes. Some assisted living facilities offer transportation to doctor’s appointments, shopping, and group outings. In addition, should you suffer any serious medical problem or injury, access to emergency care is immediately available.
Are You Ready?
If you’re wondering whether an assisted living facility is an appropriate option for your specific circumstances, there are some general questions that can help you determine the answer.
- Do you need help completing your daily self-care activities?
- Do you find cooking, cleaning and other responsibilities in keeping up your home are leaving you overwhelmed?
- Do you want to maintain some personal space but have access to services to help you through the demands of the day?
- Do you feel isolated in your current situation and believe you’d benefit from more interaction and planned activities?
- Do you find yourself relying increasingly on family and friends for support and transportation in order to navigate daily living
- Do you have some medical issues that aren’t life threatening?
If you answered yes to some, or all, of these questions, then the concept of an assisted living facility is certainly worth considering.
A Range of Options
Assisted living facilities have been in existence since the 1970s. The units can vary from small studio apartments to more spacious one or two bedroom set-ups with mini kitchens. Some people prefer to live alone in their private space, while others select a roommate, either to keep the costs down and/or to have companionship.
Some assisted living facilities are small, homey structures with just a dozen or two residents, while others are large complexes with 100 or more apartments within. Note that there are no standard federal requirements at this time for these facilities and state requirements vary a great deal.
How to Find
You’ll want to find the situation that best meets your needs and your preferences. You’ll also want to make sure you feel comfortable with the staff and the other residents.
Keep in mind that some assisted living facilities also have nursing home capabilities on site so that as your needs increase, (if you’re no longer able to live in this semi-independent setting) you’ll be able to easily transition to a greater level of care and medical attention.
Other things to consider are whether the place meets all of the proper local and state licensing requirements and certifications, and that there are no complaints filed against the facility with the Better Business Bureau.
To explore assisted living facilities in your area, you can do a search online or ask for recommendations through the various resources for aging in your community or your state. You can also visit the Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging.
A Personal Plan
When you decide on an assisted living option, the management of the facility should design a personalized plan based on your specific needs and requirements. The monthly expense to live there will take into account the level of care and services you will need. Keep in mind that this plan will need to be reassessed periodically in case your health status or care needs change. The price will be adjusted accordingly.
The monthly cost to live in an assisted living facility usually includes a range of conveniences, such as:
- Room and board
- Two to three meals a day
- Medication management
- Laundry services
- Access to health services
Some assisted living facilities may charge an additional fee for meal delivery, extra help with personal care above and beyond the standard requirements, and even a personal assistant.
You should also ask up front how often the assisted living facility raises the rates and how large an increase to expect. It is important to know what you are agreeing to when you move into the facility, since this may be a long term arrangement.
What It Costs
The expense to stay in an assisted living facility spans a wide range, depending on the part of the country in which you live, the size of the residence you’re exploring, and the level of services you need. At the lower end of the scale, you can expect it will cost about $60 a day, or $1,800 a month. On the higher end, it can cost as much as $200 a day or $6,000 a month to live in an assisted living facility. The higher end of the range often includes a higher level of specialized care. Most people end up spending somewhere in the middle range.
You can expect a price of between $1,800 and $6,000 a month to stay at an assisted living facility, depending on what you select and the level of services you need.
Most people who live in assisted living facilities pay for the expense either out of their own savings, with the help of a family member, or through a long-term care insurance policy.
Medicare doesn’t usually cover this cost of an assisted living facility, but if you qualify for Medicaid or supplemental Social Security this may cover some of the services you receive while in an assisted living care center.
Other ways to help cover the cost include reverse mortgages or life insurance settlements. In addition, if you’re a veteran, you may be able to access free care at specified locations.
Contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for more information.