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Can I Afford Assisted Living? Understanding the Real Cost of Care

How can I pay for assisted living? It’s a question on the minds of many people with aging parents. Trustworthy, compassionate care is valuable – but assisted living might not be as costly as you think. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most commonly asked questions about the cost of assisted living.

 

What is ‘private pay’?

Private pay means paying for residential care with your own assets and savings. This is the way most people pay for assisted living.

 

Do Medicare or Medicaid cover assisted living?

Medicare does not pay for assisted living. Some Medicaid programs provide waivers that cover some of the cost of residential care programs, but the details vary from state to state and from residence to residence. In many cases, senior living communities accept these Medicaid waivers only after you’ve paid for two years of care from your own assets.

 

Are there other policies or programs that help with the costs?

The Veterans Administration’s Aid & Attendance Benefit helps cover assisted living care for veterans and their spouses, including surviving spouses.

 

Long-term care insurance (which was commonly called “nursing home insurance” in the past) also helps cover the costs of assisted living. Many times, older adults bought long-term care insurance decades ago and never mentioned it to their children. It’s worth asking your loved ones about what policies might be filed away in a desk drawer.

 

Do I have to “buy in”?

Some assisted living communities require residents to purchase their apartments up front, with buy-in costs in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Others, like Heritage Communities, use a rental model: a small deposit up front, then monthly fees as long as you live in the community.

 

Can I afford it?

At a glance, the monthly rental rate for assisted living can seem daunting. Often, though, people don’t have a good sense of their true current living costs. When you pay an electrical bill here, a grocery bill there, you only see your monthly expenses in bite-sized chunks. And it’s easy to forget the little things, like paying a neighbor to shovel snow or the price of gas used to shuttle your parent to frequent appointments.

 

When you add it all up, the all-inclusive cost of assisted living usually doesn’t seem so high. That’s especially true when you factor in the value of the benefits you might not have at home, such as skilled caregivers, housekeeping services, transportation to appointments, nutritious meals – and the peace of mind that comes with knowing your loved one has access to round-the-clock care.

 

To learn more about the options available at Heritage Assisted Living, find a community near you and give us a call. We’ll help you understand your options, so you can help your loved one start living better.