Finding assisted living for a loved one is a difficult process. Not only do you have to find somewhere that your loved one is comfortable and well cared for, you have to find somewhere that is affordable too. Due to the fact those three factors do not always go together, it is a good idea to figure out how to afford the cost of the facility that best suits the needs of your loved one.
1. Use your Negotiation Skills
The prices put forth by an assisted living facility are not set in stone, believe it or not. Many facilities allow you to negotiate the costs or may even offer specials during certain times. Do not be afraid to ask about any offers, such as move-in offers, or any options that they can provide for you to make it more affordable. For example, some facilities have what is called “Level of Care Services”, which means a person with fewer needs will need a lower level of care, while a person that is completely dependent on others would need a higher level, which translates into higher costs.
2. Consider Sharing a Room
Initially, it might seem more acceptable to have a private room for care, but if you share a room not only is it financially beneficial, but it can also be socially rewarding. Sharing a room typically means that the cost of the facility goes down because you are sharing the cost with a roommate, rather than covering the entire cost of one unit on your own. Before you consider sharing a room, however, make sure your loved one is comfortable with the idea and with the roommate he/she will have because comfort should be as high of a priority as affordability.
3. Take a La Carte Programs
Not all assisted living facilities require you to pay the all-inclusive price to live there. For example, laundry, transportation, personal care, and recreational activities may be bundled into the all-inclusive price. If you have a loved one that is not comfortable going on recreational activities or you know you will be around to handle his/her transportation and laundry needs, you can eliminate those services from the package, essentially paying less for the assisted living facility.
4. Look at Insurance Policies
If your loved one took out insurance policies many years ago, chances are there is a provision in them that allows for living benefits, sometimes known as accelerated benefits. This allows your loved one to cash in on their life insurance now, for a smaller amount of the face value of the product. Typically, insurance companies will buy the policy out for 75 percent of its value, giving your loved one the money they need now to pay for assisted living.
5. Look Out of State
If your state has particularly high assisted living rates, consider moving your loved one to another state. This might not be a plausible option for everyone, but if you have family in other states where the costs are more affordable, it might be something to consider. For example, if you compare the average monthly assisted living costs in New Jersey of $5,994 to the average cost in Georgia, of $2,703, you can see the savings that can be had by looking around. If you don’t have family elsewhere, you might be able to save just by crossing the border to the next state over. As long as you are not too far away, this would not be all that inconvenient for you.
6. Exhaust All Resources
There are a variety of resources that may provide you with aid in paying for assisted living. Think of all avenues your loved one may be eligible for including veterans benefits, social security, long-term care insurance policies, and state Medicaid. The assistance your loved one is eligible to receive is not going to be automatic – you have to apply for the various assistance programs, so make sure you do your research and consider all options so that you can make assisted living more affordable.
7. Don’t Rule out Loans
There are certain loans out there that can make assisted living more affordable. For example, if your loved one still has a spouse living at home, a reverse mortgage could be a solid option as it gives you the cash you need to get assisted living paid, while still giving the other party a place to live. If a reverse mortgage is not an option, there are other choices, such as a home equity loan that either your loved one or even yourself can take out to help pay for the assisted living services.
Looking for assisted living can be mentally and physically exhausting, so it pays to plan ahead. Long before your loved one needs any type of assisted living, you should start planning. Consider the budget your loved one and yourself have and how it will work for future plans to provide your loved one with the care he needs.