Ways for Seniors to Pay for Assisted Living

Written by Ross Quade

The estimated costs for a senior citizen or retired person to meet their standard of living requirements is about $40,000 to $44,000 a year by some estimates. Many people between the ages of 65 and 75 have to become semi-retired and return to the workforce. The salary for semi-retired or working seniors is barely $19,000 a year. The average social security benefits for a year amounts to about $16,000. Only about 30% of American workers receive a pension.

The standard of living doesn’t decrease just because someone gets older. Also, the reality of life is that as we age, our bodies begin to fail us ever so slowly. A senior citizen who lives on their own, or who owns a home, will find that physically maintaining such properties becomes ever so much more difficult as they age. Additionally, it can cost over $280,000 for a retired person to pay for all of their medical needs throughout retirement.

A lot of senior citizens move into retirement living communities. These are apartment complexes or housing communities where every resident is a senior citizen or retiree. However, retirement communities are usually populated by senior citizens who are more or less able to live on their terms. Many senior citizens who can’t live by themselves can live in assisted living communities instead.

Assisted living communities are just like retirement communities, except in a few regards. There is always medical staff like doctors, nurses, medical aides, physical therapists, pharmacists, and other such staff on-site. In assisted living communities, residents have access to experts and specialist to help them if they cannot live life on their terms due to medical issues or reduce mobility. However, assisted living communities aren’t free. Before we discuss how to pay for them, let’s examine the costs.

Assisted Living Costs

When a senior citizen moves into an assisted living community, they are paying for the privileges of living in a seniors-only enclave that offers assistance with all of their daily living needs. That means that even if a senior citizen lives on their own, there should always be help nearby. How much such services cost depends on the facility.

The monthly rent or living dues to live in an assisted living community can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $6,000 a month. Monthly service fees, dues, and additional costs can range from $1,000 to $5,000. For more upscale assisted living communities, an entrance fee into the community of $100,000 or more could be required. This information kind of puts that $40,000 a year standard of living fee for retirees into perspective, doesn’t it?

Paying for Assisted Living Costs

One of the most efficient ways to pay for the costs of assisted living is to downsize before applying. You, or a loved one, should engage in selling your home, all of your belongings, and even your car. Downsizing is all about cutting down on a standard of living costs and liquidating any assets for the purpose of moving on in life.

Any available life insurance policies with substantial cash values can be cashed out, converted into supplemental income payments, or leveraged against a loan to pay for assisted living costs. Any pension or existing additional incomes can also be diverted to paying for assisted living costs.

Find the Community That Suits Your Needs

It is not easy to admit that one cannot live by themselves, or on their terms, anymore. It doesn’t mean that life is over. Not all assisted living facilities are created equal.  Most are very basic and offer simple services.  Usually, a small room that includes a bathroom.  There are no kitchens in most facilities as most places will cook all means that you need.

What sets most assisted living places apart are the amenities and the activities that are offered.  In some of the high-end places, they will have salon and spa services to handle all your beauty needs.  Also, all offer some sort of exercise activates.  Whether it is walking, swimming or other forms of low impact supervised recreation.

Questions to Ask Potential Senior Living Places

Whether you are looking for a family member or yourself, you will have multiple questions to get a better understanding of the place.  Below are some of the most common questions to ask.

  • What is included in the fees?
  • What is the cost for the salon or barber?
  • When there are group outing is there an additional cost?
  • Is there access to the Internet?  If so will this be an extra cost?
  • How many staff members per patient ratio at all times of the day?
  • Do you offer transportation and assistance to visit local family?

There are numerous ways for you to pay for living in an assisted living community that suits your needs. Be sure to do your homework and know exactly what you will get for your money.

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Ross Quade
Ross Quade has been a licensed insurance agent since 2008. State of Texas license #1702965. He has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from University of Minnesota and minored in Applied Economics. He has been quoted in several online publications including Huffington Post, Young Startups and various financial blogs. Ross frequently writes about issues related to the insurance and finance industry.
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