When considering the choices available for support during the aging process or in caring for an aging loved one, there is a lot of information to absorb. When an older adult begins to require more help around the house, the first few questions are often:
- When is the right time to make the move?
- What type of living arrangement is the best choice?
- How much will the right living environment cost?
The best time to make the move is often when family and loved ones become concerned about the health (mental, physical and emotional) and/or safety of the senior. While there are a variety of choices in senior living environments, the right fit will align with the needs of the individual senior. One of the most popular options is an assisted living community. It is estimated that more than 800,000 American seniors live in assisted living communities.
About Assisted Living
So, what is assisted living? Assisted living is a perfect environment for older adults who need some level of help with daily care or the activities of daily living. Typically, assisted living communities offer a few different levels of care, and residents have choices in their private living spaces. Married couples, singles and even pets are welcome in some assisted living communities. Common areas are shared in assisted living, and residents have access to daily meal plans, support with personal care and medication management. The communities offer housekeeping, laundry and security, as well as social and recreational activities. The assisted living communities at Tutera Senior Living & Health Care offer residents access to amenities such as:
- Art studio
- Coffee bar
- Delicious, nutritious dining with restaurant-style menus
- Fitness center
- Happy hours
- Movie nights
- Barbershop and salon
Cost of Assisted Living
According to Genworth Financial, the national median cost of assisted living facilities in 2021 was $4,500 per month, or $54,000 annually, in the United States. So, what accounts for the cost of assisted living?
- The size of an assisted living community, the types of services and the amount of services required all impact monthly fees.
- The amount of care needed is a crucial factor in determining the cost of assisted living services. Some people may only need help with housekeeping, meals and laundry, while others need help dressing, using the toilet and bathing. Different levels of service involve different costs.
- The geographic area will also have an influence on prices. Some parts of the country are more expensive to live in than others, and location will affect the cost of an assisted living community, just as it does the cost of a private home.
- When comparing the costs of different assisted living communities, be sure to consider both the services and amenities included in the basic cost and those that will be extra. If one community bundles services together – as about half of the assisted living facilities in the country do – and the other lists services and entrance fees separately, it can be hard to compare them. Make sure you fully understand what is covered by the prices during a call or a visit.
It is also important to ask each assisted living community about their pricing structure. Many communities charge one, all-inclusive monthly fee. Others may charge a standard fee for room and board but bill residents and their families for services on an as-used basis.
So, once a family understands what is included in the cost of assisted living, what are the options for paying for this level of care? Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living. However, there are several alternative financial assistance options for assisted living residents. These include:
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides health insurance to low-income and elderly Americans. Each state governs its own Medicaid program within federal guidelines, leading to some variation in eligibility and coverage. While Medicaid typically does not cover 100% of assisted living costs, it does cover some portion of expenses for assisted living in almost every state.
Veterans and spouses of veterans may qualify for aid from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Although the VA does not directly pay for the veteran’s room and board, it offers financial benefits that recipients can use to cover some of the costs of living in an assisted living community. Eligibility varies, so senior veterans should contact their local VA office to inquire.
Long-Term Care Insurance
What is covered under a long-term care insurance policy varies by policy. For example, a “facility-only” policy covers care in a licensed assisted living community but not in a senior’s own home. Additionally, most long-term care insurance policies have a maximum issue age, which means older adults over a certain age are not eligible to sign up for a policy.
Seniors with current life insurance policies have the option to “cash out” their policy early and use the funds to pay for long-term care. Some seniors may choose to do this if they feel that it will ultimately benefit themselves and their families more to use the funds to pay for assisted living in the present, rather than wait for their heirs to receive the policy death benefit when the policyholder passes. Some policies also feature an accelerated death benefit (ADB), which allows the policyholder to get a tax-free advance on their insurance benefit while they are still alive.
About Tutera Senior Living & Health Care
Tutera Senior Living & Health Care is committed to creating the best possible experience for each and every resident. We operate under a YOUNITE philosophy, which means we focus on your needs, your preferences and your goals. On a daily basis, we:
- Enable your healthy-as-possible outcomes
- Encourage your continued personal growth
- Empower you to direct and control your daily living
Offering independent living, assisted living, memory care, Thrive memory care, rehabilitation and extended stay and respite programs, Tutera Senior Living is able to meet the needs of seniors and their families throughout the aging journey. Our core values of respect, integrity, hospitality and positivity drive our decisions and our program planning, ensuring there are choices available for every senior’s interests and needs, creating lots of moments of joy!
Interested in learning more about Tutera Senior Living? Contact us today so we can answer your questions and tell you more about our care and our culture! Want to explore your options for a community near you? Try our community finder tool and learn more about each Tutera location!