One of the first realities people are forced to confront when entering old age is how costly transitioning from a home into an assisted living community can be. Whether you’ve been saving your entire life, plan to sell your home, or have the financial support of a child or loved one — committing to an assisted living facility should not be done with haste. Rather than settling on the first retirement home, you visit, follow these 10 tips on how to save money on assisted living and you will surely have better results when all is said and done.
1 – Research and Price Compare
Before making a phone call or visiting any facility in person, first do your research. Maybe the nearest, most convenient location has negative online reviews. Or the most recommended facility has a waitlist. Don’t put yourself in the last minute, desperate situation. The same goes for pricing. If one facility is far less expensive than another, you might want to look into why that is before committing to the lowest cost. Always price compares communities in addition to weighing the pros and cons of each. Take your time, research, ask good questions, and the perfect place for you or your loved one will present itself.
2 – Negotiate
Oftentimes the marketed price of an assisted living community can be negotiated. Some facilities offer move-in specials, reduced fees, or even price negotiation based on the time of the year. Certain retirement homes feel the pressure of empty rooms at the end of the month, quarter, or fiscal year. So if you happen to be looking around during these particular times, take advantage of this information and use it to help negotiate the price down.
3 – Long-Term Care Insurance
In addition to private insurance, and possibly Medicare or Medicaid, long-term care insurance can help cover certain assisted living costs. Facility Only and Comprehensive are two specific plans that may cover costs of care depending on your situation. When purchasing long-term care insurance, the price may vary depending on a number of factors such as the person’s overall health, age, and desired coverage. Unfortunately, coverage can be denied based on specific pre-existing conditions like a recent stroke, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or other major diseases and disorders.
4 – Check Medicaid
While Medicaid serves as a joint federal and state program established to help older people with low income and medical expenses, each state maintains the power to set its own guidelines of eligibility and services. Look into your state’s Medicaid program before assuming you will or will not receive any federal aid. The good news is that each year the number of state Medicaid programs that cover assisted living costs continues to rise. In the event your state does not offer any assisted living aid, it may still offer certain home and community-based services, which can at least delay you or your loved one’s move into a long-term living facility.
5 – Utilize Veterans Benefits
If you, your loved one, or their spouse ever served in the armed forces, they may be eligible for the Department of Veteran Affairs’ Aid and Attendance benefits which could help cover the cost of assisted living. Living in an assisted living community does qualify for the program, however, the monthly amount of money received varies depending on the eligible veteran, their spouse, or both still being alive. Since the requirement to receive these benefits can be specific, make sure to check your eligibility prior to committing to a senior care facility.
6 – Widen Your Search Area
We all know the cost of living can vary widely from state to state, but oftentimes it even changes from city to city or neighbourhoods. The same goes for assisted living communities. If you currently find yourself sifting through a number of unaffordable options, consider widening your search area to get an idea of the broader market. While the drive may end up being longer, the savings on living costs can end up paying for itself over time.
7 – A La Carte vs All-Inclusive
Many assisted living communities offer senior care services a la carte, allowing residents to pay for certain amenities, while leaving others to be handled on their own, by loved ones, or outside hired help. This is one way to make the cost of assisted living more affordable. However, for certain areas where the cost of living is higher or family isn’t available to take on responsibilities, an all-inclusive option may end up being the better deal. Break down the individual price of services needed, as opposed to wanting, to help determine the best deal for your unique circumstances.
8 – Shared vs Individual Room
One of the quickest ways to reduce your monthly costs in an assisted living facility is by choosing to share your room instead of having an individual room. While the two residents must be a good fit, the costs can ultimately be split between the two families. The savings earned from this can then be put toward other facility services.
9 – Consider Smaller Communities
Similar to apartment complexes, the larger more luxurious communities tend to have a higher price tag than a smaller, more intimate community. This doesn’t mean any of the facility’s services or amenities are any different but simply cost less. Make sure to tour a variety of assisted living communities to compare the perks, disadvantages, and overall price of each. You may be surprised at which one you prefer in the end.
10 – Consider All Care Options
Depending on your loved one’s overall health, assisted living and its inflated price tag may not be necessary. Perhaps at-home care or independent living would offer more suitably priced services within your budget. Once again, we suggest you price compare all of the facilities and services available prior to committing to one over the other. In the end, the best option for you or your loved one may also be the most affordable.